Sandbox:Robert Braff

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Summary

Robert Braff is a Cleveland, Ohio instructor of San-Ryu-Do. He has represented himself in the past as a colonel in the US Army and as a supply sergeant in the Ohio National Guard. Neither of these statements was true. Braff is a Corporal in the Ohio Military Reserve and has never served in the Army. His claimed doctorate is from a known diploma mill.


Claims

Braff is the founder of San-Ryu-Do, which appears to be an attempt at a Western recreation of a Japanese sword art.


Braff has posed in US Army uniform on multiple occasions. The most significant was a 2008 photo opportunity with Phil and Joy Porter, in which Braff wore a colonel's insignia on an Army Combat Uniform. An enhanced version appears below, with the insignia emphasized and magnified:


Image:Braff-insignia.jpg


Braff also appeared in an ACU at Gosport and Fareham Budokan Martial Arts and Jujitsu, at a celebration of their twenty-first anniversary:


Image:Braff-Uniform-UK.jpg


His rank insignia are not clearly visible, but they are present.


On his Facebook page, he appears in a camouflage uniform, and describes himself as "OHMAR , OHIO NAT GUR 1/6 SUPPLY SGT 1ST BN":


Image:Braff-Uniform-Shawl.jpg


This is a different rank claim, and he appears to be claiming membership in both the Ohio National Guard and the Ohio Military Reserve.


In the same Facebook profile, he describes his college education as "A.U.wash D.C.,C.U '39". His biography at the Ateru Worldwide Association expands this into readable form: "During the period of 1978-1983 Professor Braff was in Washington D.C. attending American University." That institution is accredited and respectable, but his descriptions do not mention what degree, if any, he earned.


Braff also claimed a doctorate from Canterbury University in "Chesire, United Kingdom" in his resume on his martial arts school webpage.


These claims interested Bullshido members nohero and Cy Q. Faunce, who decided to look into them.


What The Records Show

Braff's claim of a doctorate was quickly resolved. Canterbury University of Cheshire, UK (now headquartered in the Seychelles) is a known diploma mill and is unaccredited in the UK; its graduates have been involved in several recent scandals where people who claimed degrees from Canterbury University were fired or prosecuted for representing such degrees as valid.


In fact, Braff never even received a Bachelor's degree from his claimed undergraduate alma mater. American University never granted Braff a degree. A bachelor's degree is an absolute prerequisite for a legitimate doctorate, and Braff claims no other undergraduate education, so no doctorate he has can be legitimate.


Bullshido therefore concludes that Braff's academic claims are exaggerated.


The National Personnel Records Center could find no Army service records for Braff. The Ohio National Guard also had no record of Braff as a member, but did indicate that he was a member of the Ohio Military Reserve, an Ohio-chartered sister service of the National Guard but with no Federal mandate. Colonel Charles Brown of the OMR confirmed that Braff held the rank of Specialist (E-4) in that organization. This is not equivalent to the sergeant's rank that Braff claimed on Facebook, and was a far cry from a colonel.


Bullshido concludes that Braff's claims of military rank are grossly exaggerated.


Conclusion

Robert Braff has represented himself at different times as a colonel of the US Army and a sergeant of the National Guard. Neither of these claims is true. Braff is an E-4 Specialist in the Ohio Military Reserve. Furthermore, his alleged doctorate was granted by a notorious diploma mill, and the only undergraduate alma mater he claims never awarded him a bachelor's degree. Braff's honesty is therefore generally suspect, and he may face future consequences in the Ohio Military Reserve for his actions.

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