Brian Cates wrote:
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!