“Sokeshi” Luis Alba was originally brought to Bullshido’s attention via a YMAS thread, and he has some extraordinary claims to say the least, especially for a man in his 20s. He claims many ranks in a number of Japanese martial arts, including aikido, daito ryu, ninjutsu, aikibujitsu, “Shodokan” karate (as it says in his bio; it reads like shotokan), aikibudo, tae kwon do (3 time “citi wide national champion”). He also claims to be “well trained in the arts of shoalin kung fu. Tai chi, hapkido, muay thai and jujutsu”. He also claims that about once a year, he goes to the Wah Lum temple to pay his respects to the Chinese arts, and that they once asked him to teach budo there, but he declined.
His claims are quite varied and listed in a hard to follow biography, so here’s some of the proof he provided:
Tae kwon do: he’s posted a certificate for a white belt, received in 1998:
In the caption, he claims that his rank, 11th gup, is equivalent to third dan, or 3rd degree black belt. This is totally incorrect and the idea of “equivalence” between arts to me suggests a lack of knowledge of the arts, but that’s just my opinion.
Aikido: there are many aikido claims and I have very little experience with the aiki arts (I study systema at an aikido dojo but do not study aikido). As a martial artist of some years though, there are some thoughts I have on the legitimacy of some claims:
he stated about this certificate: “Awarded Black Hakama, as a Master of Tradition, and was asked to leave the combat world. Undefeated in combat, I began my focus more as a Master of Aikido, and was also Awarded the Certificate of Participation, by the Association of Traditional Japanese Culture Aikikai of Colombia, Federacion Latinoamericana of Aikido (F.L.A).”
I don’t think at this point or any other point he could be said to be undefeated in combat, since he never competed or spent time in a military setting. Also an aikido person might comment on if it is common for a person to be asked to leave the combat world, whatever that means. I’m guessing Hugo Stiltz was never asked to do this in his extensive budo experience since he is a professional soldier. The certificate is difficult to read due to glare and is in Spanish (understandably), so I haven’t said much about the cert itself. A native Spanish speaker/aikidoka may want to send an email to that org (Asociacion de Cultura Tradicional Japonesa Aikikai de Colombia Federacion Latinoamericana de aikido). I believe we have a Spanish aikidoka bully who can help with this. At the very least there is a lot more being inferred from this certificate.
2nd Dan, Tenshinkai Dojo: I can’t read Japanese characters, but there’s a lot of kanji on this cert, and I know there’s people on the forum that can read and interpret this:
This was in 2005, and it seems very odd for anyone with a title like “soke” to be identified as such five years after a 2nd dan, if it is legitimate. It is also very odd that he would not post a 1st dan certificate.
The other aikido/budo teachers he has listed are:
Saito Sensei, Kondo Sensei, Homma Sensei, Yamada Sensei and probably others. Without full names, these are difficult to check up on. He has pictures of training with these people, but they are comically small and blurred and there’s no corroborating photos I could find. He’s also listed several dojos including:
Daito Ryu Melbourne, Brevard Aikikai, and Tenshinkai Dojo. The certificate with the kanji above is from the Tenshinkai dojo. I’m sending emails to the contact info on their websites. My emails are listed below:
This one was for the Brevard Aikikai
“Hello, recently there has been a discussion of a man named Luis F Alba, who goes by “Sokeshi”. He claims high ranks in the aiki arts yet his age and a lack of evidence makes his claims appear questionable. I am a member of a martial arts consumer action group called bullshido, and one of its main functions is to investigate fraud in the martial arts, so that the arts will remain of a high standard and in good regard. Can you confirm or deny Luis claims of achieving a high ranking at your dojo, and provide any insight into who he is? I do not have any grudge against him nor any positive association with him, and am only interested in letting the truth be known. Thank you for your time.”
I couldn’t find a perfect match for Daito Ryu Melbourne, but I also sent an email to Takumaki Aikijutsu, the closest match I could find:
“Hello, recently there has been a discussion of a man named Luis F Alba, who goes by “Sokeshi”. He claims high ranks in the aiki arts yet his age and a lack of evidence makes his claims appear questionable. I am a member of a martial arts consumer action group called bullshido, and one of its main functions is to investigate fraud in the martial arts, so that the arts will remain of a high standard and in good regard. Have you heard of Luis in the aikijutsu community? Did he train with your organization, and for how long? Do you have any opinions of him and his art? Thank you for your time.”
I also sent a similar email to the Tenshinkai Aikido Federation:
“Hello, recently there has been a discussion of a man named Luis F Alba, who goes by “Sokeshi”. He claims high ranks in the aiki arts yet his age and a lack of evidence makes his claims appear questionable. I am a member of a martial arts consumer action group called Bullshido, and one of its main functions is to investigate fraud in the martial arts, so that the arts will remain of a high standard and in good regard. Is Luis a member of your organization, and does he hold a dan ranking? Do you have any comments or opinions to share about Luis? Thank you for your time.”
That’s about all the claims I could look into easily. There is probably a better person than myself to start such a thread, but I saw the one in YMAS and thought that this guy really warranted a real MABS thread. Several on the YMAS thread mention this, and each time a mod suggests that they could start an investigation thread, but nobody has. My feeling is that Luis has been to a lot of seminars and such in an art known for nice, peaceful people (I’ve met folks from 3 aikido dojos, and this has been the case in my experience). In such a situation, it’s easy to imagine you’re very experienced, especially when people are complimentary to be nice, and I think he took this and ran with it until he figured he was God's gift to aiki. I think at least he’s inflating his rank and skill level, and when questioned in YMAS, his answers seemed consistent with many other frauds who skirt (no pun intended) the issue and redirect the questions. I hope this thread answers some questions about the guy.
I’m also going to invite Luis to this thread.