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Man of Aiki
04-11-2006, 09:36 PM
promoted by Glenn R. Premru.

You see, I signed on and joined a dojo in Corpus Christi, Texas after a long layoff in training in March of 2005, just over a year ago. I attended for just over one 'semester', at which time Shihan Dan Vella was charging:

$70/year Association Fee
$250/semester fee (A semester being 3 months)

At the time he was calling his school the Kuden Shugyo Dojo (and also the Sanban Kaigan School of Aikido), and was claiming Affiliation with the Hombu Dojo in Japan.

The registration form and release of liability I signed to join the school stated in many places things like "Any and all payment to SKAA (Sanban Kaigan Aikido Association), Hombu Dojo and Chief Instructor/Headmaster, Dan Vella Shihan that I make.....yadda yadda yadda.

The words 'Hombu Dojo' and 'Dan Vella Shihan' appear in this release form about seven times.

Now I mostly enjoyed my time training there. It was fun to be doing Aikido again after such a long layoff, and Sensei Vella was a really nice guy and I liked him.

But I found out that he has no affiliation with the Hombu Dojo whatsoever, and he very likely isn't really a 5th Dan.

My 3rd month training with Sensei Vella, I had a young Hispanic fellow I was training with that was a brown belt under Dan's system that often had to stop and try to remember basic steps to an Ikkyo or a Gokkyo.

I saw that several times, and I was out of shape so I just went along with it, happy to be training again but by the 4th month I was there it was becoming apparent these younger kids I was training with who were brown belt level couldn't even do 3rd Kyu level Aikido.

They kept telling me to 'slow down' and 'not so hard'. I was actually going half-speed with them. They were like robots. My previous instructor, Hector Chavez, with whom I trained for about 4 years, taught me to flow through the techniques with an unbroken rhythym, but these guys had been taught to mechanically stop after each step.

Shiho-nage: I'm used to full power, full speed yokomenuchi that's coming right for my temple. Time and time again they are throwing some half-hearted swipe about a foot in front of my face. In slow motion no less.

So I start the technique and in one motion take their arm, unbalance them, lock the elbow, step in, pivot and bring the arm over and take them down.

And they hop up and go 'Too fast! Slow down!"

So then it's my turn to receive the technique, and as I've been taught for over 4 years, I go slow for them, but my hand really is coming for their temple, and there is some force behind it.

"Too hard! Not so hard!"

And they don't blend at all, they just reach out, yank my arm down without unbalancing me, stop,,,,pivot...stop...bring the arm up and over....stop.....then cut down.

These were BROWN BELTS?

I was having serious doubts by now and did some checking. That's when I discovered that Dan Vella's Sensei was Glenn R Premru.

And I did some checking on-line.

And found stuff like this:

http://www.viewusedcars.com/smoka-usa/premru2.htm
http://www.viewusedcars.com/smoka-usa/premru3.htm
http://www.azalmanac.com/AzMostWanted031304.htm
(That's right - Dan Vella may have been promoted by a wanted felon)

Yeah, it's the same guy all right
http://www.collectivesociety.com/teachers/premru.html

Gee, and he's in Arizona, too (look halfway down the page and notice how just about everybody named here is a 'GrandMaster' of some kind)

http://www.bushido.org/whfsc/whfsc14.htm

http://216.109.125.130/search/cache...&icp=1&.intl=us

BTW, here's a copy of an e-mail in which Premru impersonated a bank fraud investigator, something that was probably part of his scam that led to his being arrested by the U.S. Postal Service:

http://www.goldhaven.com/discussion/messages/1401.html

(Take a close look at footnote #7 on this page.
http://webhome.idirect.com/~glska/page_42.htm

"In November 2002, Glenn Robert Premru was arrested for mail fraud in connection with bogus martial arts certificates issued under an elaborate mail order scheme. As a result, the credentials of every member of the Okinawan Karate Federation and affiliated organizations under Premru have been discredited."

Yikes.

And all that happened in 2002, about 3 years before I walked into a dojo where the Sensei claimed to have been elevated to 5th Dan by this guy.

Just goes to show folks, even in Aikido people will lie and misrepresent themselves to you. Know who your Sensei's Sensei is and what their affiliations really are. I wouldn't say I wasted that entire 4 months, but it does irk me somewhat that I put money into the pocket of a nice guy that misrepresented himself to me because he wanted to play Shihan.

Brian Cates
manofaiki2003@yahoo.com

Richard Langridge
04-12-2006, 06:11 AM
Wow, scary stuff. Amazing how long something like that can go unnoticed...

Mark Freeman
04-12-2006, 06:20 AM
I always feel sorry for the students of these 'inflated grade' teachers. They think they are getting something that they are not, as your practice with them proved. :(

regards,
Mark

Ron Tisdale
04-12-2006, 07:21 AM
Just a couple of days ago, someone was asking about e-budo, and the 'atmosphere' there. The story above is exactly why e-budo forumites are as tough as they are. Cheats like these rip people off, lie, sometimes injure people...sometimes worse. Then their supporters come on and make excuses (his technique is good, he's a nice guy, etc.). Blarney. THey are crooks and belong in jail.

Best,
Ron

Jorge Garcia
04-12-2006, 07:57 AM
This has all been mentioned in a thread that came up a while ago. I may have posted that "wanted notice" here. As I said before, in 1995, Dan was wearing a white belt and had no rank to my knowledge. His teacher told me at that time that Dan didn't believe in testing. When my teacher, Hiroshi Kato, 8th Dan form the Aikikai Hombu Dojo was in Corpus Christi in 1997, Dan came to the seminar and watched but I was told by three of his students who attended the seminar that Dan had proclaimed to them that they should not attend Kato Sensei's seminar. I wonder why? They came anyway. Look for my previous posts on the subject.
I know Hector Chavez. He is my sempai and was an outstanding aikidoist.He was a lot better than Dan was in 1995 but I know Hector isn't claiming a 5th dan today!
Best,

SeiserL
04-12-2006, 07:57 AM
Be careful when trying to expose frauds. The general public tends to shoot the messenger, defend the underdog, and generally criticize you for publicly making them aware that they just may have been taken.

BTW, nice investigative work.

Compliments and appreciation.

Jorge Garcia
04-12-2006, 08:05 AM
There is a legitimate instructor of Aikido in Corpus Christi at the Academy of Asian Martial Arts. He is Joel Molina, 2nd Dan, Aikikai. Here's his web page and info about his affiliation.

http://www.academyofasianmartialarts.com/san_bao_008.htm
http://www.shudokanaikido.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=6

Ron Tisdale
04-12-2006, 08:17 AM
Hi Lynn,

That shoot the messenger thing is bullocks. That is the problem...people try to make all sorts of excuses for the bad behavior, and try to project all kinds of nonsense on the person speaking up. It's the victims that need support...not the perpetrators.

That said...we all do also have to keep in mind that what some charlatan does half a continent away does not really affect our own practice. Moderation in all things is best.

Best,
Ron

justinmaceachern
04-12-2006, 08:44 AM
You know it appears to me that once you become a sodan, most devellop there own organization. i know a fellow that is supposly a fourth degree, but is only reconized as a 2nd in japan. This shows me that a lot of these "masters" are "selling out". Thats why we have to be carefull who you train with. I wouldnt even put my freinds black belt up against a white belt from a real school. That is all for me. have a good day

aikidoc
04-12-2006, 09:48 AM
Some time back, I had a rather large thread on the issue of frauds and a sokey dokey organizations awarding inflated ranks. A result was a section I have put up on my web site here: http://members.cox.net/aikidoc1/ChoosingInstructor.htm. All things being said, there is some reasonable advice in the section that should keep most people out of such schools.

It's so easy to make yourself look impressive.
1. High rank-awarded by someone of high rank-whether fraud or not.
2. Use misleading terms: aikikai, hombu, shihan, etc. Even if you use them in such a way they are technically accurate, they can be made to sound or make you sound impressive.
3. Secret stuff-the military connection, secret or non-verifiable instructors.
4. Lots of awards-it doesn't matter the source. Just post them on your website.

I could go on and on on this one.

My recommendation. It's your hard earned money, spend the time to check out what you are buying.

aikidoc
04-12-2006, 10:50 AM
[QUOTE=Ron Tisdale] Then their supporters come on and make excuses (his technique is good, he's a nice guy, etc.).

These guys always seem to have their share of supporters. Probably because they get inflated grades as well or the instructor is a charismatic BS artist.

crbateman
04-12-2006, 11:52 AM
I think some of the confusion happens when people toss around the term "hombu dojo". This literally means "headquarters school". By itself, it does not mean Aikikai headquarters, Yoshinkan headquarters, Ki no Kenkyukai headquarters, or any other headquarters in particular. Anybody can name his own system, give himself rank, and call his dojo "hombu dojo". This is unfortunate, but it, in itself, is not the core problem. The problem is that the uninitiated might buy into it, because they don't know the difference, and the dishonest instructor might encourage that misunderstanding for his own gain. It's simple enough for anyone to ask an instructor WHICH "hombu dojo" he/she is affiliated with, and then check him out. There is no need to be deceived. Become more informed. Caveat emptor.

SeiserL
04-12-2006, 11:58 AM
Hi Lynn, That shoot the messenger thing is bullocks. That is the problem...people try to make all sorts of excuses for the bad behavior, and try to project all kinds of nonsense on the person speaking up. It's the victims that need support...not the perpetrators.
That was absolutely my point.
I have been the messenger.
Buyer beware.
Do your homework.
Choose wisely.

crbateman
04-12-2006, 12:13 PM
I think some of the confusion happens when people toss around the term "hombu dojo". This literally means "headquarters school". By itself, it does not mean Aikikai headquarters, Yoshinkan headquarters, Ki no Kenkyukai headquarters, or any other headquarters in particular. Anybody can name his own system, give himself rank, and call his dojo "hombu dojo". That is unfortunate, but in itself, is not the core problem. The problem is that the uninitiated might buy into it, because they don't know the difference, and the dishonest instructor might encourage that misunderstanding for his own gain. It's simple enough for anyone to ask an instructor WHICH "hombu dojo" he/she is affiliated with, and then check him out. There is no need to be deceived. Become more informed. Caveat emptor.

aikidoc
04-12-2006, 12:34 PM
Even though listed on the aiki-web dojo listing, the site is no longer valid. Did they just disappear or did they get so much flak from e-budo that they removed themselves from the internet.

To echo Jorge, Joel Molina is a good instructor and part of our organization under Hiroshi Kato sensei, legitimate aikikai 8th dan (aikikai number is 6).

Man of Aiki
04-12-2006, 05:39 PM
I must humbly admit that I attended two sessions at Sensei Molina's Aikido By The Bay dojo at the time I was looking for a school to attend last March.

I liked what I saw, but the '5th Dan' and 'Hombu Dojo' affiliation that Sensei Vella talked about misled me. Also, he did have about 9 or 10 students per class, while Sensei Molina only had 3 regulars that I saw both times I attended.

Whoops.

So I ended up making a bad decision based on false claims and gave a guy claiming a false Dan rank over $400 of my money in a 3 1/2 month period.

I fully intend to return to Sensei Molina's school and continue training there.

And yes, it is true that the aikidothirdcoast site is now inoperative. I haven't been by Vella's school in over 10 months, so I suspect he closed down.

What hurts is that he was a nice guy, and I liked him, and he does have skill at Aikido. So did Larry Salazar, the first Aikido Sensei I had back in 1998. But I discovered two late neither one had the rank they claimed, and neither one was really affiliated with anyone genuine.

The end result is I have almost 5 years of Aikido training and no official standing or rank with any organization anywhere.

So, learn from my experienc, guys.

crbateman
04-12-2006, 07:28 PM
Brian, many will say that the acquisition of rank is secondary to learning. If you have benefited from the training, then your time was not wasted. You don't wear your belt outside the dojo, and inside the dojo, it is covered by your hakama. A belt is just a thing. What's more important is who you are, and how you benefit yourself and others.

aikidoc
04-12-2006, 08:06 PM
Brian-does have a valid point though. You pay for something that you expect is legitimate. Then you find your rank or training is of little value outside the limited world of that dojo. THere are many arts that have gone that route-rank is meaningless except for your own school. Yes, the training is training and hopefully you did learn something of value.

A while back, there was a thread on E-budo along the same lines. A guy thought he was getting "aikikai" training and then when he went to California and tried to go into an aikikai dojo he was basically told what he learned was not aikikai level or even remotely related. Needless to say he was pissed off. One cannot really blame him as the instructor in question did claim a high rank and did put aikikai style on his website.

So along the buyer beware line of thought, here are some things I'd suggest:
1. Check out the lineage and see if it goes anywhere legitimate.
2. Check out to see if the person actually studied under the claimed lineage. There are those that go to a seminar and suddenly claim to be a student of the shihan even though the shihan has no clue they even exist.
3. When in doubt go with what you can verify. Someone claiming a non-verifiable rank, even though higher, may not be any more skilled than someone with a lower legitimate rank.
4. Beware of ranks awarded by people who are not legitimate aikidoka-sorry but sokey dokey organizations are awarding ranks even when no one has legimitate aikido credentials. One guy is even doing ranks up to nidan on video-he was doing 5th dan until I called him on it. He then backed down that level to only the nidan level-still bs in my opinion. The guy he has doing the rank training is not involved with a traditional school.
5. Some independent organizations are very good and come from legitimate lines. However, realize that your rank-especially at the dan level-is likely to not be recognized by anyone else other than the organization awarding it.
6. I would not sign any long term contracts when checking out a school.

Just some thoughts. The frauds are out there. When in doubt go with something safe. If the instructor is not willing to talk about his or her credentials or are evasive about affiliations-run.

Jorge Garcia
04-12-2006, 09:34 PM
Here in Houston, one of my instructors was called to teach in a mixed martial arts dojo. They have had a sign that says Aikido on it for years but when he went in and taught there for a few weeks, he found out that they didn't know any Aikido. The students caught on too and they didn't like it. They realized that they were taken for idiots. They walk in to a place that says, Aikido, Tai kwondo and Judo. They say they want to sign up for Aikido and then are taken aside and taught Judo. You realize later they just wanted your money so they poked your eyes and took you to the cleaners. Some of them are thinking of leaving there because of that.
If character counts, would you really want to have someone like that as a teacher?

crbateman
04-12-2006, 10:43 PM
If character counts, would you really want to have someone like that as a teacher?No, you probably wouldn't. But as the consumer, it's still ultimately your responsibility to judge for yourself and do your own research. You cannot control what someone else says about their qualifications. You can only control what those claims mean to you.

Richard Langridge
04-13-2006, 07:16 AM
What scares me is that there are these fraudsters out there teaching a very physical and potentially dangerous art with conviction, and that people trust them. It's deeply wrong.

aikidoc
04-13-2006, 07:33 AM
This level of misrepresentation is ,as pointed out, about the almighty buck. I know of one situation where the instructor is teaching a credit college class. Unfortunately, the college does not realize or fails to check out anything other than a credential most likely made up by the instructor. I've thoroughly checked the person out based on claims made and I have been unable to even substantiate that his instructor even exists. I even tried mailing everyone I could find with the same last name to see if they heard of the instructor's instructor. Zero.

What is unfortunate is the college students are coming away thinking they learned aikido. Most could not even roll after 1 or 2 semesters of college "aikido". Having lived in Southern California for years and attending a lot of seminars, I have seen a lot of different styles. If this guy's style is not either out of a book or jiu jitsu or some techniques learned in hapkido then I would be amazed. If he was told it was aikido, he was duped. If he was, I do feel sorry for him and his students. However, the college is being either intentionally or unintentionally defrauded. What is even worse, is he is not even qualified by degree to teach given the colleges own criteria (requires a bachelor's degree). He is riding on the credentials of someone else. Another element of fraud.

Unfortunately, the legal ramifications make it difficult to do anything about it. With modern computers, people can print up fancy looking certificates and fake about anything.

Marc Kupper
04-13-2006, 11:44 AM
This level of misrepresentation is ,as pointed out, about the almighty buck. I know of one situation where the instructor is teaching a credit college class. Unfortunately, the college does not realize or fails to check out anything other than a credential most likely made up by the instructor. I've thoroughly checked the person out based on claims made and I have been unable to even substantiate that his instructor even exists. I even tried mailing everyone I could find with the same last name to see if they heard of the instructor's instructor. Zero.Something I've wished for is that organizations (Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Ki no Kenkyukai, etc.) and also federations (USAF, ASU, etc.) would posts lists of all the dan grades they have issued. Ideally for each person listed you could then pull up a list a when they were awarded each rank, circumstances, etc.
They kept telling me to 'slow down' and 'not so hard'. I was actually going half-speed with them. They were like robots. My previous instructor, Hector Chavez, with whom I trained for about 4 years, taught me to flow through the techniques with an unbroken rhythym, but these guys had been taught to mechanically stop after each step.There are teaching systems for Aikido that deconstruct the techniques and work on getting the student proficient in the pieces before it's all put together. Another teaching system will use flow from the beginning and accept that the technique's overall efficiency will improve with practice. Both are valid instructional systems but a student from one visiting or moving to a dojo that uses the other will feel pretty out of place and may feel that things are being done "wrong." Thus for that dojo they were right -- you apparently needed to slow down and work on learning things their way to practice in their dojo.

Overall -- it does seem like an unfortunate situation. From what I can see on his web site, Dan Vella is a USAF shodan than for some reason hooked up with Glenn R. Premru who "promoted" Vella to 5th dan. Vella did not try to hide any of this and now seems to be out of business.

giriasis
04-13-2006, 11:51 AM
Well, the USAF does list all their fukushidoin, shidoin and shihan on their website. And all new dan promotions are listed, too.

giriasis
04-13-2006, 11:58 AM
Also, my first school was with people who part of a "everyone becomes a soke organization." I was told it was very unusual for someone to become a 'soke' then I went to a seminar and each head instructor was a "soke." That was after about 6 months of training with them when I realized they were full of it.

Oh, this problem is the reason I'm a big advocate of newbies of asking the instructors background. If they get all out of joint "like how dare you ask" or "how rude it is to ask about my background" then my advise is to steer clear of such people. Also, my advice is if they list about ten different high ranking ranks then they need to be suspicious. If you haven't been duped then your lucky. But putting off airs that you people should not ask about your rank, background or lineage (even if you come from a decent well known association/ style) makes it easier for these kinds to pull off their fraud.

MaryKaye
04-13-2006, 01:52 PM
A useful question for instructors is "How do you feel about your students attending seminars outside your school?"

If they say, "That's fine" or "That will be fine once your ukemi skills are up to it, but not initially" those are reassuring answers. If they rant about how bad other teachers are, that's not. You'll have to make up your own mind about "I don't encourage mixing of styles" but I personally find that response disturbing. It can serve as a screen for "I don't dare allow you to compare my aikido with anyone else's."

I am very comfortable with my style and association in part because I've been able to train at a variety of other schools, and I know that what I'm being taught holds up. I can't always make things work (I wouldn't be a kyu rank if I could) but I don't feel myself to be at a disadvantage in learning compared to rankmates elsewhere. And I am still comfortable with my teachers' aikido and teaching, having compared them with some of the best people around.

Mary Kaye

James Kelly
04-13-2006, 02:11 PM
ASU also lists new dan promotions on their website annually. (But it doesn’t really help if the person you’re looking for hasn’t tested in the last year.) I agree, an aikikai wide, or an organization wide list of all active members above, say, 3rd Dan would be good, but it may be too much work.

mriehle
04-13-2006, 02:45 PM
I agree, an aikikai wide, or an organization wide list of all active members above, say, 3rd Dan would be good, but it may be too much work.

Well, it occurs to me that most organizations (that I know of) have some sort of hard listing of all dan ranks. In New School Aikido it's a printed list protected by clear plastic on the wall of the dojo.

It's a lot of typing, but it seems to me like a database like this would be useful on a lot of levels.

But...

...it can't be generally searchable. Privacy issues would start to come into play. It's fine to look up an instructor and check his credentials, but what about some guy just walking in off the street? Who should be allowed to search his name?

Offhand, I think it should only be a prospective instructor. Even then, there needs to be a good reason. One good reason, of course, would be that they have a desire to recognize previous rank for a new student. But I can see an unscrupulous sort searching for shodans at nearby schools and trying to lure them away. (It doesn't make sense to me, but I've heard of similar stunts.)

I'm an instructor and a dojo cho, so I don't particularly care who knows what my rank is (Nidan, if you care) or where I got it (New School Aikido in Stockton, CA). But there are a lot of shodans (and nidans and sandans and ...) at my teacher's school that would just as soon not advertise their rank.

giriasis
04-13-2006, 02:58 PM
For me it's not so much that you advertise your rank, but whether a person is straight forward about it. It's the puffery or defensiveness that I look for in the response.

Jorge Garcia
04-13-2006, 03:38 PM
From what I can see on his web site, Dan Vella is a USAF shodan than for some reason hooked up with Glenn R. Premru who "promoted" Vella to 5th dan. Vella did not try to hide any of this and now seems to be out of business.

I'm afraid you have fallen victim to the terminology on Dan Vela's website!
Dan was not only not a USAF shodan, he may never even have been a member of the USAF!
He attended a seminar with Akira Tohei but he never tested under him at all. Dan was a white belt when I joined the dojo in 1995.His teacher (there were two in our dojo) told me that Dan didn't believe in testing (By the way, his teacher who told me that has also never tested for any Aikikai rank I know of, although he was and is an excellent Aikidoist).
Then there was a split in the dojo. Half was USAF and half was studying Steven Seagal style and didn't like the USAF. Dan left the dojo with the Seagal group and reappeared at the Corpus Christi Athletic Club as the weapons teacher. That's why many of us were surprised to see that Dan was using Akira Tohei on his website years later since when we were there, some of us were under the impression that Dan didn't care for him.

Marc Kupper
04-13-2006, 04:16 PM
ASU also lists new dan promotions on their website annually. (But it doesn't really help if the person you're looking for hasn't tested in the last year.) I agree, an aikikai wide, or an organization wide list of all active members above, say, 3rd Dan would be good, but it may be too much work.I agree that some organizations posts lists of recent promotions. Something that would not seem like "too much work" would be to start a new web page for each year. For example, the current year can be Promotions.html and at the end of this year you'll rename it to Promotions-2006.html and start a new Promotions.html for 2007. If you keep the page layout consistent then someone could then import the pages into a database or spreadsheet to look for trends.

Man of Aiki
04-13-2006, 10:11 PM
Thanks for all the great comments, people.

I am looking forward to training again, and for the first time with an affiliated school headed by a Sensei that has an actual ranking by a legitimate Aikido organization.

I know I learned a lot in my 4 1/2 years of training, and probably would be at 2nd Kyu level in most systems. Still, I'm aware that I am essentially starting over and going in at 5th Kyu level.

Which is great, because I need to work my way back into shape anyway. :)

I just can't help wondering how many other students out there that have invested years in their training don't know they've been mislead.

How many 'maverick' teachers out there are like Dan or Larry, the guys I trained with? They hang around aikido dojos, have a problem with authority, don't believe in testing (for themselves, at least) and after a few years just decide they must know enough to teach now and go off and start their own school and claim an advanced Dan rank?

Corpus isn't that big and I already met two.

Jorge Garcia
04-14-2006, 08:34 AM
There are a class of people attracted to martial arts that don't care for authority and yet desperately want to be an authority. They want the prestige, recognition, and high rank of an authority. Being under authority is a prerequisite to being a good authority. There is an insipid pride and love of self in that kind of a person that should scare the kigeebees out of you. Regardless of how good they are, no one would want an instructor that has those kinds of internal motivations. That's why they hide behind something that isn't real. They hide behind a high rank that looks legitimate says to the world that they got under authority and legitimately proved themselves worthy by other qualified people. That's what they wanted you to think. The truth is that these kinds of people actually self promote themselves or they find someone who will, so they can have what they didn't earn, by being under a real authority. It's base self promotion.If they had the confidence that they were really that good, they wouldn't need the fake rank. They could just have said, "I have never tested or earned any high rank through an organization but I will show you my skills and you be the judge."
Listen, by not doing that, they have already self evaluated themselves and told you what they really think of their own skills.

aikidoc
04-14-2006, 03:46 PM
At least by not inflating their ranks, they are being honest. No matter how good you are, awarding yourself or inflating your ranks only puts your credibility or ego in question. It's sore that instant reward mentality society suffers from.

SeiserL
04-14-2006, 04:27 PM
OTOneH, I guess if all you are after are the physical techniques then rank or affiliation don't really matter. But at least people could be up front about it. I know a few independents who are very honorable that way. If you just want to fight, I know some great fighter without rank or affiliation at the local bar and they are honest about it.

OTOtherH, if they have to lie or falsify your credentials, buy rank, or steal an organizations, styles, or affiliations name without permission, than they must feel pretty bad about themselves, and wait in fear to be exposed. If they are lying to themselves and the general public, they will lie to you. Its who they are. No matter how good their technique is, they are still liars and thieves.

O'Sensei never want Aikido taught to people of low character, and it is my understanding that both O'Sensei and Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba believed that Aikido was about building better people and a safer world. That can never be done with a lie.

Man of Aiki
04-14-2006, 07:12 PM
Here's a cached link at Google.com about Dan Vella Sensei I managed to find:

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:7xW_2XAzqIQJ:www.aikido3rdcoast.com/History.html+Sensei+Dan+Vella&hl=en&lr=&strip=1

The site is down, but you can view a cached text verison of what it was displaying.

here's what it said:

"Shihan Dan Vella began his formal Aikido training in his early 40's with Shihankai Akira Tohei, founder of the Midwestern Aikido Federation and head of the USAF and MAF, at Corpus Christi, Texas Aiki Kai. After receiving his Shodan (1st degree black belt) at the age of 47, he enrolled in the Okinawan Karate-do Federation (Japanese Aikido, Kendo and Iaido Division) as a student under World Soke Grandmaster Glenn R. Premru 10th Dan. He received his Ni dan (2nd degree black belt) in 1996 and was promoted to San dan (3rd degree black belt) upon receiving his teacher’s license in 1999, shortly after the passing of Shihankai Akira Tohei 8th Dan.

Having become a full time professional Aikido instructor by the fall of 2000, he established Kuden Shugyo Dojo School of Aikido in Corpus Christi, Texas and was promoted to Yon Dan (4th degree black belt) in 2002. Shihan Dan Vella in March of 2003 founded and assumed his responsibilities as CEO of the Sanban Kaigan (3rd Coast) Aikido Association and was titled "Shihan" by Soke Grandmaster Premru. He was promoted to Go dan (5th degree black belt) after being appointed by Soke Premru in 2004 to the Post of "Texas State Representative for the Okinawan Karate-do Federation"."

Note how this cleverly leaves out who gave him his first Dan rank. It says he began his formal aikido Training under Sensei Tohei, but it doesn't say Tohei was the one who promoted him to 1st Dan.

All of his subsequent rank promotions came from Glenn R. Premru, who he claims to have been a student under and to have been promoted to his subsequent 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Dan levels by.

The impression is given that the Okinawan Karate-do Federation is so huge, it has it's own Japanese Aikido, Kendo and Iaido Division. A study of the various Glenn R. Premru bios easily found on the web demonstrate that while he was noted for his karate in the early 1970's, even being inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, he has absolutely no ranking in Aikido, Iaido or Kendo.

And as was discovered back in 2002, Premru's entire huge Okinawan Karate-do Federation consisted of the mail order business he ran in his house whereby he sold a substantial number of fake ranking certificates to people by mail. That's how he ended up being a wanted felon after he was arrested by the US Postal Service and then never showed up for his court appearance to answer to the charge of mail fraud.

I can only wonder how much money Dan had to give to Premru to keep the ranks coming so he could continue to live out his fantasy of being a highly ranked Aikido Sensei.

Jorge Garcia
04-14-2006, 08:09 PM
Brian,
That is my point. Dan only did a Seminar or two with Akira Tohei. Dan only wore a white belt in our dojo before he left for the Athletic Club dojo (which was independent). That was what prompted me to ask our teacher why that was because I knew he was ahead of me. That's when I was told he had never tested because he didn't believe in it (We wore colored belts in our dojo). That means that from 1995 when I arrived, he wasn't a member of any Federation.
In the article, he mentions Shihankai at the beginning and Shihankai at the end conveniently saying,"...was promoted to San dan (3rd degree black belt) upon receiving his teacher's license in 1999, shortly after the passing of Shihankai Akira Tohei 8th Dan."
1) No one ever called Tohei Sensei Shihankai. That was the designation of the group of Shihans in the USAF. Skihankai is an organization in Japanese, not a title for a person.
2) The passing of Tohei sensei had nothing to do with Dan Vela's 3rd degree "promotion". Dan was in Corpus and Tohei was in Chicago and to my knowledge, Dan was not a member of Midwest (not Midwestern) Federation.
3) He couldn't have been promoted by Tohei because the only person in Corpus Christi, Texas to ever receive a black belt in Corpus from Tohei sensei was Eddie Martinez, one of the teachers. There were students there that were 2nd kyu when Dan was unranked who never received the black belt because the dojo eventually closed. The only students from there to ever receive an Aikikai black belt were Jorge Garcia, John Stephen Garcia, Joel Molina and Gilbert Fuentes (in that order) and none of those were from Tohei Shihan because he had died by then.
4) at one time ,Glenn Permru had been in Corpus and had run a few events there but got in trouble for not paying the bills for those events so he moved on but apparently, Dan kept in touch with him.

The worst sentence there is the opening one,
"Shihan Dan Vela began his formal Aikido training in his early 40's with Shihankai Akira Tohei, founder of the Midwestern Aikido Federation and head of the USAF and MAF, at Corpus Christi, Texas Aiki Kai. After receiving his Shodan (1st degree black belt) at the age of 47..." I am certain that Tohei Sensei never even noticed Dan. He didn't begin any training with Tohei- he attended a seminar. That is an intentional misuse of words. If the day I start Aikido, I attend a seminar with Yamada Sensei but I never see him again, I can't say I started my training under Yamada who probably didn't know I was alive!
It's bad. I'll calm down now.

Man of Aiki
04-15-2006, 10:00 AM
Let me show the board how easy it is for a guy to train off an on in Aikido for 8 years and have little to show for it.

1997 was the year I returned to Texas from living in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 7 years. I had developed an interest in Aikido while I lived in the Virgin Islands, and had purchased Kensho Furuya's Art of Aikido video series and trained with a few friends trying to copy techniques but of course that's not the same as being in a real dojo. All they had in the V.I. was Tae Kwon Do schools and Karate. Oh, one guy was teaching Savate. I took Tae Kwon Do for 3 months before Hurricane Marilyn in 1995 blew most of the island away.

On my return to Texas in late 1997 I looked around for an Aikido school to go to. I dropped in on Gilbert Fuentes at the Corpus Christi Aikikai and took about 3 classes. My brother came with me, and we were so out of shape in the 2nd class we both injured ourselves trying to roll. I pulled a muscle in my abdomen (dang, didn't even know I HAD a muscle there!) and my brother hurt his hip, so we stopped going intending to heal up and try again later.

Only now it's around April or May 1998 and I'm working out at the Portland Community Center to get back in shape, and I see this flyer on the door advertising Aikido Classes to be taught there. Oh great, I don't have to drive all the way to Corpus any more!

So I sign up. That is when I met Larry Salazar, who at the time I believe was claiming a 3rd Dan, and Hector Chavez, Allison Gatz, and Lauren Simpkins (who went by the name 'Michi' so much I think I rolled with her for a year before I found out what her real name was!)

At the time Larry was teaching in conjunction with some fat Tae Kwon Do guy who's name I can't remember, who was a certified instructor under something called Martial Arts America, Inc. You had to sign a contract to particpate in the classes. I don't remember how long the contract ran for; it may have been two years or just one year.

Anyway, the classes themselves were great. I learned alot in them and became good friends with everybody. Classes at the Portland Community Center continued on for about six months.

Then they began dropping off. I would show up and nobody would be there. Turned out Larry and the fat TKD guy were arguing. They ended up splitting up. So because the TKD had signed the agreement for them to use the Portland Community Center, he ended the classes there.

(He would be there teaching his classes in TKD before the Aikido classes started, and when I came early I got to watch him. He had a grand total of two students, and he would bark commands and watch them do kicks and stuff. He was so fat and out of shape he couldn't even get his legs above waist level, I kid you not. I think his wife was the real money-earner as she had a well-attended cardio-kickboxing workout that she did. On a side note: after the classes stopped being held at the Community Center, the guy kept trying to bill me for $200 worth of classes that were never held. I got letters from Martial Arts America for about a year and a half demanding their money. They never got another dime from me.)

So, Larry and Hector made an agreement with Gilbert at the Aikikai to start training there again. (They had left previously, as you mentioned). I think we all trained there for about 6 more months before Gilbert had to close it down.

During this time I believe I met a high-ranking Aikido Sensei at a seminar held at the Aikikai; I think the Sensei's name was Kato. The seminar was very good, although I overheated very fast due to the fact that I don't have sweat glands on 80% of my body.

About the time the Aikikai closed down, Larry and Hector arranged for Sensei Larry Reynosa to come to Corpus Christi and hold a seminar. It was a two day seminar, and it was fantastic. At least for me.

This is where Hector and Larry Salazar had their falling out. I think Hector had finally realized that Larry S. never being affiliated with anybody or testing under anyone meant he would never have a real Dan rank and if he didn't have one he couldn't give Hector a real one either.

Larry S. also didn't train much, had bad knees, and a weight problem, which made doing Aikido regularly a problem for him. And here came Larry Reynosa, direct disciple of Steven Seagal Sensei, a man who Larry S. admires greatly, and Larry R. had some harsh things to say to Larry S. while he was in town.

He told Salazar he needed to lose weight, since he had been expecting the ranking sensei of the local dojo to be his uke in the demonstrations, and instead Larry S. kept sending Hector up there.

So once or twice Sensei Reynosa made a point of directly calling up Larry Salazar to be his uke during the seminar, and it quickly became apparent in the 3 or 4 times this happened that Larry couldn't do ukemi very well at all.

The result of all this was, Larry felt Sensei Reynosa made him look bad, criticised him in front of all his students, told him he was fat and out of shape and needed to lose weight. Privately, I believe Sensei Reynosa also invited Larry to train under the auspices of Makoto Dojo, and he made the overture to Hector as well. Sensei Reynosa is directly under the authority of the Aikido World Headquarters located in Tokyo, Japan, and they recieve all Dan ranks directly from the Doshu.

The problem with that was Larry knew he'd have to start pretty much all over, put out a lot of effort to get into shape for ukemi, and then test for his Dan rank. That would be very humbling for a guy to do after he'd spent years gaining a following of students while claiming to be a 2nd and 3rd ranked Dan.

So instead, he adopted the attitude that Sensei Reynosa had ambushed him and disrespected him, and he became very upset when Hector decided to take Sensei Reynosa up on his offer to become affiliated with Makoto Dojo.

He kept turning it into a personal thing between him and Reynosa, saying things like "You can follow him if you want, but I won't follow him."

So at that point, Hector and Larry parted ways.

Now Hector held his classes in the West Oso Community Center for about 6 months, off and on, and then worked out an arrangement with Ric Ricard at Texas A & M University - Corpus Christi to hold classes there in conjunction with the TAMUCC Aikido Club.

We trained there for about a year and a half. For the first year, it was great. Larry even came out a few times and rolled with us. Then problems started to develop again. I don't think Hector and Ric were getting along too well. Both had learned different styles of Aikido and Ric just wasn't as advanced as Hector was, and he could sense people really wanted to train under Hector and so after awhile it got away from them.

They started cancelling classes a lot. Since I lived in Portland, and worked in downtown Corpus Christi, I'd get off from my job at 5:00 had until 7:30 when the class started, so I would kill an hour and a half eating dinner or something. I didn't want to drive all the way back to Portland, then have to turn around in an hour and drive all the way through Corpus to the far side of it to the University.

Of course, once class was over I still faced a 45 minute drive home. Still, the classes made it worth it.

When there was a class.

And man, let me tell you, that got to be a problem. The 3rd or 4th time I showed up when there was supposed to be a class, and several other students did too, only neither Ric or Hector showed up to unlock the door to the training room, I made sure that Hector had:

1. My phone number at work and at home
2. My cell phone number, a phone that I got just to make sure he could contact for cancellations.
3. My e-mail address

About the 12th or 13th time I showed up and no class was held, on the 45 minute drive home I just said "That's it. I can't take this any more." And I quit.

Oh, I still went back about 3 months later. Nobody home. Then another 2 or 3 months later and there was a class that night, and Gilbert was training there, which was a nice surprise. That lasted for two more classes and then two cancellations in a row and two long drives home in a row.

I quit again.

This time two years roll by in which I don't do any Aikido at all. Finally I decide to start training again, and so I do a Dojo search on the internet for Aikido schools in Corpus. The TAMUCC Aikdio club pops up. No thanks! Joel's school pop up, and I decide to give that a try. But there's also another Aikido school listed called Sanban Kaigan Aikido. So I decide to try that one too.

Aikido by the Bay is up first. I go and drop in on a class. Joel Molina, 2nd Dan is there, and I enjoy watching the class. He has two students that night and they are doing good Aikido. He interacts well with the students. I really like what I'm seeing.

But then I decide, well let's go see this other place. So I drive out to Sanban Kaigan Aikido World Headquarters and meet Dan Vella Shihan, 5th Dan.

I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker. Gee, this guy is a 5th Dan, he's affiliated directly with the 'Hombu Dojo', he's got 10 people in his class and a bigger training area. I compared that to Joel, who was 'only' a 2nd Dan, had only 2 or 3 students in the 2 times I observed his class, and was tucked away in the back of a bigger school teaching other arts.

BIG MISTAKE.

Appearances can be decieving. As we all know now, Dan Vella was not a 5th Dan. In fact, I honestly confess that he did some impressive kata with weapons, but I never really saw him do empty-hand techniques much there. He may not even be a 2nd Dan in skill.

He just took stuff that he learned in the 10 years or so he took Aikido in other dojos and formed his own 'system', promoted himself to Dan rank, then found a Mail-Order Grandmaster that would sell him Dan ranks and opened up a school.

I spent just under 5 months training there. Then discovering I had been hoodwinked, I dropped out.

Oh, I had the idea of going to him in private and asking him what the heck he thought he was doing but since I liked the guy I decided not to confront him.

I didn't jump right back into looking for a school right away though, so since last August I've been working out in a gym and taking it easy. But sooner or later that Aikido bug starts biting me again, and I think at last after my past experiences it's time to train under somebody who's not misrepresenting himself and who actually is affiliated with a legitimate Aikido authority.

If I'd done that a year ago with Sensei Molina, I'm sure I'd be a lot better off now.

And there you have it. The Complete Aikido History of Brian Cates.

Started: Early 1998
Number of Years Since Then: 9
Years Inactive: 2 (you could say 3 with the final year of TAMUCC futility with all those cancelled classes)
Kyu ranks attained: 0
Dan Ranks attained: 0
Number of Senseis That Lied To Him About Their Ranks: 2
Number of Senseis Trained Under With USAF or Other Legitimate Affiliation: 0

Don't let this happen to you. Check out your Sensei's lineage and affiliation carefully.

Josh Reyer
04-15-2006, 10:14 AM
I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker. Gee, this guy is a 5th Dan, he's affiliated directly with the 'Hombu Dojo', he's got 10 people in his class and a bigger training area. I compared that to Joel, who was 'only' a 2nd Dan, had only 2 or 3 students in the 2 times I observed his class, and was tucked away in the back of a bigger school teaching other arts.

BIG MISTAKE.


Ouch, man. Just, ouch. To me, the chance in a small, hands-on environment of just the teacher and two other students seems fantastic, but with your previous experiences of repeated cancellations I can understand why you wanted to go with the more stable-looking school.

Well, don't let it get you down! I wasted 10 years purely on my own laziness, but it's never too late to get back in the game.

crbateman
04-15-2006, 02:32 PM
What you did yesterday is all well and good, but what you do tomorrow is more important. Try to bury the cynicism, open your mind up, and put the hammer back down a wiser man. If you care enough to be pissed off, then you care enough to succeed.

kaishaku
04-15-2006, 03:47 PM
Let me show the board how easy it is for a guy to train off an on in Aikido for 8 years and have little to show for it.

Ditto, I first took up Aikido in around '99. Rank: Mukyu. :rolleyes: I just started BJJ, though. I hear I'll be eligible to get a blue belt in a couple years!

giriasis
04-15-2006, 04:45 PM
What you did yesterday is all well and good, but what you do tomorrow is more important. Try to bury the cynicism, open your mind up, and put the hammer back down a wiser man. If you care enough to be pissed off, then you care enough to succeed.

I know what it's like to be duped. And I totally understanding the cynicism. Because I have been there. Does Juko-Kai mean anything to you? All I have to say at some point you need to ask yourself a question, "did you learn any aikido from this guy at all?" If so, even if it is something as basic as standing in hanmi then thank him for that, let go and move on. I took me a while to get past the hard feelings but eventually you do.

[ETA: I'm not saying this directly to you Clark, but your words sparked these thoughts as words of advice to our original poster.]

aikidoc
04-15-2006, 05:21 PM
Wow. What a journey. The posting on the Sanban Kaigen Aikido stuff is very misleading and vague. As Jorge pointed out, he carefully words it so he never really comes out and says he was promoted by Tohei yet makes it vague enough to infer he was. It would be like me saying I studied under Koichi Tohei, 10th dan, Ki Society founder because I studied in his organization. I have been to seminars for over 40 different instructors and have been in ASU, AAA and am now with Kato Sensei. To be perfectly honest, even though I was directly under Toyoda in AAA, I really can't say I was ever a "student". I attended his seminars and was promoted by him and his organization but I never really directly studied under him. Kato sensei is the first sensei where I feel I'm actually a student and learning from him. While in AAA, I trained myself for all my tests.

The journey this young man took really stresses the importance of checking out your school and instructor. The criteria I developed as a result of my fraud thread on this site is a good place to start. (http://members.cox.net/aikidoc1. Go to the instructor page and scroll down to the link on chosing a school). It was developed with the input of a lot of people. With overly inflated grades starting to pop up in the art, trace your lineage and save yourself some money and embarassment by going with someone legitimate. As most people who stick with the art realize, if not in the beginning, is that their curiosity starts them looking at other sites, information, etc. If they are doing something not legitimate, they will realize it as they explore the art. One of my students experienced the same thing, trained to the equivalent of a 4th kyu and found out it was not legitimate at least as far as we are able to tell. I came along and he's now a good aikidoka with legitimate credentials and still a little pissed he wasted a year plus. He sincerely felt conned and was getting ready to quit before I started teaching in the area.

Jorge Garcia
04-15-2006, 06:15 PM
Started: Early 1998
Number of Years Since Then: 9
Years Inactive: 2 (you could say 3 with the final year of TAMUCC futility with all those canceled classes)
Kyu ranks attained: 0
Dan Ranks attained: 0
Number of Senseis That Lied To Him About Their Ranks: 2
Number of Senseis Trained Under With USAF or Other Legitimate Affiliation: 0

Don't let this happen to you. Check out your Sensei's lineage and affiliation carefully.

Gilbert was a decent Aikidoist and my sempai but I got my black belt before he did when I moved to Houston and met Kato Sensei at a Seminar. Larry,Hector and Dan were at the Athletic Club but were ejected from there for holding religious services or at least that's what I heard. I believed it because when I went there to visit, everyone was wearing the Mala beads they had gotten from Seagal Sensei. He did have some kind of a Buddhist ceremony going on there too. You filled in a blank for me when you said they were at the CC in Portland. That's the part I didn't know. Dr Ricard is a good guy and a friend to our family. I saw him recently at Kato Sensei's last Seminar in Corpus. I heard he and Hector had some problems. Gilbert was there too for a while but didn't like either of their styles. He has since dropped out of Aikido completely and hasn't trained in years. Ricard still has a club going but I don't think he has many students if any at all.
I saw Dan doing weapons. I didn't think he was very good and I don't think he knew what he was doing. Larry knew a lot about Seagal weapons but Dan may have gotten his stuff from Saitos book because that's what it looked like.
The fat guy was Rene Garcia. He used to have his dojo next door to the CC Aikikai.
Brian, I have to tell you that Corpus Christi has a very long history of bogus martial artists. I know of dozens and dozens of people there who have dabbled in this and that who claim ranks and organizations they don't have. From Kendo to Judo to Iaido. I was there not too long ago watching a "master" at Iaido leading about 20 wannabe practitioners through some Kata's. Here in Houston, I train in Iaido with Craig Hocker Sensei, nidan. Our Shihan is a real 6th dan in Iaido who lived and trained in Japan. That "master " I saw was bogus. He was terrible but those poor guys were dutifully following him. I think this thing of bogus MMA there goes back 20 years. I am sure there are some legitimate guys there but I don't know who they are. Martial arts in the small towns tend to be like that.
There was a Mixed Martial arts tournament of some kind in a nearby city. A nice young man presented some sword katas and got a 100% score from the judges in Iaido. I know the young man. He is a great guy but has no training in the art. While he has a mind for katas, from an iaido perspective, he was terrible and knows zero about the art and yet a group of small town martial artists gave him a 100 % score. There wasn't a real swordsman in the judging panel either but that didn't seem to make a difference to anyone. I think that's where Dan Vela comes in. He had teachers who were of a certain quality. Maybe Dan thought they were great but in the grand scheme of things, they may have been ordinary. If Dan too was convinced and thought they were great, that would make him think he was great once he knew all they knew. The problem was that a person doesn't know what he doesn't know. Gilbert was a good Sempai but when I met Kato Sensei, hs Aikido revolutionized my Aikido life. Knowing a real master, I know I'm nothing compared to him. Knowing a fake master, you'll soon think you're a master too!
Best,

Man of Aiki
04-15-2006, 06:20 PM
I thank you all for your kind words.

John, I had one seminar with Sensei Kato in Corpus Christi around 1998 or 1999. It was my first seminar with an advanced Sensei, and I still remember it fondly.

I think this is the same Sensei you are under now.

I remember he laughed several times during the seminar, very fun to be on the mat with him.

I checked out your link and it looks very informative. Thanks for posting it.

Even though it is kind of embarassing I decided to post my history here because I think there are probably more people than we realize out there right now laboring away and training hard who have been deceived and are not receiving what they believe they are receiving.

This is fraud. Even if money never changes hands, people still make the committment of time, which is still very valuable.

Larry Salazar may have misrepresented his Dan rank to me, but he never claimed to be affiliated with the USAF when he wasn't, or with the Hombu Headquarters in Tokyo.

I forgot to point out that Larry never really wanted to charge anything for his classes, it was that fat TKD guy and his Martial Arts America thing that insisted on it, and once Larry and Hector broke off from him, they had plenty of classes where money was never even discussed. When we met at the Corpus Christi Aikikai for about 6 months we chipped in voluntary donations to help Gilbert Fuentes meet his expenses. The year and a half that we met at the TAMUCC Aikido Club I think money was mentioned twice in regards to getting equipment and dues paid once a year, around $30 or $40.

So I never felt cheated or defrauded by Larry or Hector. Larry misrepresenting his Dan rank wasn't a big deal since he very likely is very close to a 3rd Dan in his knowledge of Aikido, but he never tested for the rank.

What Dan Vella did was far worse. He not only claimed a 5th Dan, he was asking for hundreds of dollars up front for his classes. At the following link, you can find the 'Finally Talked To The Sensei' thread on this board started by Johnathon Lyons. Vella actually dropped his prices by the time I visited his school around 2 years after Johnathon did.

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2569&highlight=Vella

At the time Mr. Lyons was considering joining, prospective students had to pay up front for their first semester and their last semester; association fee, and it all came to $395.

I think he realized after watching alot of people walk out the door and not come back that was too high, so in March of 2005 when I signed my agreement with him the price was $250 a semester, and he only asked for one semester up front at the time. He also asked for a $70 'Association Fee' and now it's apparent since he wasn't really associated with anybody, this was a totally bogus fee.

I don't really consider what Larry did to be fraud, but what Dan did certainly was.

Now I'm not VERY angry at Dan Vella. I confess I still like the guy. Every class when you walked in he come over and give you a hug. People after class would hang out and talk about stuff and Dan was nice to talk to on a range of subjects.

But it was still fraud, so there is some anger. I can only imagine what happened to the 9 or so regulars who trained there, if they ever learned what Dan had done.

I'm a Christian, so of course I have forgiven him for doing this, and if I ever see him again I'll tell him so. But it hurts to find out a guy you liked was taking hundreds of dollars from you that you agreed to give him because you thought he was a legitimate Aikido instructor, not some guy who bought his ranks from a long-since-busted-up mail order fraud ring run by a phony 10th Dan Grandmaster.

Jorge Garcia
04-15-2006, 06:42 PM
Larry has never been about money-that's true. In fact, he always hated to charge. He has a big heart and is a great guy. I have always respected him and his Aikido but it's true, he holds no rank in Aikido. He doesn't need any in my eyes but he did tell people he was a black belt if they asked him. They just never asked in what art.
Dan was probably a nice man. I know he had good relationships with his guys. A really good Aikidoist was with him ,Mike Rains, whom I also respected very much. The pity is that Larry could have easily been a 3rd or 4th Dan and Dan Vela would be a Ni dan or San dan in many groups. He just didn't have the discipline to go through the paces like everyone else. Larry and Eddie were my teachers. Gilbert Fuentes, Matt Crocker, Laura Stucky, Jerry and Gail Thompson, Hector Chavez, Mike Rains and Joel Molina were all my sempai. I loved them like brothers and sisters and they were a great group to train with. Like many families, they had a few problems but I don't regret my time with them. They had my respect and deep affection. It was home and I miss those days very, very, much.

Man of Aiki
04-15-2006, 08:54 PM
Mike Rains had left by the time I got there, Jorge. So had most of his original students.

One of the first things that tipped me off that something wasn't right was how Vella's 3rdCoastAikido website had a page with with a bunch of pictures of students that he was supposed to have.

Since the photos of the two people that joined right before I did were up on that page, a father and his young son, I wondered who all these other people were who's pictures appeared there, with their names under their picture.

Mike Rains was one of them. There were about 30 pictures up on that page, and only around 7 of them were currently training there when I started.

If the pictures of the latest people to join are up on the page, why are there so many people who don't train here anymore?

What I think happened is that when he launched his school Dan got a whole gaggle of students all at once (this would have been around 2000 or so) and that's where most of these pictures came from.

As time went on it got harder for Dan to hold on to those original people like Mike Rains since over time if they really knew anything about Aikido Dan's misrepresentations would become evident to them. That's what I suspect. When I joined last year he never had more than 8 or 9 people on the mat at one time; most classes consisted of around 4 or 5 people, myself being one of them.

I think it started big and then got smaller and smaller as time went on. After I left I don't think it continued on for much longer.

I wish I could really find out what Hector is up to these days. I hope he didn't do what Gilbert did and just stop training altogether. Why didn't Gilbert go train with Joel at his school?

aikidoc
04-15-2006, 09:01 PM
Brian: Yes, I'm under the same Kato sensei as Jorge and it has been a blessing. He does enjoy his time on the mat and has fun. Joel is a part of our group as well and a student of Kato sensei.

The high prices are interesting. Here's another link that charges high prices for bs. What's interesting about this one is that it is so bizarre that it is almost a mockery of the other frauds. I present to you the Grand Celestial Do, the alien martial art. Enjoy.

http://cosmicfighting.741.com/

Jorge Garcia
04-15-2006, 09:29 PM
Brian: Yes, I'm under the same Kato sensei as Jorge and it has been a blessing. He does enjoy his time on the mat and has fun. Joel is a part of our group as well and a student of Kato sensei.

The high prices are interesting. Here's another link that charges high prices for bs. What's interesting about this one is that it is so bizarre that it is almost a mockery of the other frauds. I present to you the Grand Celestial Do, the alien martial art. Enjoy.

http://cosmicfighting.741.com/

This guy has way too much time on his hands!

Jorge Garcia
04-15-2006, 09:41 PM
Mike Rains had left by the time I got there, Jorge. So had most of his original students.

One of the first things that tipped me off that something wasn't right was how Vella's 3rdCoastAikido website had a page with with a bunch of pictures of students that he was supposed to have.

Since the photos of the two people that joined right before I did were up on that page, a father and his young son, I wondered who all these other people were who's pictures appeared there, with their names under their picture.

Mike Rains was one of them. There were about 30 pictures up on that page, and only around 7 of them were currently training there when I started.

If the pictures of the latest people to join are up on the page, why are there so many people who don't train here anymore?

What I think happened is that when he launched his school Dan got a whole gaggle of students all at once (this would have been around 2000 or so) and that's where most of these pictures came from.

As time went on it got harder for Dan to hold on to those original people like Mike Rains since over time if they really knew anything about Aikido Dan's misrepresentations would become evident to them. That's what I suspect. When I joined last year he never had more than 8 or 9 people on the mat at one time; most classes consisted of around 4 or 5 people, myself being one of them.

I think it started big and then got smaller and smaller as time went on. After I left I don't think it continued on for much longer.

I wish I could really find out what Hector is up to these days. I hope he didn't do what Gilbert did and just stop training altogether. Why didn't Gilbert go train with Joel at his school?

Our original Sensei was Eddie Martinez who everyone said was Larry's cousin. They still see each other and talk all the time. Eddie moved to Houston and left Laura Stuckey in charge. Laura couldn't handle it from a leadership point of view and she resigned and Eddie appointed Gilbert to replace her. At the time, Gilbert wasn't in practice much and the job reignited him but it was then that my family moved to Houston and the dojo lost 3 people. Joel was a part of Gilbert's dojo and Gilbert was his sempai. Gilbert and the others felt the dojo wasn't growing because Gilbert was a brown, not a black belt and the general public wants black belt instruction. As a result, the dojo floundered for about three years. Gilbert put in a lot of money from his pocket to keep it open. When he couldn't handle the money part, he had to shut it down. Gilbert's wife didn't want to ever do that again and I think he was burnt out for sure so that was it for him and Corpus lost the prettiest little dojo they ever had. I think Gilbert was just spent and after being the boss for three years, I think he didn't want to become a foot soldier again.

Jorge Garcia
04-15-2006, 09:43 PM
Other people emailed me looking for Hector. No telling where he is but you should go buy Pet Smart and ask the night manager for Hector. Let me know if you find him.

crbateman
04-16-2006, 04:29 AM
I know what it's like to be duped. And I totally understanding the cynicism. Because I have been there. Does Juko-Kai mean anything to you? All I have to say at some point you need to ask yourself a question, "did you learn any aikido from this guy at all?" If so, even if it is something as basic as standing in hanmi then thank him for that, let go and move on. I took me a while to get past the hard feelings but eventually you do.

[ETA: I'm not saying this directly to you Clark, but your words sparked these thoughts as words of advice to our original poster.]I understand your feelings, Anne Marie, but my point was (and is) that you cannot change something that has already happened. What you CAN change is what happens next, and to begin the next page with "poisoned" feelings is counterproductive. Remember the lesson, but give your next training relationship the chance to progress from a neutral point.

giriasis
04-16-2006, 08:27 AM
I understand your feelings, Anne Marie, but my point was (and is) that you cannot change something that has already happened. What you CAN change is what happens next, and to begin the next page with "poisoned" feelings is counterproductive. Remember the lesson, but give your next training relationship the chance to progress from a neutral point.

I'm sorry, Clark, but I don't think you do understand my feelings.

If you haven't experienced this kind of thing, Clark, please consider yourself blessed. I have long since gotten past my hard feelings and with almost 6.5 years of training with people as good and respectable as Peter and Penny Bernath at Florida Aikikai my "next" training lesson has certainly progressed to a more positive point.

And what a person can do about folks like this IS to expose them for what they are. And they can help others find good decent schools and steer them away from some really questionable people. That is what I have done.

I guess my point is, Clark, if you haven't been there then you don't really know what it is like to get over it. Feelings are just that -- feelings, neither wrong nor right. They are not "poisoned." A person learns to deal with them in their own time and in there own way. Telling someone their feelings are "poisoned" is just plain wrong. My advice was one way to learn to deal with those feelings as it was what helped me move on. (Oh, they were the wise words of Penny Bernath.) "Should"ing all over someone is not going to help a person constructively deal with the situation.

Like I said, please consider yourself blessed if you haven't been in this situation where a martial arts instructor has lied or misled you about their background and you believed them.

Jorge Garcia
04-16-2006, 09:33 AM
I haven't been through what Brian or Ann Marie have been through but I have experienced a life changing tragedy that involved lies and deception. When someone does that to you, it is extremely difficult to "get over it and move on". I think the reason is that you deeply want to understand the meaning of what happened and it's effect on you. When the natural healing of time occurs, you still think about it every day and try to put it into perspective as you make yourself anew. Talking about it helps you to understand it internally and helping others avoid it makes you feel like you were able to redeem the experience into something positive.

SeiserL
04-16-2006, 09:38 AM
but my point was (and is) that you cannot change something that has already happened. What you CAN change is what happens next, and to begin the next page with "poisoned" feelings is counterproductive. Remember the lesson, but give your next training relationship the chance to progress from a neutral point.
Yes, remember the lesson and who taught it to you because forgetting only make one stupid. But it isn't a neutral point. Its a wound that hurts. Many of us would love to be able to raise above it and be the better person, but are humbly human and all the mess that it entails.

There is a cause and effect relationship. Sometimes others are the cause but the effect they have is generalized to other and to our art. We need to expand our connectedness outside of our own ego and realize that our actions, especially in leadership positions, have long range poisonous effects. We all pay such a high price for any betrayal. How does one get over those effects if we cannot talk openly and honestly about the truth and get support from others who agree that honor and integrity are important, perhaps more important than the mere physical skills?

Yes, forgiving means to acknowledge that something wrong has occurred, that wrong was by someone else, and give it back to them to carry as their fear and internal shame and guilt.

Too bad we all live with the effects. Students betrayed by their teachers have troubles trusting again. Teachers betrayed by their students also have great pain, fear, and have trouble trusting again.

It is simply not okay to lie or steal.

Yes, we probably all need to realize that it really is only a few people who betray. We need not generalize. But, we are all human and tend to. This makes it hard on everyone. And though it often creates some discomfort to be the messenger that exposes the truth, it is only through the truth that any of us will survive.

Okay. Sorry. I bow and humbly step of my personal soap box.

SeiserL
04-16-2006, 10:18 AM
Maybe we should start a thread on "Watch Out for Aikido 'Students'........" ?

What impact does it have on the legitimate teachers when their prior students betray them?

While being a perpetual student I have never been in a teacher position, I train under a legitimate credentialed teacher with direct lineage to O'Sensei, who has been betrayed and stolen from on several occasions. The impact has been devastating and demoralizing. Yet, he continues to teach on a daily basis.

aikidoc
04-16-2006, 11:56 AM
As an instructor, students going the bogus route would definitely make you wonder where your message got lost. Or, worse yet, were you a poor judge of character. I have been on both sides of the fence where I have (1) encountered bogus instructors (twice) and (2) where I have had a student claim bogus credentials-not once but twice. The first set were aikido credentials and the second set were sword credentials-that one after he told me he found God and realized it was a bad thing to do. He is not aware I have checked on his sword credentials and as I surmised they don't exist. He made the mistake of giving me the name of his instructor. Such is life.

Jorge Garcia
04-16-2006, 01:33 PM
Say guys,
My son went by Dan's old place and it looks like he's out of business. There's now a Mail & Stuff place in his old location. In correlation with his website being gone, I would say that's it for the "Shihan".

crbateman
04-16-2006, 02:40 PM
I'm sorry, Clark, but I don't think you do understand my feelings.

If you haven't experienced this kind of thing, Clark, please consider yourself blessed.
...

Like I said, please consider yourself blessed if you haven't been in this situation where a martial arts instructor has lied or misled you about their background and you believed them.
Anne Marie, I HAVE been there, and hard feelings about it did me NO good. Only when I put a positive spin on it was I able to get past it. Being a "hater" may be fine for some, but it gives me HEARTBURN. THAT is why I gave that advice, no more, no less. I'm out...

SeiserL
04-16-2006, 03:21 PM
I HAVE been there, and hard feelings about it did me NO good. Only when I put a positive spin on it was I able to get past it.
Couldn't agree more my friend.

It just takes some time, compassion, and insight without taking it personally. The journey is from the initial hard feeling of betrayal to a healthier attitude that allow us to grow.

I personally don't put a positive spin on it, since that feels too much like denial to me. I do have to learn (and relearn) to accept (not understand or agree) that other people can (and do) make different choices than I believe are right, and that they actually have that right. Technically, I guess it isn't right or wrong, good or bad, its just a different set of rules than I tend to chose or want to live with.

Also agreed, we have to do to get our head around it, accept the truth, move on with our lives, and get back to training with people who we do have a congruent matching code of ethics.

I hope we all see that the betrayal and stealing is really by a relative minority of people, though it produces the greatest harm. When I think of all the people I have trained with in 38 years, there is only a few that I would not want to train with again.

I looking froward to training with all of you who have experienced betrayal and learned to train on.

giriasis
04-16-2006, 04:26 PM
Anne Marie, I HAVE been there, and hard feelings about it did me NO good. Only when I put a positive spin on it was I able to get past it. Being a "hater" may be fine for some, but it gives me HEARTBURN. THAT is why I gave that advice, no more, no less. I'm out...

Clark, you have an amazing way of defining my emotions for me. Sounds like your transfering some old feelings to whatever you experienced. Please do not transfer those on to me. Where in the world did I mention "hatred?" That's even worst than referring to my feelings as "poisonous." How do you know my feelings are filled with "hatred" and "poison?" Do you really know me? Just because I choose to look at reality the way it is and just because I choose not to turn a blind eye to frauds, cheats and misrepresentation does not mean I have to be filled with "hatred" or "poison."

I'm all for letting go too, but I'm with Lynn, here. Putting a positive spin on fraudulent persons is more like denial for me, too. It just your comments sound too much like telling a person who suffers from clinical depression to "just get over it."

Oh, and I'm not advocating an "E-budo" style lashing either. I'm all for people stating the facts. But I'm not for ignorning them. If someone asks about Juko Kai on this board. I'll tell them my experience and nothing more and I'll do it by private message. I'm just not for turning a blind eye on this kind of thing and I'm also not for bashing of decent respectable instructors as well.

giriasis
04-16-2006, 04:31 PM
I looking froward to training with all of you who have experienced betrayal and learned to train on.

Lynn, if you're ever in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you're more than welcome to join us at Florida Aikikai. You can catch me there during the evening classes, and we can share our training together.

SeiserL
04-16-2006, 05:19 PM
Lynn, if you're ever in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, you're more than welcome to join us at Florida Aikikai. You can catch me there during the evening classes, and we can share our training together.
You and the Florida Aikikai have a very fond place in my heart for how honorably and honestly our past crossing of paths was handled.

This same holds true for Clark. I have known his honor and his heart. He is very good people.

I look forward to sharing space and time with so many people.

Man of Aiki
04-16-2006, 08:10 PM
I hope he has a Keith Green break through.

From the song 'Your Love Broke Through':

Like a dreamer tryin' to build a highway
to the sky,
All my hopes,
Would come tumbling down and I never
knew just why.

Until today, when you pulled away the clouds
that hung like curtains on my eyes,
Well I've been blind all these wasted years
and I thought I was so wise,

But then you took me by surprise.

You can't build a dream based on lies no matter how hard you try.

Man of Aiki
04-19-2006, 06:12 PM
Something else just hit me from going back and looking at Sensei Vella's now defunct website.

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:KINr5fKhIvgJ:www.aikido3rdcoast.com/headquarters.html+Sanban+Kaigan&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1

He had two brown belts studying under him when I was there. What happened when one of them wanted to test for Shodan?

The site says they'd send off a video. Probably to Grandmaster Glenn R. Premru, where ever he is these days. Probably not a well known location since I understand he's still wanted by the Arizona U.S. Marshalls.

Man, that ticks me off. What If it had worked out and I'd stayed there and invested 2 or 3 years training, got to the point I wanted to test for Shodan, and ended up getting a worthless certificate from Premru's organization, the Okinawan Karate-Do Federation?

giriasis
04-19-2006, 06:31 PM
Man, that ticks me off. What If it had worked out and I'd stayed there and invested 2 or 3 years training, got to the point I wanted to test for Shodan, and ended up getting a worthless certificate from Premru's organization, the Okinawan Karate-Do Federation?

You are what we called in my law school contracts law class: The Stuckee.

Dan Vella
02-23-2009, 04:50 PM
Watch out for Aikido ENVY

Webster defines ENVY as….having hatred or ill will…1. a feeling of discontent and ill will because of another’s advantages, possessions, etc. 2. desire for some advantage or possession of another. 3. an object of envious feeling: as he was the envy of the other boys because he had a bicycle. 4. to feel ill will, jealousy, or discontent at his possession of something that one keenly desires to have or achieve oneself.

I have noticed there seems to be quite a few aikido website forums with dubious individuals, with seemingly questionable agenda’s, who suffer from aikido envy. Individuals who love to spew their bovine feces about their fellow aikidoist under the guise of legitimacy, as being the true authorities on and saviors of aikido purity. I’m sure they’re intentions are honorable, and that they are just trying to protect us from ourselves and make O’ Sensei proud.

The nice thing about being 63 and having spent almost 20 years practicing and teaching aikido, is it gives one an advantage. By this stage of your career and life, you have gotten to have seen and about heard it all, and know where all the bodies are buried. At this level of life experience, you easily recognize a rectum when you run across one…I think we all can agree that there are elements of unscrupulous factions surrounding all martial arts, not just aikido. Even so, that doesn’t give any of us the right to provoke others to wrath by employing hate mongering slander under the guise of social intercourse, that’s intended to excite feelings of ill will and hostility between different groups and individuals. Most of the time if we look deeper into such immoral behavior we discover the root cause is ENVY.

An old constitutional law teacher of mine, used to tell me, “We move from the complex to the simple and the obvious is the last thing we see”.

Over all these years now, I have seen, read and heard all the arguments, pro and con, as well as, all the venom propagandized concerning certifications, their so-called compared value ect.,ect.,…so on,…and so on… It’s been my experience that certifications do not an aikidoist make. Especially when such certificates are only applicable to and within the organizations they are issued. Kind of a moot argument don’t you think?

I always look to a person’s character, their love for their fellow man, their passion for wisdom, their capacity for mercy and forgiveness and Kuden Shugyo, i.e, (person-to-person, heart-to-heart transmission, of the art of walking the Path or Way). I never found it conducive to the art of aikido to judge others by their current or past association’s or actions of a prior sensei, their affiliates or prior students, whatever the case might have been. That’s why our school is a private school, independent of any politics.

I began my study of aikido for personal growth and self improvement….the need is great for instructors who understand the meaning of self defense and the willingness to transfer the skills and knowledge to others without prejudice…or self promoting politics. But there are some so-called spiritual
instructor’s in the art of aikido, who would rather, with malice and envy in their hearts work to injure others and their rights, with a view of restraining them from their freedom of choice and action. You don’t always have to blend and harmonize, you know…..!

I made it a policy while teaching aikido, not to engage in these forum spit swapping debates about irrelevant and meaningless diatribe and arguments from paranoid, self serving, and self aggrandizing individuals who would better serve our art by spending more time on the mat teaching our young people morals and aiki ethics, rather than showing them by example the art of spewing opinionated, self defecating, hate propaganda, so they too could aspire to be just like their role models and become high ranking dan’s, who enjoyed inflicting punishment, pain and loss on others not of like mind.

However, after viewing these forums hateful articles (Watch out for Shihan’s and Aikido Frauds) I decided to, by “Special Appearance Only,” exercise my 1st amendment right to freedom of speech i.e., the right to speak or not to speak. Especially since these articles directly showcased myself and others from an unscrupulous source.

Mr. Humm is correct, exposure on the other hand is something that can be undertaken, especially if one knows where all the bodies are buried…..and was present at the time and just happens to know the real truth about the matters and the people involved.

It was recently brought to my attention by several of my Insurance clients, they, being martial artists also, had googled my name and were confronted with the herein named articles and were shocked at their inflammatory, venomous and libelous contents. These materials were intentionally placed on the web to do just that. So after several years after their publications they continue to defame my character in the public domain and damage my private business.

I felt it was now an appropriate time to respond on this forum, in an attempt to expose and prevent these same despicable individuals from continuing their unbridled injuring of others whom they may also come to target with their heinous public campaigns of Hate and Violence. I have lawfully contacted the proper Federal agencies and Law enforcement authorities regarding these individuals and materials and continue to explore other available legal recourse.

I’m not going to sit here and try and controvert each and every vicious lie or justify personal decisions I’ve made walking in the Way. I don’t tempt fate and I don’t answer to fools. But I will address these rollicking, frolicking pranksters of the mortuary sign, who seemingly practice the dark arts and sciences.

Slanderous writings and libelous publications are difficult to address for anyone. Maybe some of you viewing this article will get this same opportunity someday. Especially if you have the misfortune of getting caught in these individual’s cross hairs. Believe me, when I tell you all, it won’t really matter what side of the fence your on, independent or otherwise, that’s just their excuse and the beast in their nature.

Mr. Seiser stated O’ Sensei didn’t intend for aikido to be taught to people of low character. Yet throughout the years, I’ve witnessed a proliferation of same coming out of aikikai organizations. The individuals identified herein are a prime example and realization of that observation. As long as we have aikido envy and aikido elitists who promote hate and discord between groups and individuals and encourage their fellow aikidoist to bare false witness against others, for what ever reason they seem to try and justify as being legitimate in their minds, I’m afraid, “we all are fair game”, and susceptible to their cowardly acts. Remember folks, what goes around comes around.

First, one must consider these inflammatory articles source. Sensei Dr. John Riggs 4th dan, I guess never heard the old adage, “when one points a falsely accusing finger at someone, remember you have three pointing back at yourself”. I am surprised this man would expose himself and others of his persuasion for a “Bowl of Rice”. It is my understanding that Dr. Riggs, in real life, has run afoul involving several indiscretions. I admit I have never met the man, nor have had the honor of working out with him, but I’m sure he is a real good aikidoist and a really nice guy. Enough said…

Let’s move on to our next contestant, Sensei Jorge Garcia 3rd dan. Oh,Jorge?
In his Shudokan School of Aikido website posted 2/18/06 he states his humble beginnings at the Corpus Christi Aikikai in August of 1995, with “a closely knit and dedicated group of individuals”, yours truly included, and proceeds to name us all. What he failed to tell, was, Eddie Martinez, Larry Zalazar, Jerry and Gail Thompson, Matt Crocker, Laura Stuckey, Hector Chavez, Mike Rains and myself, were an independent dojo several years earlier, studying Steven Segal’s style of aikido.

Our biggest mistake was to join the U.S.A.F. Mid-west Aikikai. Right after that Rick Ricard, Joel Molina, Gilbert Fuentes and guys like Jorge Garcia showed up….be assured his so called expressed fondness for us all is half hearted and transparent at best. The events he described as leading up to the split between the two factions was not an accurate account. The real reason for the split from Aikikai, was for the very same reason I am sitting here today dealing with this matter.

It has been my experience and is my opinion that Aikikai is a cultish and racist organization. They are today still the same old hate mongering elitists, still the same old independent dojo bashers and hypocrites they’ve always been. Once people really understand this fact, maybe then, they too will liberate themselves and establish and open their own independent schools and organizations and begin to teach the true meaning of aikido without prejudice, malice or envy. Like John Lennon said “Can you Imagine”.

Since the 1995 split, Aikikai, through one or another of their sensei’s, has done everything in its power to publicly castrate, denigrate, libel and slander many of those original members named by Sensei Jorge in an attempt to keep their perceived monopoly of aikido as their exclusive right to pick and choose who can participate in its promulgation here in Corpus Christi, Tx.. Being the reason why so many, like myself and others still refuse to rejoin their ranks after all these years. We are living survivors, witnesses and perpetual victims to this continuing insidious cycle of aikikai hate mongering and independent dojo bashing, as again is shown, by the Prima Facie evidence of these forums hateful articles.

Moving on to Mr. Brian Cates, an individual who seemingly knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. “Crazy Brian” as some students
came to know him. Now this boy is a work of art, let me tell you. He thought he knew more about how things should go on the mat and how a dojo should be run than anyone. Of course he failed to mention, while he was so busy bashing us in these forum articles, about the numerous classes I gave him for free or the fact he left owing our school money, or that our dojo was open 3 hours a night 5 days a week, with 2 hour weapons classes every Sat…or the fact, we provided college scholarships to our graduating students, nor mentioned anything about our community at risk youth and anti-gang program.

I know it just slipped his mind that he had to be reprimanded several times for improper conduct toward our female students. I’m so sorry to have to disappoint a lot of you who were hoping he was going to be a creditable aikikai whore, but alas, this boy has some serious mental dis-ease. His irimi dosen’t quite tenkan. We were glad to see him go. He was a whiner, a crybaby, a quitter and is a liar. But I’m sure some of you legitimate aikikai aikidoist out there would love to have a man of his character in your schools. Maybe, he will also put you in these forum articles and on Google, Ask and Yahoo.com.

Now let us examine Sensei Dr. Craig Hocker 2nd dan, of the Houston Ki Aikido Dojo, (Teacher Koichi Kashiwaya 8th dan) located in Houston, Texas. Sensei Hocker is the worst type of low character aikikai hate monger. Sensei Hocker’s solicitation of others in forum to go and commit physical violence against myself and others is cowardly and despicable: Quoting Dr. Hocker’s, “Me too, I think we need to go down there and break the rice bowl Texas Style”. This is the most cowardly form of mentality one can achieve and is also regarded as a hate crime under Federal law in violation of USC Title 42 Civil Rights and USC Title 18 Criminal Statutes, therefore falling under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice Hate Crimes Division. Again, I have taken the liberty of forwarding a criminal complaint and copies to same, of all forum publications regarding this matter.

I’m sure those individuals identified and participating on said forum won’t mind being now placed on the Federal government’s radar. As to Sensei Hocker’s proclivity to commit violence upon me, including any other of his forum solicited bullet-proof aikikai dan’s, I’m really not that hard to find.

“AND THE OBVIOUS IS THE LAST THING WE SEE”…i,e,.you’re all just a hateful little group of vile, despicable aikikai cowards.

And, even though and in spite of, the above truth’s, your best efforts to defame me and my good works, illuminates the painful reality that each of you has only accomplished exposing the envy, anger and hate which resides within your own hearts and the beast in your nature. Your acts have not only brought disgrace and shame upon yourselves, but dishonor to the aikido community at large and defile O’Sensei’s memory. Your Dirty tricks and Mean spirits are not the spirit of aiki love but the absence of it. You all, serve to remind each of us why and what we as loving aikidoist train so hard not to become. “One cannot expose others without exposing oneself”. You have earned my distain, but have my gratitude for validation of the “OBVIOUS”.

In spite of the fact these articles referred to herein originated out of the Shudokan Aikido Association and were penned by Shihan Hiroshi Kato 8th dan instructors (Sensei’s), I don’t believe, just because, he is either so derelict in his responsibilities to the public at large or because, he is so incompetent he doesn’t know about them at all or because, to date he has never made an attempt to control his instructors off the mat publications, being submitted in his name via his reputation, that he shares their same persuasions, or does (is) he?

I don’t know if any of us will ever be able to eliminate aikido envy or the slanders it breeds, or be able to expose Slanders, Hate mongers and Racist such as these on our mats and in our organizations, but you can talk to your children and those you come in contact with. You can educate and talk straight with them and investigate any so called self proclaimed protectors of aikido purity.

For those who can remember Frank Zappa, he once sang “They said it couldn’t happen here,” well tell that to all the children victimized by the legitimate priests of the Catholic Church, those who survived the Civil Rights Movement and those who perished in the Holocaust, at the hands
of Hypocrites, Racists and Hate mongers. I’m sure they all would have a thing or two to say about people such as these herein, who are propagandizing captive authority over others in the name of lineage legitimacy and ideological purity. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Maybe Shihan Hiroshi Kato, his instructors and solicited others should remove the log from their own eyes, before ripping the speck from mine.
They need to go back to school and re-learn the “GOLDEN RULE”.

Well boys and girls, I’m sorry its time to go, I’m tired. It’s hard work stooping to this level. I won’t post further on this subject, so I will leave you to continue your hate and gossip with these final words….

FOR THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND, NO EXPLAINATION IS NEEDED !

FOR THOSE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND, NO EXPLAINATION IS POSSIBLE !

Strength through Honor

Shihan Dan Vella 5th dan
Founder of Kuden Shugyo Ryu Style of Aikido

PS. Poor Joe Molina 2nd dan @ Academy of Asian Martial Arts C.C. TX.

lbb
02-23-2009, 07:19 PM
Um, wow.

tarik
02-23-2009, 08:20 PM
Oh joy... this should be fascinating (NOT!).

I have lawfully contacted the proper Federal agencies and Law enforcement authorities regarding these individuals and materials and continue to explore other available legal recourse.


FWIW, libel and slander are civil offenses and ignored entirely by "Federal agencies" and "Law enforcement authorities", so if you are indeed serious about seeking legal recourse, you've gone the wrong route.

I'm not going to sit here and try and controvert each and every vicious lie or justify personal decisions I've made walking in the Way. I don't tempt fate and I don't answer to fools. But I will address these rollicking, frolicking pranksters of the mortuary sign, who seemingly practice the dark arts and sciences.

FWIW, from where I sit, you could and should have done a much better job of rebutting the claims against you than you did if you wanted to be convincing.

"AND THE OBVIOUS IS THE LAST THING WE SEE"…i,e,.you're all just a hateful little group of vile, despicable aikikai cowards.

Indulging in your own venomous responses isn't exactly setting the example you are asking others to maintain.

Regards,

ramenboy
02-23-2009, 08:29 PM
Um, wow.

ha! took the words right out of my mouth! mary, touché!!!!

this thread is 2 years old

anyways, one of the things i've learned in my short time in aikido, or other martial arts for that matter, is that practice doesn't make perfect; correct practice makes perfect. which is why the majority of us here on aikiweb found teachers who were students of the founder of aikido, or maybe their teachers' teachers were. the belief is that these shihans would be the epitome of, in your words, 'heart to heart, person-to-person' transmission.

the persons you mention may have made crazy statements (unfortunately apparently none of us are as perfect as yourself), but inevitably decided to align themselves with and learn from great teachers, of great pedigree. and these great teachers have found no reason to question their character.

i also learned that theimportance of the practice of aikido is. shugyo. austere practice...any obstacles or insults or problems you shrug off and practice. keiko keiko keiko. isn't that what you call your style or school of aikido?

the persons you mention may have pissed you off, and at some point, i guess they'll have to deal with that. in terms of aikido, though, they can trace their lineage clearly back to the founder of aikido. which to everyone else makes their rank authentic and well respected. can you?

congratulations on founding your own style of aikido. but why are you only 5th dan? meh, doesn't matter. i'm sure you'll say rank doesn't mean anything anyways

raul rodrigo
02-23-2009, 09:28 PM
I think Mr. Vella's post tells us all we need to know about him.

aikidoc
02-24-2009, 12:24 AM
For what it's worth.

http://www.viewusedcars.com/smoka-usa/premru3.htm

From Bushido.
"http://www.azalmanac.com/AzMostWanted031304.htm

This once famous Karateka and forms champion from the 1960's and early 1970's has been a wanted felon since 2002.

He was caught trying defraud people out of over $10 million dollars, was arrested by the US Marshalls, posted his bond.....and fled.

He's still out there somewhere.

During the years preceding 2002, it turned out 'Soke' Premru sold hundreds, if not thousands, of worthless certificates purporting to prove the holders were highly advanced in numerous martial arts.

This is the only guy in America I'm aware of who is presently a wanted felon for mail fraud for selling fake certificates as part of a criminal scheme."

I guess people are still looking for Glenn.

sorokod
02-24-2009, 05:35 AM
The History page on the (now defunct) www.aikido3rdcoast.com courtesy of web.archive.org

http://web.archive.org/web/20050318183236/www.aikido3rdcoast.com/History.html

Ketsan
02-24-2009, 08:14 AM
"World Soke Grandmaster" :D

akiy
02-24-2009, 08:37 AM
Hi folks,

I think this thread has run out its course of usefulness with both "sides" having presented their cases. Thread closed.

-- Jun