Allie Alberigo began his martial arts journey in 1968 in the styles of Judo and Karate under one of the first multi-school martial arts studios - Jerome Mackey. At the age of seven, he attained a junior black belt, but then the school abruptly closed. Fortunately, during this time, period he also trained periodically with his cousin in the art of Aikido. His cousin, a prominent martial artist himself, guided Allie to the rank of shodan, earning him his second black belt in the style of Aikido. During high school, Allie met another teacher, and trained in the art of Shotokan Karate, in which he attained the rank of Brown Belt. But, he became disheartened with the training due to a lack of discipline within the class, and decided to leave the school.
Throughout his years training, he was an avid reader of Black Belt Magazine and Inside Kung Fu. By chance, he was very lucky to encounter one of the people featured in these magazines - his next teacher - Tuhon Christopher Sayoc. Tuhon Sayoc is the founder of the Sayoc Fighting System of Kali/Arnis. Allie soon became a direct student of Tuhon, and ended up training for many years. Eventually he was handed the keys to the school, and was told it was his reward for his many years of dedicated training.
After two years of teaching, owning and running the school, while also going to high school and pursuing a career in the music industry, he decided he wanted to go back to being a martial arts student, and closed the studio.
His thirst for martial arts knowledge didn’t stop there. He continued going to martial arts tournaments as both a competitor and an observer. It was at a tournament that he became entranced by one individual who seemed to perform the martial arts exactly as Allie imagined they should be. His name was Shihan Felix Vazquez. Destiny played its part. Allie was driving his truck during work, and noticed a new martial arts school in Deer Park NY, with a "Grand Opening" sign in the front window. He stopped in and met his soon-to-be good friend, Shihan Robert Hernandez. The meeting seemed predestined. Robert Hernandez, it turned out, was Shihan Vazquez’s top student. Allie began training, but shortly after he started, Shihan Robert closed the school due to the demands of his job, family, and particularly the lengthy commute back and forth from Queens five times a week. Allie was encouraged by Shihan Hernandez to continue training, and was personally invited to travel to Ridgewood, Queens to train directly under Robert's teacher, Shihan Vasquez, at the headquarters of the Circle of One system. Allie, was among a select few to attain the highest ranking ever bestowed by Shihan Vazquez at that time - 4th degree Black Belt - and the title of Renshi, Master Instructor. To this day, there are only a handful of Circle of One students who have achieved this rank.
During his training with Shihan Vazquez (now known as Soke Vazquez,) Allie traveled the world, competing on Shihan’s International Ninjutsu Demo team. He was also a competitor in the tournament circuit for many years, with many Grand Championship titles, and hundreds of first place wins in self defense, weapons and fighting.
Sometime around 1990, Shihan Vazquez and a few of his top students were invited to a seminar which would become a defining moment for Allie. This was where he got to meet the Japanese Grandmaster, Shoto Tanemura of the Genbukan Ninpo Bugei. Allie was amazed by the Grandmaster’s technique, and felt it would be a great opportunity to create a bridge between Japanese and American Ninjutsu. He requested permission from Shihan Vazquez, and started traveling to Japan.
Some years later, Shihan Vazquez was forced to close his school and take a hiatus from the martial arts. In the years between 1994 and 2005, Allie traveled to Japan seventeen times, staying anywhere from twelve to thirty days at a time. He trained with Grandmaster Tanemura personally, also traveling to various tai kai’s (world gatherings) in locales including Japan, England, Italy, Milwaukee, New York and Maine. Allie, along with Soke John Olshlager of the Nokado Schools of Self Defense, hosted a number of Tai Kai in Long Island for Tanemura Soke. Allie eventually became the fifth highest ranking student in the Genbukan in the United States, achieving the title of Renshi. He was also the head of the Genbukan in N.Y. and his school was considered a Dai Dojo Cho – the largest school in the Genbukan organization at that time.
In the Genbukan, the title of Renshi is achieved through a special ceremony bestowed only on direct students of Tanemura Soke, who states “this is for people whom he can trust, people with a pure heart.” Many times, Tanemura Soke told Allie how he was "like a son" to him, with knowledge and spirituality "far beyond his years." Allie was tested for Renshi in Colorado, in front of two hundred and fifty students. He has told this story to many of his students. He sat in seiza (a kneeling, seated position) with Tanemura Soke standing in front of him with a bokken (wooden sword.) With no advance warning, Soke Tanemura struck downward with lighting fast speed at the top of Allie’s head.
“I thought everything was odd. I sat in front of Soke and my heart was beating unusually fast. I slowly controlled my breathing, and eventually could feel Soke’s heartbeat. We were in sync, and then he cut. It felt as if everything was in slow motion. I then rolled. He smiled, and I passed the test. Later on, I asked Soke if he felt the same connection? He smiled and said, "yes, we are connected, spiritually.”
Allie described the connection with Soke during the test as feeling as though nothing existed outside of that moment. Later on, still not believing he had experienced Mushin (no mind,) Allie asked his top student, Renshi Frank Olmeda, if the cut was in slow motion. Frank replied, “it was lightning fast, I didn’t even see it.”
There are many rumors within the internet community, and discussion from various Genbukan members, as to why Allie Alberigo is no longer affiliated with his Japanese teacher. The honest and simple truth is that in 2007, Allie decided to take a different path, and concentrate solely on his students, and the growth of L.I. Ninjutsu Centers.
There are many Kans (family lines) of Japanese martial arts - Genbukan, Jeninkan, Bujinkan, etc., and even more opinions about who is "legitimate", and which school is "true" or "real." Mostly they come from people who’ve never actually met, trained or even associated with the people about whom they comment. Shihan Allie decided to separate himself from the all rumors, politics & rhetoric, stand on his own, and simply share his four plus decades of martial arts knowledge with those who wish to learn.
Shihan Allie’s goal is to have the largest individual Ninjutsu School on the planet. His goal is to continue to teach and spread the virtues of the martial arts and spiritual training. He sums it up like this,
“After all these years, I wanted to stand on my own two feet and create a legacy, just like the masters of the past. As most martial arts teachers who have started their own systems know, there are always individuals who will try to discredit anyone who breaks with tradition to progress independently. I wanted to take my four plus decades of training and experience, and put together a system of Ninjutsu/Ninpo and Ju Jutsu that I felt was applicable to the 21st Century. I don’t just teach martial arts, but skills for life. My approach at L.I. Ninjutsu Centers is a combination of old virtues with new technology.
I believe the success of my students is indisputable. Most of my black belts train for seven to ten years before embarking on college, careers, families, etc., though some have been with me for as long as 18 years. I have hundreds of black belts who have gone on to impressive careers, becoming police officers, sheriffs, secret service agents, C.I.A. agents, F.B.I. agents, doctors, lawyers, heads of corporations, and so on. They inevitably point to their time in my school as having made the biggest difference in their lives. In fact, it's not at all unusual for former child students to come back years later and enroll their own children! If even some of my teachings have helped my students achieve their goals in life, then I am honored, and have done my job."
I invite you come to my school and experience what we have developed over the last twenty-five years (and counting) - our curriculum, atmosphere, brotherhood, family and integrity, and decide for yourself. If it is not right for you, then you can move on. If it is, then welcome to our family, and we hope to see you training here for the rest of your life!Allie Alberigo - 7th Dan