View Full Version : Uchi Deshi advice

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07-07-2005, 12:47 PM
Hello all,

I am new to Aikido, having started in March, and I was hoping that I could get some advice from those with more experience. One of the instructors recently mentioned at the end of class that the uchi deshi program at our dojo was open, if anyone was thinking of applying. The idea appealed to me both as a way to advance my aikido and get more involved in my dojo. However, as I mentioned I have just started (I'm going 3-4 times a week), and I would not qualify until I am a member of the dojo for six months. I haven't seen sensei since then to speak to him about it, but I am nervous that as a beginner, I will appear a bit cheeky for asking! Is it done for such a new student to become uchi deshi?

I think I understand the rigors involved in being a uchi deshi, and lived in a convent for about 8 months as a kid, so I have experience with the limiting-social-contact-and-being-away-for-all-of-your-belongings aspect of the experience. I am also fairly athletic and in good shape physically, so I think I could handle the intensive training involved.

I will be grateful for any advice!

07-07-2005, 12:55 PM
I have been doing aikido since i was 8 and i've actually never heard of uchi deshi , please explain to me what this is. thank u.


Ron Tisdale
07-07-2005, 12:57 PM
Look at the bottom of this page...there are several links to threads which discuss the meaning.


07-07-2005, 01:01 PM
Hi Paige,

Here's a link to my dojo's uchi deshi page, it includes a description: http://www.aikidoinstitute.org/uchideshi_program.htm

07-07-2005, 01:07 PM
Ok , thank u . This is weird i've never even heard anyone talk about this at my dojo.

07-07-2005, 07:36 PM

Just go for it. I'm given to understand from the words and examples of my teachers that part of progress in Aikido is "cheating". Chiba Sensei had no six-month lead-in period: he simply sat outisde for three days until they took him in, showed him to O-Sensei's office, and he walked out an uchideshi. The worst that can happen is that you will be told that you're not ready yet. If you want this, try to get it; don't fail to ask just because you think the answer might be "no".


It's not surprising that you've not heard of it. Very few dojos have uchideshi/kenshusei programmes. They tend to be regional headquarters with shihans in residence, or self-sustaining self-contained communities like the dozen or so farm-dojos affiliated to USAF-WR across Mexico, the US and Canada.

Michael Hackett
07-07-2005, 08:52 PM
Patrick Auge Sensei had a great article on being an uchideshi at Aikido Journal. It was really aimed at those planning to study in Japan, but a great deal of the information would apply to a program in Oakland as well. Auge Sensei's article might answer any number of your questions. Good luck!

Dirk Hanss
07-08-2005, 02:24 PM
Patrick Auge Sensei had a great article on being an uchideshi at Aikido Journal.

O that is great.
I heard about uchideshi at Honbu Dojo. And obviously you can have some at other dojos. So these are deshi, i.e. aikido students living in the dojo, helping, sensei, serving sensei, cleaningt and doing lots of those things, but also get very good practise in aikido.

I have not followed the advised links, so I just hope that is somehow right.

But what to hell is a uchideshi at Aikido Journal? Someone who lives in the editor's office, makes coffee, cleans the offices, goes shopping for the editor, but also learns a lot about writing about aikido?

Sounds weird :D :D


Michael Hackett
07-08-2005, 06:27 PM
Darn! I was an English major too. Auge Sensei published his article at Aikido Journal and as far as I know didn't serve as ushideshi to the publication. Of course you knew that, didn't you?

07-08-2005, 09:31 PM
Gaku Homma has a wonderful book, AIKIDO SKETCH DIARY: DOJO 365 DAYS, about a year at the Nippon Kan dojo. About 1/4 of the book is directly about uchideshi training. The book is entertaining and informative rather than "heavy." A new friend gave it to me a few months after I started practicing Aikido, and I've enjoyed it ever since. It makes me think that if I'd discovered Aikido while in college (so close! I now know that the Aikido Club there started a few years before I arrived, but I never discovered it) instead of after I was married with kids, I'd have taken the uchideshi path.

07-09-2005, 09:38 AM
I was an Uchi Deshi for two years in Taipei (http://www.heaven-earth.com/uchideshi.htm). It was pretty tough. Chili winters, hot summers, and a long of training hours in the early morning. After which I had a full time job teaching English. (That was the great part, I ended up saving a bunch of money)
Being an Uchi Deshi is kind of like going off to college full time and majoring in Aikido Studies. It is a very serious way to get into the study of the Aikido culture. In my case a chance to study Aikido, Chinese language (Taiwan's Aikido naturally is done in Chinese, which means Chinese classes come with the territory), farming, how sweeping a drive way can improve your jo(the drive way was huge), Zen meditation (Ch'an in Chinese), how to walk up a mountain stream in the middle of a typhoon in so the dojo will have water in the morning, scuba diving(helps teach relaxed controled breathing under stress), etc...
It will be hardwork, fun, and hopefully life changing as it was for me.

:ai: :ki: :do:
Ryan Bertram

Dirk Hanss
07-09-2005, 05:57 PM
Of course you knew that, didn't you?

Well, I have to admit, I understood. I just couldn't resist. ;)



Michael Hackett
07-09-2005, 10:20 PM
I understand Dirk; there are some things that a guy just has to do, and that would have been one of them. I wouldn't have passed it up either.

Back to dishwashing waza now.