Re: Watch Out for Aikido 'Shihans'..........
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.
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.