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Old 04-13-2006, 11:44 AM   #23
Marc Kupper
Dojo: Aikido of Diablo Valley / ASU
Location: Walnut Creek, California
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 88
Re: Watch Out for Aikido 'Shihans'..........

John Riggs wrote:
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.
Brian Cates wrote:
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.