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PeterR
05-11-2005, 02:09 AM
There seems to be an explosion of programs calling themselves uchideshi with varying requirements. I suppose the minimal is live in student but for some deshi has much stronger connotation than mere student.

Just to satisfy my curiosity - as opposed to putting any person/program down - what does uchideshi mean to you?

PeterR
05-11-2005, 02:19 AM
Deshi to me means apprentice to a Shihan not just student. My Shihan will usually have one full time deshi who teaches classes, cleans the toilets, does the paper work and basically acts as servant. For this he gets a very small salary and special lessons. Deshi usually have at least sandan rank and show a lot of promise, the period usually lasts for three years, a minimum of two.

Soto-deshi are the above that live outside the dojo.

Uchi-deshi live at the dojo or in the home of the master.

As such we don't have uchideshi at Shodokan Honbu.

Peter G. once pointed (somewhere on Aikiweb) out that Ueshiba K. stated that Ueshiba M. had no post-war uchideshi. I can't help but feel the term is used a little loosely by some but again this thread is more to try to find out how broad the definition is interpreted.

Charles Hill
05-11-2005, 03:02 AM
I think that there is some confusion in the non-Japanese speaking world about the meanings of "uchi" and "soto." If we look in the dictionary we see that they correspond to "inside" and "outside." However, it is important to realize that they have deep psychological meaning to Japanese people who judge everything in terms of inside/outside. I am sure that there are good books that explain it but I can`t remember any right now.

To answer Peter`s question, I believe that from an instructor`s viewpoint, it refers to how much responsibility a person takes for the development of the student. Uchideshi means that the teacher is taking total responsibility for the total development of the student. That is why there were (supposedly) no post-war Ueshiba M. uchideshi. I think.:)

Charles

maikerus
05-11-2005, 03:39 AM
My feeling is pretty close to Peter's I think. Living in the dojo...there all the time. Responsible for its cleaning and upkeep. Responsible for the day to day caring of the head of the dojo or style as case may be.

I remember that one uchideshi I knew had to get special permission to leave the dojo at 5am to do a paper route. I also know that they had to get specific permission to leave the dojo for any reason. I've also heard a few other stories like this.

My impression is that uchideshi programs that are springing up are not like the one I know of at the Yoshinkan hombu. One clue is that they seem to be paying to participate in the program instead of getting a small salary and room and board.

My few yen,

--Michael

rob_liberti
05-11-2005, 07:58 AM
Uchideshi means that the teacher is taking total responsibility for the total development of the student. That is why there were (supposedly) no post-war Ueshiba M. uchideshi. I can't agree with that definition because Suganuma sensei was uchideshi when O-sensei died. (I believe he said that he was provided a 2 tatami room to sleep in.) What would you call his role if not uchideshi?

Rob

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2005, 09:17 AM
The question is not whether or not he is an uchideshi...the question is whether or not he was an uchideshi of *the Founder*. He may have been a 'live in student' at the hombu dojo, but that would not necessarily tie him to the founder, since the founder spent relatively small amounts of time at the hombu post war.

RT

gabe
05-11-2005, 10:00 AM
Well, since my introduction sort of got this thread going, I guess I will chime it. At my dojo, and uchideshi:

1. lives at the dojo
2. is responsible for the day to day goings on @the dojo
3. trains daily

those are the baseline qualifications, at least. So, perhaps not a *traditional* uchideshi program, but that's what we call it.

In any case, it is a great experience, and lots of fun.

rob_liberti
05-11-2005, 10:46 AM
The question is not whether or not he is an uchideshi...the question is whether or not he was an uchideshi of *the Founder*. He may have been a 'live in student' at the hombu dojo, but that would not necessarily tie him to the founder, since the founder spent relatively small amounts of time at the hombu post war.

RTI understand that Ron. But since he will tell you he was the Founder's uchideshi, who are any of us to argue with that? Now, if some former uchideshi said to him "You were not really an uchideshi of the founder, I massaged his shoulders 6 hours a day, blah blah blah and you only saw him once ina blue moon" or whatever, then that'd be different. I have no idea how much he saw O-sensei. But, he was one of the people who carried O-sensei's casket, so I'm sure they met...

Rob

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2005, 10:51 AM
Hi Rob,

Peter G. once pointed (somewhere on Aikiweb) out that Ueshiba K. stated that Ueshiba M. had no post-war uchideshi.

Please note that it was the founder's son who made the statement...not one of us... :)

RT

ChrisHein
05-11-2005, 11:49 AM
To me Uchi deshi is the live in student of a full time Aikido (any martial art really) teacher. He doesn't get paid at all, in fact he pays, and pays a decently large sum. He is indeed a slave, usually doing things like cleaning up after sensei's dog, running off the mat every time the phone rings or someone walks in the door wondering what is going on. Usually has sensei on his back about keeping up his training, and leading the dojo by example. Usually teaches class's if shodan or above. In my dojo there was also a huge responsibility for the Uchi deshi to develop themselves on a personal level also. Meaning there was much time spent asking questions about why I did the things I do. Who am I and why am I here. What are my goals in life, and why. If I didn't do something or forgot, I was often asked at great lengths, why, usually the surface answer wasn't what sensei was looking for. Also uchideshi must train full time, not missing any class's, and be open to help soto deshi who want some extra mat time. Living in the dojo or at sensei's house (most do both on and off).

Thats what uchi deshi was like for me.

-Chris Hein

bkedelen
05-11-2005, 12:02 PM
I think it is perfectly reasonable for uchideshi to live in the dojo, help manage and operate the dojo, assist sensei when he travels, and even care for sensei if he is ill or elderly. There is one Aikido teacher (name excluded) who has in the past used his uchideshi programs to get employees to run his restaurant and clean his rental properties. I do not think that being an uchideshi is the same as being a slave.

rob_liberti
05-11-2005, 01:04 PM
Hi Rob,
Please note that it was the founder's son who made the statement...not one of us... :)I won't try to argue with that. Thanks for not going in for the kill!

(Although I suspect that he was probably just jealous!)

Putting up a wiki about what is the normal expectation for an uchideshi would be a good thing to start trying to help put an end to people abusing the system.

Rob

akiy
05-11-2005, 01:18 PM
Putting up a wiki about what is the normal expectation for an uchideshi would be a good thing to start trying to help put an end to people abusing the system.
I've added a bit to the current "uchideshi" entry in the AikiWiki:

http://www.aikiweb.com/wiki/uchideshi

I hope people will be encouraged to add their own thoughts and experiences!

-- Jun

Ron Tisdale
05-11-2005, 01:27 PM
Kill? We don't kill :) We're peacefull aikidoka!

Best,
Ron

PeterR
05-11-2005, 07:39 PM
I won't try to argue with that. Thanks for not going in for the kill!

(Although I suspect that he was probably just jealous!)

Putting up a wiki about what is the normal expectation for an uchideshi would be a good thing to start trying to help put an end to people abusing the system.

Rob
Not so sure about the jealous - he was in fact the instructor of many of the Honbu students and the Honbu uchideshi reported to him. Some of these students have modified their claims to uchideshi status subsequently - I hear it can get quite heated vis a vis who was and who was not.

Chris - again it is nothing against the program you signed up for but it is just different from what I know the deshi program to be. That said Iwama had a program where you pay, what is the minimum grade required for that. Anyone?

maikerus
05-11-2005, 08:40 PM
That said Iwama had a program where you pay, what is the minimum grade required for that. Anyone?

Not related to Iwama, but the Yoshinkan Senshusei Program is paid for by students. I believe that all Yoshinkan hombu uchideshi have to complete the senshusei course before they are recognized as uchideshi. I don't know whether they paid for the course when their goal was to be uchideshi or not.

Just a point. I am in no way implying that the senshusei program is an uchideshi program. It is, however, I believe, a prerequisite for becoming a Yoshinkan Hombu uchideshi.

A few more yen,

--Michael

PeterR
05-11-2005, 09:59 PM
Kill? We don't kill :) We're peacefull aikidoka!
This is true - but we occasionally mangle and maim.

maikerus
05-11-2005, 10:41 PM
This is a Yoshinkan uchideshi story I heard when I was talking to an ex-uchideshi who was remembering Gozo Shioda Sensei (Yoshinkan founder for those who don't know the name):

Japan has the most national holiday's of any country in the world. There are even two 1 week (basically) holidays during the year. During one of these one week holidays while the dojo was closed there were two uchideshi who didn't have any place to go, anything to do, were broke and who were a little stressed out from their day-to-day life.

I was told that Shioda Sensei gave them some money and some bicycles and told them to take a cycling trip for the week and to enjoy themselves.

This is just an example of the way I would expect the reciprocal arrangement in an uchideshi (and also sempai/kohai) relationship to work. It isn't slavery but a unique form of trust.

Anyway...I hope I remembered the story correctly. I bump into one of the ex-uchideshi (who told me this story) from time to time so I'll try to remember to ask him next time I see him.

cheers,

--Michael

Nick Simpson
05-12-2005, 06:33 AM
Nice story :)

rob_liberti
05-12-2005, 07:32 AM
Not so sure about the jealous - he was in fact the instructor of many of the Honbu students and the Honbu uchideshi reported to him. Some of these students have modified their claims to uchideshi status subsequently - I hear it can get quite heated vis a vis who was and who was not.

Chris - again it is nothing against the program you signed up for but it is just different from what I know the deshi program to be. That said Iwama had a program where you pay, what is the minimum grade required for that. Anyone?

Well, I certainly agree that he didn't have too much to be jealous of at that time these young men were uchideshi (considering that dating is most surely out!). On the other hand, it couldn't be easy living in the shadow of your dad. It can't be easy getting better when no one wants to be the guy that jammed you. And it can't be easy never really getting to explore your own aikido when you job is to preserve someone else's. I'd say it is/was a terrible job, and I wouldn't want it for all the rank in the world...

It seems like a weird thing for a statesman to do, picking on many shihans's uchideshi status. I'm rather suprised he would make such a statement in the first place. But, I'm not an expert in all things Japanese!

Rob

Peter Goldsbury
05-12-2005, 10:08 AM
Peter G. once pointed (somewhere on Aikiweb) out that Ueshiba K. stated that Ueshiba M. had no post-war uchideshi. I can't help but feel the term is used a little loosely by some but again this thread is more to try to find out how broad the definition is interpreted.

Actually, the statement was my first ever post on the Aikido Journal forum, though I have repeated it here as well.

When I came to Japan in 1980 and began to train in Hiroshima, my teacher knew that I had studied under several Japanese shihan living abroad. My teacher had also trained regularly and often at the Hombu (but was never, and never claimed to be, an uchideshi). However, he was aggrieved that some shihans abroad sought special status because they claimed to be uchideshi of the Founder, when actually they were simply bag-carriers. He complained that accompanying O Sensei on a trip, carrying his bags and taking ukemi did not mean that they were uchideshi. In any case, if they were uchideshi at all, they were uchideshi of Kisshomaru, not of the Founder himself.

I often had occasion to meet Kisshomaru Doshu and one occasion (I think it was in 1986) I was sitting next to him at lunch. I could speak Japanese by this time and Doshu was pleased about this. So we talked for some 30 minutes about the early history of aikido and I asked him about uchideshi. Doshu's answer was very clear and uncompromising: O Sensei had no uchideshi after the war and he himself had no uchideshi at all. He explained that the situation of the special students in the Hombu after the war was different from that of the prewar students at the Kobukan. He himself had a ring-side view, of course, having been born at Ayabe in 1920 and having grown up 'above the shop', so to speak.

What was the difference? Almost certainly the closeness and intensity of the relationship between individuals. I talked to one shihan about this (the late Sadateru Arikawa) and he considered that Doshu was strictly correct, but added that there was one postwar disciple who was an uchideshi in all but name. (This was Nobuyoshi Tamura.) He did not consider hinself an uchideshi of the Founder though he joined the Hombu in 1950 and lived at the Hombu Dojo.

For what it's worth,

grondahl
05-12-2005, 10:18 AM
What about Morihiro Saito Sensei then? As I have understood it he would work long shifts at the railway company and therefore could not live full time at the dojo, but it seems like he and his family had a quite close relationship with O´sensei and his wife? Was given a piece of land on the Ueshiba property in Iwama etc..

Peter Goldsbury
05-12-2005, 10:30 AM
What about Morihiro Saito Sensei then? As I have understood it he would work long shifts at the railway company and therefore could not live full time at the dojo, but it seems like he and his family had a quite close relationship with O´sensei and his wife? Was given a piece of land on the Ueshiba property in Iwama etc..

I think with Saito Sensei, the issue hangs simply on precise terminology, nothing else. He had a very close relationship with the Founder, even though he did not live under the same roof. I think that Kisshomaru Doshu was comparing the prewar Kobukan as it was under the Founder with the postwar Kobukan (i.e., the Hombu Dojo) under himself. I am not sure that even Iwama immediately postwar was economically able to support uchideshi.

Ron Tisdale
05-12-2005, 10:42 AM
Hi Peter, thanks for the addional information. I've read that Shioda Sensei lived at Iwama (perhaps with his own family) for some period of time shortly after the war, but before the Yoshinkan was founded. Do you have any information about that?

Thanks,
Ron

Peter Goldsbury
05-12-2005, 07:02 PM
Hi Peter, thanks for the addional information. I've read that Shioda Sensei lived at Iwama (perhaps with his own family) for some period of time shortly after the war, but before the Yoshinkan was founded. Do you have any information about that?

Thanks,
Ron

Hello Ron,

Well, there is a section towards the end of "Aikido Shugyou" where Shioda Sensei recalls taking his examination for 9th dan at Iwama. It is on pp. 207 -210 of the Japanese text. It is clearly stated that he lived in Iwama with his family and that after he took his examiination (the 9th dan being the the last diploma he ever received from O Sensei), he left Iwama, became an aikido teacher and established the Yoshinkan.

Best regards,

Charles Hill
05-12-2005, 07:46 PM
I just attended a special training camp in Iwama celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Iwama dojo. It was led by the Doshu. There I learned some interesting things through what the Doshu said and by what was said by some of the old-timers at the party after. (note to self: high volume flow of alcohol = high volume flow of info.)

1. The Founder lived in Iwama not Tokyo. This was directly from the Doshu.

2. Moriteru Ueshiba had only trained at the Iwama dojo one time before this seminar, when he was a child.

3. Early post-war training at Iwama was attended by Shioda Sensei, Abe Sensei, and occasionally Tohei Sensei.

4. The Shihan who teach there now are trying to continue Saito Sensei`s teachings AND are completely loyal to Aikikai/Doshu. Isoyama Shihan, in particular, commented strongly that we must consider the Doshu to be the center of Aikido. (note to self: how does this fit in with the idea of tatemae and honne?)

5. The Founder taught special seminars to the local people on farming techniques, especially on the correct way of producing fertilizer. (OK, but it is interesting to me!)

As for the post-war Shihan who call themselves former uchideshi of the Founder, they all lived in Tokyo so how could they have been uchideshi? I don`t think they are lying, so maybe it is due to the fact that the second Doshu is considered to have been an extension of the Founder. Also, it is undeniable that these men dedicated their lives to Aikido, which they equate with the Founder.

Peter R.`s original question was what is our understanding of the word uchideshi. Considering my modicum of knowledge of Aikido history and Japanese culture in general, I`m gonna stick with the "total responsibility" idea.

Charles

jimbaker
05-13-2005, 09:09 AM
Peter, this is a little off topic but I was wondering if there is a record of what constituted an examination for 9th dan? I'm just planning ahead.

Jim Baker
Aikido of Norfolk

Ron Tisdale
05-13-2005, 09:23 AM
In Aikido Shugyo Shioda Kancho describes the test. The first part was sword, which didn't go too well...the second tachi waza, which went much better. Makes an interesting read. It did not bear much resemblence to what I know as examinations today.

Best,
Ron ( not Peter, but what the hay)

Chuck Clark
05-13-2005, 09:40 AM
Hi Jim, (I'm also not Peter G. and I certainly wasn't there... but)

I'll bet that the "test" consisted of whatever Ueshiba Sensei thought it should be. The fact that Shioda thought he didn't do well shows me that it was a true test.