PDA

View Full Version : Foreigner training in Japan


Please visit our sponsor:
 

AikiWeb Sponsored Links - Place your Aikido link here for only $10!


Caio
08-13-2001, 10:26 PM
Can someone provide me some info about studying in Japan as an uchi-deshi?
I'm currently a 3rd kyu (almost 2nd :)) under Aikikai and I'm really thinking about staying in Japan for 1 year training and learning japanese.
Do I have to be Shodan to do this?
Wich Dojos should I look for?

Thanks,

stratcat
08-13-2001, 11:55 PM
If I'm not mistaken, over in www.aikido-journal.com, they have the requirements for admittance as an uchideshi at the Iwama-Ryu dojo, (y'know, where O'Sensei retired to during WWII)under Saito Shihan.

I congratulate you on your decision, and I hope you go through with it. We should all be so lucky! Obviously you might also want to check Aikikai Hombu Dojo, in Shirataki, I think. I don't think they have an Uchi Deshi Program... but you never know, they might. For you I think this would be the most logical choice, getting it from the horse's mouth, as it were.

Some food for thought, though(not to burst your bubble, but it bears considering): first of all, read the requirements CAREFULLY, and if you have any questions e-mail the coordinator. Second, if you can, get a copy of Saotome Sensei's thoughts on why modern times and its peoples, particularly westerners, are ill-suited for uchideshidom (wow! I made up a new word). Think carefully about your own situation, strenghths and faults- honestly, no wishful thinking- and then decide. Lastly, and without meaning to offend anyone (so please don't flame me!) but based on my own experiences, and those of people I find trustworthy, I can attest that the japanese are an often friendly but inscrutable people, and a hefty dose of patience is necessary to study there, particularly for westerners.

In the U.S. I know that Yellow Springs Aikido, in Colorado also has an Uchi Deshi Program. You could check them out too.

Good Luck, study hard, and come back to teach us.

Peter Goldsbury
08-14-2001, 05:30 AM
You should be aware that it is no longer possible to live in Japan and practise aikido as an uchi-deshi with the same intensity that the Founder expected of his own uchi-deshi (for example, Rinjiro Shirata, Gozo Shioda, and his soe Kisshomaru Ueshiba). Japan has changed and the Founder is no longer around.

That said, there are some dojos that allow students to live in or near the dojo and train more intensively than regular students.
The Aikikai Hombu Dojo, which is in Shinjuku, not Shirataki, does not do this, but I believe that the Iwama Dojo in Ibaraki, the Kumano Juku in Shingu, and the Kobayashi Dojo in Kodaira all have such schemes. Of course you would need to establish that you have the aptitude and dedication to make it worth accepting you.

Personally, I think it would take longer than a year to come to grip with aikido as it is practised in Japan, in all its aspects.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Goldsbury

PS. The information I have given is strictly Aikikai, but there is the Yoshinkan Senshusei scheme decribed vividly in Robert Twigger's Angry White Pajamas. It lasts a year and you start from scratch. Shodokan Aikido might also have such a scheme. As with the Aikikai, you will need to show that you have what it takes to do more than just survive.

Caio
08-14-2001, 06:43 AM
Thank you for the great info guys.
Peter, the style that I practice here in Brazil is Iwama Ryu.
My Sensei's name is Fernando Panhan (4th dan) and we all train under the supervision of Sensei Makoto Nishida Shihan.
For me to be accepted by the Iwama Dojo you said that I'll have to establish that I have the aptitude and dedication to make it worth accepting me.
I presume that my Sensei will be directly involved in this process then, am I right?
Will I need a referral letter from my Sensei or Nishida Sensei?

Thanks,

JJF
08-14-2001, 08:57 AM
You might want to take a look at this link:
http://www.aikiportal.dk/main/CONDITIONS_FOR_BECOMING.htm
and this:
http://www.aikiportal.dk/main/featured_article.htm
All in all the www.aikiportal.dk is not a bad place to look for info - especially if you are a student of Iwama-ryu such as you.

Hope it helps

Caio
08-14-2001, 09:20 AM
Originally posted by JJF
You might want to take a look at this link:
http://www.aikiportal.dk/main/CONDITIONS_FOR_BECOMING.htm
and this:
http://www.aikiportal.dk/main/featured_article.htm
All in all the www.aikiportal.dk is not a bad place to look for info - especially if you are a student of Iwama-ryu such as you.

Hope it helps

Thanks Jorgen,
very good info!

bones
08-14-2001, 09:45 AM
You might also want to look at aikido nippon kan in Denver, CO (www.nippon-kan.org). They have a live-in uchideshi program which Homma sensei runs in a very japanese way (he also calls nippon kan a 'cultural exchange center'). It is an independent dojo, but Homma sensei studied in Iwama late in O'Sensei's life, so I imagine it is 'Iwama style'. Saito sensei has done a few seminars there, too. It might be a good test / stepping stone to Iwama itself.

-efp

Kami
08-14-2001, 10:05 AM
Hello, Caio!

Makoto Nishida Shihan would be the one to introduce you to Saito Sensei. Without that, it will be very difficult for you to be accepted.
Another point : you should have a strong basis in japanese language and etiquette. A good information centre is at
http://www.ss.uno.edu/SS/AHist/Japan1.html
We have also many friends which are studying in Japan at our discussion List :
aikido in portuguese language -
www.yahoogroups.com/group/aikido-lingua_portuguesa
(Panhan Sensei is a member)
and I think you will get good information from them.
Good luck
Kami

Erik
08-14-2001, 01:52 PM
Some stories on training in Iwama.

http://pw2.netcom.com/~dmaizels/n_kiai.htm

PeterR
08-14-2001, 07:31 PM
Just a quick comment not to get so wrapped up in uchideshi programs.

Hundreds come to Japan and just start training. They make ends meet by tending bar or teaching languages. Some stay for a year, some forever.

Caio
08-15-2001, 08:53 AM
Ubaldo, I`ll be registering at your discussion list soon, thanks.
Erik, I couldn`t access the stories you`ve mentioned, but thanks anyway.
Peter, thanks for the tip, it`s something that I`ll also think about.

mariko nakamura
08-16-2001, 01:57 AM
I live in Toyama Japan and my sensai has trained in New York under Yamada san for about 10 years, so his english is very good. We also have another foreigner who is an uchi deshi. I think it would be pretty easy for you if you wanted to come to our dojo in Toyama and train for a couple of years. What do you think?????????

Caio
08-16-2001, 06:17 AM
Thanks for the invitation Mick, I've sent you an email via Aikiweb.

Steve Speicher
08-17-2001, 08:48 AM
Originally posted by stratcat
In the U.S. I know that Yellow Springs Aikido, in Colorado also has an Uchi Deshi Program. You could check them out too.


This is true, but Yellow Springs Aikido is in Ohio, not Colorado.

Just clarifying.

Erik
08-17-2001, 09:36 AM
Originally posted by Caio
Erik, I couldn`t access the stories you`ve mentioned, but thanks anyway.

Unless you are running a text based browser or something exotic you probably need to download Adobe Acrobat. They provide a link to Adobe for that purpose. Or, maybe your security settings are set to high and you can't download files.

WW-squared
09-27-2004, 11:29 PM
I live in Toyama Japan and my sensai has trained in New York under Yamada san for about 10 years, so his english is very good. We also have another foreigner who is an uchi deshi. I think it would be pretty easy for you if you wanted to come to our dojo in Toyama and train for a couple of years. What do you think?????????

Hi Mick. I live in Ishikawa-ken. I was just wondering what the training schedule was like in Toyama. Are you affiliated with Nishio sensei's aikido?
I was thinking of moving either to Tokyo, to the Aikikai Honbu, or Osaka next year to train, but I wouldn't mind your thoughts on your dojo.
Thanks.
Wil

maikerus
09-28-2004, 03:00 AM
PS. The information I have given is strictly Aikikai, but there is the Yoshinkan Senshusei scheme described vividly in Robert Twigger's Angry White Pajamas. It lasts a year and you start from scratch.

Just a quick note. The senshusei course described in Angry White Pajamas is "based on a true story". Take everything you read with a grain of salt and remember that it is written to sell.

It's a well written book, but the course is at the same time both more difficult and less difficult that it is portrayed. It's not something to enter into lightly.

cheers,

--Michael

Big Dave
10-04-2004, 11:52 AM
I would not enroll in any program in Japan without either the 1)recommendation of your sensei that the program is a good fit for you or 2) you having met and established a relationship with the sensei with whom you will be training. If you and the instructor there are not a good fit, 6,800 miles is a long way to go to find out. Last summer I did exactly that - at great expense and sacrifice for my family. I left after 36 hours. it cost me over two thousand dollars. Please be careful. Somebody had advised to me when I first posted about wanting to go to Japan that I should ask why I am going there when there are so many great instructors right here in the USA. I wish I had listened to that advice a little closer.

maikerus
10-04-2004, 06:51 PM
Somebody had advised to me when I first posted about wanting to go to Japan that I should ask why I am going there when there are so many great instructors right here in the USA. I wish I had listened to that advice a little closer.

That's a good point. It's a very long way to come. I've seen a lot of people come over here for vacation over the last 12 years and not all of them found what they were looking for.

I think the most successful people who came were those whose instructors spent time here and told them stories and gave them a better idea of what to expect and those who came over in quasi-organized groups so that they gained more from the experience than just the mat time.

--Michael

darin
10-05-2004, 02:24 PM
I didn't know that uchideshi programs still existed. If your really serious then go to Japan on a holiday and check it out to see what your getting yourself into. If you like it then get a working holiday or working visa with a teaching job and accommodation arranged. That way you can support yourself financially, meet new people and do aikido.

Ron Tisdale
10-05-2004, 02:32 PM
The only time I was there, my instructor arranged a fantastic ten day tour for us. No training, just travelling around site seeing and what not. Had a really great time! Hopefully, next trip will be for some training, but that's on hold for right now...

Ron