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Old 09-17-2002, 11:22 AM   #76
Leslie Parks
Dojo: Tenshinkan Dojo
Location: Chicago
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 41
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Research

I have nothing to say about OKF. I don't know them, the head or anyone in the organization. As I said in my earlier post, quality, independent dojo with instructors of good character do exist. I do not say whether this is one of them.

Public Demonstrations are a both a marketing and an educational tool. 'Look how cool this art is! Come and join!' That is not a bad thing or a good thing. If you didn't know Aikido existed, how would you know to start?

For further research into different organizations, here are two resources that are a bit more organized than the google search.

1. Aikidofaq-North American organizations-this lists well known organizations under several lineages ie. Aikikai, Ki Society, Tomiki, Daito Ryu, etc.

http://www.aikidofaq.com/guide/nam.html

2. Aikiweb- Affiliations

http://www.aikiweb.com/general/affiliat.html

Furthermore, try contacting affiliated dojo elsewhere in Texas (outside of the Corpus Christi area) or in the South, see if they can provide any recommendations/information. The Aikido world is smaller than you think, and there are many people who "know where the bodies are buried".
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Old 09-17-2002, 12:46 PM   #77
rgfox5
Dojo: Shobukan/ASU
Location: DC
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 23
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IMHO, you can watch a class and make your judgement solely from your impressions. Did you like the attitude, how did the senior students act, did they strut around or not, were people nice to eachother, was the training vigorous or not, did anyone get hurt. Did the teacher appear skilled and effective, graceful and coordinated. Did you like the class?

What organization he's with or was with, who cares? Your impressions are all that matters. The monthly price is fine, but ask again if you can have a trial month please, before you commit to hundreds of $$.
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Old 09-17-2002, 01:34 PM   #78
bcole23
Dojo: Eagle Rock Aikido, Ammon, ID
Location: Ammon, ID
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 120
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SCHWEET!! Thanks for the great info! I just started my own karate dojo here in Idaho. I'm calling it "Cobra Kai Karate". The OKF has awarded me a San dan rank and a shihan dai teaching certificate, they should arrive with 10-15 days.

And since I currently hold a 3rd kyu rank in Aikido, they've also awarded me a dan rank in Aikido!

"I'm in the moneeey.. I'm in the moneeey.."

I'm amazed that places like this are allowed to exist. I read every single word on his website and looked at all the materials. This seems to me to be a very good salesman who studied for quite some time, but barring having anything to really show for it just makes some scam that is meant to look like something legitimate.

However, I'm in total agreement that rank is only an indication of perceived ability and affiliation is just that. It's actual ability that matters. But think on this, a persons ability isn't just in physical things, it's in intelligence, character, and spirit. Anyone belonging to this affiliation is very lacking in one or more of these areas.

I'm sure the people of the CobraKai were very proficient also, go train with them.

%us = map { $_ => q{belong} } @your_base;
http://www.eaglerockaikido.com
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Old 09-17-2002, 01:42 PM   #79
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 586
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I don't like the way some of the comments about Mr. Premru's organization are being expressed. Remember, please, that this is a public forum and our ability to show respect for other martial artists is a key factor in the way others will assess us as martial artists. (We have absolutely no evidence that Mr. Premru is not an outstanding martial artist and entirely sincere, despite expressing himself somewhat strangely.)

I sympathize with the people who respond to him negatively. I found his two letters distasteful, myself, but unless someone has real personal experience, they should be careful what they say. Indeed, even if they have real personal experience, they should probably be careful of what they say and how they say it.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-17-2002, 03:20 PM   #80
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
Join Date: Mar 2002
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Jonathan,

I think you misinterpreted what was said here. Nobody ever claimed that the OKF was fake. It seems clear to me from their website and letter that they act as a sort of clearing house for students who have left the organization in which they originally learned their art. It is not uncommon for students to leave teachers and organizations for one reason or another, but usually an Aikido student will move from one legitimate Aikido organization to another. The idea of joining a Karate federation is abnormal.

However, the fact that Premru himself lived in CC for several years might go a long way to explaining how Vella became involved with the OKF. He probably didn't just find them on the Web. Nevertheless, that he is no longer affiliated with a recognized Aikido organization is troubling to some of the members of this forum. The main reason for this is that there is no certification from a qualified authority as to Vella's ability to teach Aikido. Premru might be a good karateka (I don't know), but this does not make him qualified to evaluate Aikido instructors. Normally, to award 5th dan in Aikido, one needs to hold at least 6th dan. It usually takes at least thirty years of practice to attain this rank and requires maintaining a good relationship with one or more shihan. Appartenly, Vella was not able to maintain such a relationship with the teachers from whom he learned Aikido. We have no idea who this was and what level Vella reached under them. The only thing we have to go on is the 4th dan ranking he has from Premru. Nobody here puts much value in that, and Premru's email, much like the other information you have shared, only serves to reinforce our opinion.

Perhaps I was wrong when I suggested that the mention of "Aikido Hombu Dojo" on the flyer was intended to mislead. Maybe Vella meant to indicate that he holds rank through the Aikikai Hombu Dojo. If so, you want to know what this is as it is the only rank that you can be sure was awarded to him by a qualified Aikido instructor. If you can provide this information, along with teacher under which he received that rank, we would have a much better picture of what Vella's actual experience is. If he holds no dan rank whatsoever through the Aikikai (or other major Aikido organization), then you have to wonder on what basis Premru can promote him to from 0 to 5th dan. Nowhere in that long email does Premru ever mention an Aikido qualification of any significance. "Many years" of study and having some friends at the local dojos are not sufficient.

After reading that letter, I was curious about Premru, so I did a little research. I found this page which contains a thread regarding Premru's business dealings. The content has been deleted, but it is easy to get the gist from the titles alone. This post is representative of a similar thread. Apparently, we aren't the only people who distrust Premru.

I think Rick Fox's comments apply to himself and the rest of us here that already have experience with Aikido, but for someone with no experience it is hard to know what to look for. As I mentioned before, this is the primary justification of rank and certification. I think that it is clear from your posts here that Vella's sales pitch and Premru's email were effective at selling you where they would not have been so for the rest of us. That is OK, as you shouldn't expect to be able to evaluate these people without any experience. I think that you showed good judgment by posting here for advice.

Many of us think that the best thing for you to do is to find a dojo that is affiliated with a known Aikido organization. Ultimately, though, we can only advise, and you will have to make the best decision you can for yourself based on the available information. If, after thouroughly checking out all of the schools in town, you still decide to go with Premru and Vella, it may turn out to be the right thing for you. Even if it doesn't, it may simply be true that you need to find this out for yourself.
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Old 09-17-2002, 03:51 PM   #81
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
Location: Baltimore
Join Date: Jul 2002
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Hey, I finally found some information on Glenn Premru that puts him in context. You have to actually search on his name to find him in the page, but this link makes it seem like he was a reasonably well known (at least locally) Karate performer in the mid-70s. The rest of the page is sober and their description of AiKiDo was fairly accurate, so I'm willing to accept their description of Premru. Too bad they don't say what happened to him after that.

I REALLY liked this passage from their description of AiKiDo, though:
Quote:
Despite what many people think or claim, there is no unified philosophy of aikido. What there is, instead, is a disorganized and only partially coherent collection of religious, ethical, and metaphysical beliefs which are only more or less shared by aikidoists, and which are either transmitted by word of mouth or found in scattered publications about aikido.
Couldn't have said it better my self!

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-17-2002, 06:19 PM   #82
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Jonathan- I lived in Corpus Christi from 1973 until June of 1998. I met Dan Vela at the Corpus Christi Aikikai in August of 1995. He was wearing a white belt at that time and was training under one of the two teachers that taught there, Larry Salazar. When I met Sensei Salazar and asked him what his rank was, he said Shodan. I later found out that Sensei Larry had black belts in other arts but not Aikido. At that time, the dojo was divided between Sensei Larry who wanted to do Seagal style and didn't believe in testing or organizations and Sensei Eddie Martinez who was under Akira Tohei sensei of the USAF. They eventually split and I didn't see Dan again for a while. When they resurfaced, it was about a year later and they were at the CC Athletic Club. Dan was now wearing a hakama and they were billing him as "Master Dan Vela-weapons master who had studied weapons intensively with some of the best in the world". At the time, I thought it funny since we had almost started at the same time and I was only a 4th kyu (USAF) while he had made Master. Sensei Larry was a student of Seagal but was not a member of any organization. Neither Larry nor Dan believed in testing or organizations back then. Then, Dan and Larry and a split and I have not heard of Dan again until now. My opinion is that Dan has probably been doing Aikido for probabaly 8 to 10 years. He struck me as an average journeyman type who has been around a lot of unaffiliated dojos including a few eccentric personalities. He has had good teachers and has been to Aikikai seminars but has been a ronin of sorts.

The old Corpus Christi Aikikai has since closed. There in Corpus, you have a lot of long time established Tomiki Aikido schools. Both Larry and Eddie started there before switching to the Aikikai under Aikido of Austin. Today, there is a USAF dojo that is a club at Texas A&M, CC that meets twice a week. The club sponsor is Dr. Rick Ricard who is a dear friend of mine. I would recommend him to you. Also, there will soon be a new dojo opening up under Joel Molina, 1st Dan. Joel practiced with Dan Vela and knows him. In fact, we are having a seminar on Saturday, October 12. Joel's teacher, Shihan Hiroshi Kato, 8th Dan, a member of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo for 49 years from Tokyo, Japan will be teaching. I hope you can make it Jonathan and meet Joel. He has been in Aikikai Hombu Dojo Aikido (USAF) since 1994 and is now directly affiliated with the Aikikai under Kato Sensei and the Shinkikan Aikido Dojo in Houston, Texas. Take a look at www.shinkikan.com for more information. By the way, Joel said he was inviting Dan to the seminar.

Best to all,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-17-2002, 08:51 PM   #83
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
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In the previous post, I mentioned that "Joel had practiced with Dan". I meant that Joel had practiced in the same dojo with Dan when we were all white belts back in the mid 90's

The truth is that all those guys ran in circles that exagerated their ranks or claimed affiliations with all sorts of people. There are a ton of people in Corpus that have dabbled in various martial arts and all know each other. Unfortunately, that doesn't give them any extra credibilty. Some of them are pretty good. Others have had their skill diminish over the years because they talked more about martial arts than practiced them. The two people I have recommended, Rick and Joel are both people who have been active on the mat, as students, for the last decade. Hope to see you at the seminar. You can get Joel's info off of the Shinkikan website. Look under "staff".

Best to you.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-17-2002, 09:21 PM   #84
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
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Cool, thanks for that information, Jorge. Mr. Vella told me he's been doing Aikido for 17 years (not 10) and has been teaching for 7.

Would you, then, reccomend him as a teacher (personally, aside from the OKF deal) in the case that I did not or could not join Joel or Rick?

I have looked at the TA&MU-CC classes, but don't think their schedule will fit mine for classes (not to mention we're on the other side of town).

As for the other one, the ShinKiKan, I will probably end up calling them, but they ask $175 for regestration and $85 for "Regular Membership," (does not state whether quarterly or what) and that's a good deal of money.

Also, about this seminar, where is it? I might be able to make it, but I don't know (school).

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-17-2002, 09:52 PM   #85
G DiPierro
Location: Ohio
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Jonathan,

The dues are monthly, though I assume that is the price for the main dojo in Houston. I can't imagine that they will be charging $85 a month for classes with Joel in CC. Also, the $175 gets you a gi, bokken, and jo - about $100 worth of stuff you will need anyway - and includes the first month's dues, so it's not a bad deal. It's not like they are asking for 6 months of dues up front or anything.

Also, you should by all means attend the seminar, even if just to watch. In fact, if you don't make it onto the mat a few times somewhere else before then you might be better off watching anyway. It should give you a good idea of who's who since anyone who does Aikido in CC would be a fool to miss it. You can meet Joel and his teachers in person and see how they stack up on the mat compared to Vella and his group. Joel will have home field advantage with Kato Sensei teaching, but that's one of the perks of bringing a Shihan to town for a seminar.
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Old 09-18-2002, 06:36 AM   #86
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Jonathan,

Giancarlo is right. The price mentioned on the website is for ShinKikan in Houston. I'm sure that Joel will charge less in Corpus although you must understand that a Dogi costs about $65 and a good bokken and jo cost about $100 almost anywhere you go. We make the students buy them with us because the dojo gets the small markup price plus it saves the time of driving all over Houston looking for the items.

Check the website for the location of the seminar over the next few days. It will be at the place where Joel practices jujuitsu. Its a martial arts plaza of sorts and the instructor/owner has given Joel permission to start an aikido school there. I will ask Sensei Sasha to post the address.

As for recommending Dan, I can't do it because I really haven't seen his Aikido since 1997 and I don't know what he's doing now. It wouldn't be fair to him for me to evaluate him because of that. I would say that you would have a big advantage with Joel though because unlike many schools in the US, our Kyu rankings (as well as the Yudansha {black belt}rankings) come directly from the Aikido World Headquarters, Hombu Dojo and they carry the signature of the Doshu (Leader of the way) Moriteru Ueshiba. This means that as a kyu ranked person, your ranking would be good in any legitimate aikido school in the world. Also, with Kato Sensei as his teacher (and critic), you can be sure that Joel will have the best supervisor available. Kato Sensei received his first six black belts from the Founder and his last two from his son, Kisshomaru Ueshiba directly. He has known the current Doshu since he was a small child. Kato Sensei would directly conduct all your exams in Aikido and I don't think many in Corpus can compete with that. It is a rare privilege for those who can appreciate it. I recommend it to you.

Best regards,

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-18-2002, 07:20 AM   #87
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
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Jonathan,

I want to also clarify something. I mentioned Kato sensei's affiliation and credentials for a reason. The fact is that when you are looking for an aikido school and you find someone practicing under the name of a little known organization, it usually means that they joined that group to get rank in a way that is easier than the "regular" way. In USAF or any established Aikido group like Aikido Association of America or the Schools of Ueshiba-they don't just hand out black belts. You have to work long and hard for them and sometimes, people that aspire to rank don't have the patience (or ability) to do all that is required so they create an organization or they join one that is easier to get rank in. The truth is that if you get any rank in Aikido from a Karate group or anything unusual like that, no one will recognize your rank in the "regular" established groups. In USAF, the largest group in the US or the AAA, I guarantee you they will start you from scratch if you transfer over. I wouldn't spend time and money on a mat for years if I couldn't get a rank that was recognized by the major Aikido Schools. Here in Houston, there are a lot of guys teaching "Aikido" but I have always been careful to associate myself only with the recognized schools because my time and money is too important to waste. You can learn martial arts anywhere with anyone but you can't be sure of what you're getting out there. Take a look at the recognized aikido organizations on this website. That is a good guide for starters or ask the guys on this forum. From what I have read, they will confirm what I am telling you.

Best always,

Jorge

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-18-2002, 08:48 AM   #88
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
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Yikes, I don't have $160 to blow on a seminar that I'd just sit around and watch at. I dunno, any way, seeing as I'd just be there to watch, listen, and learn, I might be able to get in for less than that? I found the calandar, but, yeah, it doesn't say where, just when.

Thanks for the information, again...I will call Joel some time soon (I guess he should know where it is). Also, I see your point about the ranking and such, and I think it's a good one...especially since I might be leaving town for college in a year or so and so would want to be recognized if I were to join an out of town dojo.

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-18-2002, 09:43 AM   #89
opherdonchin
Dojo: Baltimore Aikido
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If you are just watching, they won't charge you anything.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 09-18-2002, 09:45 AM   #90
rachmass
Dojo: Aikido of Cincinnati/Huron Valley Aikikai
Location: Somerset Michigan
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Hi Jonathan,

I've never heard of having to pay to WATCH a seminar, only to participate. Call the organizers to find out.

Best wishes on this, it seems that you are taking everyones comments under serious advisement.

Rachel
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Old 09-18-2002, 10:21 AM   #91
Veers
 
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Dojo: Shinkikan Aikikai Aikido of Corpus Christi
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Oh, ok. I was about to say... Heh. ^_^;

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 09-18-2002, 04:12 PM   #92
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
Location: Houston
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The price at Shinkikan Houston is higher than most of the weekend seminars in the US. Our seminars are really more akin to the USAF Summer Camp. We have two intensive seminars per year where we train from 14 days to a month. There are usually unannounced daytime classes for those who come from a distance.

The Corpus Seminar will be $70 for the day or $30 per session and yes, watching is free.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 09-18-2002, 04:31 PM   #93
G DiPierro
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I would like to clarify a remark I made in post #85. When I said "anyone who does Aikido in CC would be a fool to miss [the seminar]," I was referring only to the mainline Aikikai-influenced styles, not the Tomiki people. I don't know enough about that organization to include them in such a strong statement, though I expect at least some of their students will be in attendance.
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Old 09-25-2002, 11:02 AM   #94
Veers
 
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Oh geez, the OKF put me on their mailing list...bad move, Glenn.

One other thing, Jorge, will you be at the seminar, too?

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 10-13-2002, 11:07 AM   #95
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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Quote:
Jonathan Lyons (Veers) wrote:
Oh geez, the OKF put me on their mailing list...bad move, Glenn.

One other thing, Jorge, will you be at the seminar, too?

Yes, I was there and had a chance to meet Jonathan and his friend as well. They are two fine young people and I think they enjoyed watching the seminar. We also had the privilege of all having dinner with Kato sensei at a nice restaurant that night. It was a great time!

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 10-13-2002, 04:04 PM   #96
Veers
 
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Indeed I did (enjoy watching), and indeed it was (a great time), and I'll be sure to keep in touch with Joel...he got my # and said he'd keep me posted.

Hehehe, my friend and I came home and tried some of those techniques out...just a few, (don't remember the names) but we got them down pretty well...the one where they grap your shirt and you twist their arm back to face-plant them, the one where they get you in a choke hold and you flip them (that one's fun!), and the one where they grab your wrists from behind and you turn around and drop 'em (that one's easy, unless they're strong enough to keep your arms pinned). Couldn't remember the one where you get the back of the neck with one hand, elbow under their chin, and flip them...too complicated to just watch and learn, I guess.

For the rest of you, I've decided not to join Vella's dojo, even as a "last resort." (actually, if it were to come to "last resorts," I'd probably drop it anyway)

The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 10-15-2002, 09:21 AM   #97
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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Just for everyone's information, Joel did personally invite Mr. Vela to the seminar. Mr. Vela responded that he no longer would have any dealings with the Aikikai or anyone related to them. He referenced "problems" when the dojo he was a member of was under USAF, Midwest region. He also said that he was now a Shihan himself and a 4th Dan. He told Joel that he would not allow any of his students to attend the seminar but that he would come to "check it out". He did come and watch the first half and then left.

At lunch, I was privileged to meet a man who had 50 years in some style of Karate. He said that a friend had brought him the flyer about the seminar. He was shocked that Kato sensei was coming to Corpus Christi. He said that he had met Kato sensei in Japan in 1970 and that Kato sensei was considered a "master" even back then. He couldn't believe that anyone over here wouldn't want to train with him. He really enjoyed himself and had a great time talking to Kato sensei about old times. Apparently, Kato sensei knew many of the Karate people in Japan that this man had studied with and they discussed it at some length. He is a large black man and was expressing amazement at the way Kato sensei was able to move him about effortlessly. It was a refreshing experience to meet a non aikido practitioner who had such a joy and openness that so often is lacking in those who claim the art of O'Sensei.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 10-24-2002, 12:30 PM   #98
ramart2
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Jonathon, take the money and help Joel open his own dojo. He was a very good student and has continued his practice. CC needs a good instructor to keep up the lineage of Aikido in Corpus. I recommend him highly. Everyone needs to have a beginning, and as Tohei Sensei told me on his initial visit to CC, Starting a dojo is easy, keeping one open is hard. Joel can be the wonderful link to Kato Sensie, and Mr. Jorge.

Whence I started Aikido many years ago, I would make the trek up to San Antonio every weekend to practice with Mr. Kevin Templer, a fine instructor in the San Antonio area, and ultimately through him, I met Mr. Birdsong, and Mr. Tohei.

Good Luck and congratulations on finding Aikido- It is worth it!

REM

rem
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Old 10-25-2002, 04:19 PM   #99
Jorge Garcia
Dojo: Shudokan School of Aikido
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Thanks for the encouragement and nice words. I agree that Corpus needs a quality aikido dojo of the mainline style. Hey, they could use more than that! I hope Dr. Ricard does well also. I heard he will be testing for black belt soon. I am glad to know that perhaps he and Joel will be able to cooperate in the AIki spirit like O Sensei would have wanted.


Last edited by Jorge Garcia : 10-25-2002 at 04:23 PM.

"It is the philosophy that gives meaning to the method of training."
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:16 PM   #100
Man of Aiki
Dojo: Aikido By The Bay
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Re: Finally talked to the sensei

Getting to this one about 3 years too late, I see.

Johnathan, if you read this, I want you to know you made the right decision not to join Sensei Vella's school.

You see, I signed on and joined that dojo in March of 2005, just over a year ago. I attended for just over one 'semester', at which time Sensei 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 like him.

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

My first Sensei in Aikido was Larry Salazar, another guy that Jorge mentions. My second Sensei was Hector Chavez, who was one of Larry's students until he broke away to train under Larry Reynosa Sensei at Makoto Dojo.

Now these guys have talent, and they know some good Aikido. But they have consistently mis-represented themselves over the years.

They also don't teach very well. Hector is a fine teacher and I learned more from him than I did from Dan and Larry put together. Larry would never really explain anything, he'd just call Hector up, throw him 10 or 15 times with a technique, and then that was it. Copy that. Hector was the one that actually went around correcting people.

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. Hector taught me to flow through the techniques with an unbroken rhythym, but these guys had be 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.

Brian Cates
manofaiki2003@yahoo.com
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