Texas Soryu - Self-Promotion and Misrepresentation of a Japanese Style?
I would like to get some input from other people on the following situation:
The Texas branch of Soryu karate (a style that originated and still exists in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan) has had a long history. Recently, I came into some information that set off some alarms for me. I found out that the man responsible for bringing this style to Texas, Joe Alvarado, actually cut ties with the Japanese founder of the system because others were promoted above him. His last actual rank with Soryu was 4th dan. After cutting ties with Japan, he apparently promoted himself to 10th dan and has since promoted some of his students up to 9th dan. They still use the name “Soryu” and they still use the Japanese symbols to represent their style. I actually used to be a student of Soryu under several of the instructors. Among them were Richard Guerra, who claims to have a 7th dan from Japan Soryu. I am planning to visit the honbu in Sasebo to verify his rank (since I moved to Okinawa), but that’s another thread all together.
To add to this, the curriculum they are teaching in Texas has a lot of the kata missing. I only discovered this recently by getting in touch with the Japan-approved U.S. representative, James Caldwell, who holds a rank of 8th dan, issued by Japan. Even in summary, there are vast differences between what is being done in Texas and what the original Soryu really is.
My question is this: Is this bullshido? Are the folks in Texas misrepresenting the style by misleading people into thinking that they are still connected to Japan? It looks like it to me, but I want to know what the community here thinks. Thanks for reading.