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:
(That's right - Dan Vella may have been promoted by a wanted felon)
Yeah, it's the same guy all right
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)
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:
(Take a close look at footnote #7 on this page.
"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."
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.