Thread: "Sokeshi" Luis Alba
9/13/2010 1:33pm, #1
"Sokeshi" Luis Alba
“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.
9/13/2010 1:34pm, #2
I sent this email to him via his website:
I am one of the posters on bullshido.net, a website I'm sure you've become familiar with since a thread started about you. Well, I'm starting another one in the official forum of the site, so that you have a chance to explain who you are and what you do in an atmosphere without all the cursing, name calling etc of the YMAS forum. This is an attempt to make a better record of who you are, so if someone wants to reaserch you on Bullshido it won't be to a page full of dick jokes and veiled threats. Please stop by to address any questions people bring up if you'd like a fair chance by Bullshido. I do not have ill will towards you and haven't posted anything negative in the YMAS forum. Thanks for your time, have a nice day.
9/13/2010 1:52pm, #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
- West Virginia
The certificate for his 2-dan in Aikido says Tenshinkai Aikido all the way on the right, then "2nd (kanji for dan) (some kanji I can't read)
Then it says Aikido again, then two signatures.
9/13/2010 3:27pm, #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2010
Codos de Piedra, thanks for this thread, I love being around an atmosphere of respect and value towards our arts. Never have I seen myself as a Master of the Arts or to be so great when it comes to what I do. Every time I look back at my life and think of all I’ve accomplished it seems like a dream, but none the less it is all too real.
Since my youth I've always traveled alot, and all the public dojo’s I've encountered have only had me there for a year or so. I can barley remember the names of all the people I've trained here for the past 3years in Avalon Park, so I doubt the masters of my previous schools would even remember my name, then again some people do leave a lasting memory.
The head instructor’s of the Shokyujin Aikikai, and Tenshinkai, I still maintain contact with, so if there’s anyone whom could speak dearly of me it would be Andrade Sensei. Keep in mind though the name of the Dojo is Tenshinkai, awards come from the International Martial Arts Federation I.M.A.F.
As for the title of Sokeshi, it literally translates to a Master of Path or Tradition, I’ve opened my own school here in Avalon Park, so I’ve adopted such a name, though I still continue to maintain close bonds with the Aikikai, and Tenshinkai. I decided to go my own way, away from all the politics that exist amongst our Art today. When I speak of Budo, I speak of AikiBudo, not the general Japanese Martial Arts. The issue I’ve found to common amongst those of Aikido is the politics. My dream is to unite all these different federations once again in a common goal. My school offers a place where we can all be equal, and learn from each other, away from the greed and egos of today. Budo has many chapters whether you come from Aikikai, Yoshinkan, Ki Society, or Iwama, we are all a part of a greater picture, an art that promotes World Peace. I am not the Soke of the Art itself, no that title would belong to O’Sensei himself, but I am the Soke of my School.
Luis F. Alba
9/13/2010 3:30pm, #5
With reference to Hakama.
When Aikido was being developed by Ueshiba Morihei, it was common practice for anyone to wear hakama for the study of budo, indeed Ueshiba required it of his students.
Following the onset and aftermath of WWII Japan was a country of limited resources, the Aikikai based out of Tokyo apparently made a ruling that only dan ranked aikidoka were required to wear hakama, this was essentially due to the shortage of appropriate cloth and the prohibitive costs at the time for either purchase or manufacture. The original concept of this idea wasn't about status but more of elevating the burden on new students to own/wear hakama.
Today the Aikikai stipulate (for it's own members) the wearing of hakama is generally permitted from shodan unless specific authority has been given beforehand, however, if you visit the Aikikai in Tokyo as a guest, and ask to wear hakama you will be allowed to do so.
I trained at the New York Aikikai in in 2000 (then ikkyu training for shodan) and although being given permission to wear hakama in my own association in the UK, I was required to remove it whilst training under Yamada Yoshimitsu.
The wearing of hakama has nothing to do with mastery of tradition or any other such nonsense, in other arts such as Kendo or Iaido (of which I both study) hakama is worn from day one and has absolutely no other relevance or significance to the art other than it was (is) a traditional garment of clothing worn by those engaged in budo/bujutsu.
It is also interesting to note from the YMAS thread that Alba claimed that all aikido techniques come from the Japanese sword; this is entirely inaccurate as I explained in that thread at the time. Without making contact with whomever awarded Alba with his dan grade(s) I won't speculate on his actual possession of such documentation however, anyone studying aikido under Japanese instructors will confirm, whilst aikido is heavily influenced by classical weaponry of Japan it is neither a weapon art nor are all of it's techniques born from sword use. Anyone stating this as an authoritative fact is lacking in the basic knowledge of the development of the system.
With regard to Alba's statement of being "asked to leave the combat world". I have absolutely no idea what Alba is referring too, Alba strikes me as a desolutioned, ill-informed egotistic."To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
9/13/2010 3:30pm, #6
9/13/2010 3:36pm, #7
Dojo-cho would be a far better description of what you are within your own system, you could be even more humble and just refer to yourself as the "founder" you're neither Japanese or particularly well-versed enough to really comprehend what the term "soke" actually means, if you did, you'd have chosen not to use such a term.
Ask yourself why Ueshiba Morihei himself didn't adopt the term "soke"
I suggest you read this article, and read it closely:
Soke: Historical Incarnations of a Title and its Entitlements
Particularly this part:...//... it is difficult to condone the use of obscure Japanese terminology to describe American social practices for which perfectly acceptable English words already exist. One must struggle to imagine how any non-Japanese could call himself a "soke" in English except as a joke. At the same time it is also difficult to regard this term with any special reverence or to become overly troubled by its misuse among self-proclaimed "grandmasters" and "founders."
Last edited by Rock Ape; 9/13/2010 3:39pm at ."To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
9/13/2010 3:50pm, #8
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
- West Virginia
Sokeshi, if you could provide the full names and contact information of any individual who has given you martial arts rank, it would help move the research further in the right direction.
9/13/2010 4:18pm, #9
In 1999 Alba was mudansha (kyu grade) in 2005 he was apparently awarded nidan
Who issued your shodan and when please or, did you jump from being a kyu grade straight to second dan ?
So far, Alba has only provided evidence of his nidan achieved over a period of 6 years worth of training from being a kyu graded student."To sin by silence when one should protest makes cowards out of men".
9/13/2010 4:28pm, #10
1.On your bio, you wrote:
"Shiba Sensei Requested that I traine under a good friend of his, whom lived in the building that my family and I had just moved to at the time. My Teachings with Shiba Sensei were now atleast three times a week. Training was always after school and on weekends but only after all my studies were done, wich they made sure of. Zusuki Sensei's home was more like a Shrine. Most of our day was spent in zeiza reading O'Sensei's book, that was written in Niponese, and was read from back to front. We would write Kanji after a normal four hour class, I soon became fluent in Japanese. Training seven days a week, I began a deeper understanding of true Essence of our Art"
So, you are fluent in Japanese? There were some issues with your Japanese by regular posters who speak Japanese, for example over your use of aikikatana and soke.
2. What did your teacher mean when they asked you to leave the combat world? Also, you claim to be undefeated. Were you ever in a position to be defeated? I mean, I'm undefeated at tiger wrestling, but I don't ever mention it.
3. Can you explain how you are "“well trained in the arts of shoalin kung fu. Tai chi, hapkido, muay thai and jujutsu”? I'm also in my 20s and have been training for years, but I'd say that I'm well versed in kung fu, well read in the others.
4. Isn't there some kind of a lower age limit to receiving a shodan in aikido? If so, how did you get your shodan at such a young age?
5. Please read the article Hugo posted (or at least the 2nd paragraph). Do you agree with what is written? Now, I'm no aikidoka, but if you do, wouldn't it seem odd for someone like you who has jumped from school to school to use a term that indicates loyalty to one group?