View Full Version : Senshusei course

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02-07-2008, 05:48 AM
I was just wondering if anybody in the forum has done the yoshinkan senshusei 11 month 'boot camp' and what it was like.
and if any prior aikido knowledge is required?

Finally, would you recommend it?


02-07-2008, 06:12 AM
Well, i like that course too! It's big suffer but it offers black belt for graduation

Joseph Madden
02-07-2008, 06:18 AM
Michael "Spike" Kimeda, my sensei's son, is on this website as a member and went through the course about a decade ago. Send him an email or pick up a copy of Robert Twigger's "Angry White Pajamas".:cool:


02-07-2008, 06:20 AM
Michael "Spike" Kimeda, my sensei's son, is on this website as a member and went through the course about a decade ago. Send him an email or pick up a copy of Robert Twigger's "Angry White Pajamas".:cool:


Is Kimeda Takeshi Sensei of AYC your sensei?

Joseph Madden
02-07-2008, 06:37 AM
He sure is Anthony.


He teaches me Jodo as well.

02-07-2008, 07:33 AM
Michael Steumpel also did the course. Those of you who have read Angry White Pyjamas may recollect the character called "Stumpy".................

02-07-2008, 08:10 AM
Michael "Spike" Kimeda, my sensei's son, is on this website as a member and went through the course about a decade ago. Send him an email or pick up a copy of Robert Twigger's "Angry White Pajamas".:cool:


Well that is a claim to fame, aikido fame of course.

i got that bok for christmas, it is immense.

Thanks Guys jamie

02-07-2008, 08:35 AM
black belt for graduation

In the angry white pyjamas book it also mentions getting a riot police something (a chance to join the riot police, i think) is there any truth in this?

02-07-2008, 03:20 PM
I did the course with Stumpy, who also trolls around here. We did the 3rd course, I think the 18th course starts in April.

It is better if you have aikido experience - specifically Yoshinkan Aikido experience. It's kind of silly to attempt it without at least a year under your belt - how would you even know if you liked doing aikido. I really don't recommend doing the course just because you liked the book. This is not a course for book worms who like reading about the budo life. Get thee to a dojo.

The course is long, hard, and only fun in retrospect. You do some training with the Riot Police who do a similar course, but not that much. Frankly, the foreigners are tougher than the cops.


02-07-2008, 04:14 PM
hey spike, i would still like to do the course, however i don't have any yoshinkan experience but 7 yrs in aikikai. i dont plan to do it for another couple of years though. would you recommend trying to get some yoshinkan experience in this time?



02-19-2008, 09:24 AM
Couple of things to point out.

First is money. You will need some! This is not an expensive course but living in japan for a year is very expensive. You will probably need to get a job while out there.

I have trained with two senshusei students one regularly and one ever now and then. Something both of them said was it was the worst and best thing they have ever done.
One of them (who i hope wont mind me telling this story) once told me how when he got near the dojo he used to throw up in his mouth. This was the bodies reaction to being near the dojo he had no control over it.
From what they say this course pushes you further than you thought physically possible, and this goes on for a whole year.

Alexandre Dufresne-B.
02-20-2008, 01:37 PM
Hey there I was wondering what was the best quality/price means of transportation in tokyo, since I wanted to take this course for years. Also, I was wondering what was the best part-time job you could get in Tokyo too. Finally, I've done some research (obviously I can't mention everything in this post, I'm just collecting ever more info), and I find the way visas work to be very confusing. What kind of degree do you need for a working visa? How much time does it take to get another visa (in case i need to renew)? Most people go over there and teach english lessons, but i do know that the chances that I be dispatched in a big city as Tokyo are pretty slim.

Looking forward to replies!

Alexandre Dufresne-B.
02-20-2008, 01:40 PM
Oh, and I found some websites and guides such as
These helped me out for most of the aspects, but I still find it hard to find a cheap way to live in the world's most expensive city to live in. Should I buy daily tickets or buy a pass? This is all really confusing...

02-20-2008, 03:03 PM
would you recommend trying to get some yoshinkan experience in this time?


Yes. no question.

You need to try aikido in a Yoshinkan before you spend 5,000 quid to uproot your life and travel half way around the world, live in a small crappy apartment, and work in a mind numbing job teaching english just so you can train in it for a year.

Are you in the UK? There are more than a few Yoshinkan dojo's in the UK. Especially if you are in London. Paul Stevens and Eva Stauffer are among the many. Both did the course, Paul was an instructor for mine.

You might ask why you really need to try some Yoshinkan - 2 examples. In my course we had a guy sign up who had done some sort of Ki-Aikido for many years, but he pretty much hated every minute of the course and quit after about 5 days. He didn't like the fact that some of the people in the dojo: smoked, drank softdrinks, swore. He liked the idea of the course, but didn't know what he was getting into.

Second example: a woman from Japan visited my dojo a couple of weeks ago. She had done aikikai for a few years in an Osaka dojo. After watching us for an hour her comment was "We try to be more harmonious in my dojo " which was a nice way of saying "you are brutes"


Ron Tisdale
02-20-2008, 03:10 PM
hehehe :D

People in some places think *I* of all people am somewhat tough...I'm actually a total pussycat! :eek:

Go figure!


Carl Thompson
02-20-2008, 11:53 PM
For Jamie, Alexandre and anyone else who's interested

There's some useful info on the Yoshinkan Hombu website (http://www.yoshinkan.net/contentsE/honbuE.html).

It looks to me like you won't be able to get a full time job (i.e.: on a Working Visa) while doing the Senshusei course because you're effectively putting in uchi deshi (live in student) hours (at least three practices a day and plenty of cleaning). The site recommends either the Working Holiday visa or the regular holiday visa. The former at least enables you to work a little when you can, while the latter means you'd have to bring plenty of money over and get sponsored by the dojo for a cultural visa later when the holiday period (90 days) runs out (that's if they think you're worth sponsoring).

British Passport holders (http://www.uk.emb-japan.go.jp/en/visa/work_hol.html)have the good luck of being able to renew the holiday visa within Japan (i.e.: you don't have to pop out to Korea or somewhere for a long weekend to get another 90 day visa). However, only Brits up to 25 years old can usually get the Working Holiday Visa (other countries can get it up to 30). Not all nationalities have it this lucky. For example, I'm currently in the process of mailing original documents proving my work status, wages and personal guarantee so that a Malaysian friend can visit me for just one week.

Tokyo is one of the world's big expensive cities, but Japan generally isn't as expensive as it used to be. "Expensive" is relative anyway, but I'd say from a British point of view that pounds go pretty far and London probably beats Tokyo for wallet-evisceration these days. Accommodation would maybe be the biggest killer, but if you're willing to share you could probably club together with a few folk and cut costs that way. If you take a train or bus regularly on a particular route, you can also ask about getting a teikiken (commuter pass) which might get you a small discount. If you're not too far away, cycling could be an option. For cheap travel around Tokyo and Japan generally, I'd recommend a look at the JR website (http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/index.html).

I hope this helps people. :)


PS: I initially liked Angry White Pyjamas, then after I actually came here for the first time, I felt Twigger's tone towards the culture and Aikido training was a bit off. Mike Kimeda's comments and others (http://www.aikiweb.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=129&cat=all) also shed a little light in the book review section of Aikiweb. I'd say take AWP with a pinch of salt.

02-21-2008, 06:24 AM
I thought that AWP said as much about the author as it did about the subject -- and I'm sure that Twigger would agree. He sees both Japanese culture and aikido through filters that he's sometimes conscious of, other times not so conscious of. At times he reminds me a bit of an Australian acquaintance I know who came to the US to work for a season as a ski instructor, and who thereafter made a lot of pronouncements about life in the US based on a half-year in one resort area. I think AWP will disappoint many aikido enthusiasts because Twigger never seems to have that transcendent moment, the breakthrough, the acceptance; he never seems to fully make his peace with what he's doing and to get to where he accepts that the cost he's paying is worth the benefit he's getting. In fact, I'd say he never seems to get any sense of real benefit out of his training, or at least he never articulates it. I do like the book, though, because while I think in some ways his experience was a real swing-and-a-miss (assuming it's faithfully recounted), I like the warts-and-all portrayal. Aikido probably suffers more from over-romanticism than it does from excessive pragmatism.

02-23-2008, 02:12 PM
Are you in the UK?
yeh im in the UK, there is a full time yoshinkan dojo in preston, when i get my driving licence i will be able to get there a lot easier as it takes about an hour in a car anyway.

Thanks spike.