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iHeretic
10-25-2005, 05:05 AM
Since starting Aikido a few months ago I have noticed a growing immersion of myself in the art and its attendant thoughts. Along with that has come a pondering of the Uchi-Deshi 'system' that I've seen mentioned around. Can anyone tell me about this? I'm particularly interested in what's involved with being Uchi-Deshi in a modern dojo and what would be expected, both from the student and the teacher.

I've been growing increasingly restless in modern life and really want to just... get away and do something else. A career break I think they call it. Not yet, certainly (I'm far too new to Aikido at the moment), but as something to consider for the future. In the meantime I am very curious. Has anyone here done it? Are there any sites out there with information? What dojos take on Uchi-Deshi?

Thanks for your help!

Ben

batemanb
10-25-2005, 05:32 AM
Hi Ben,

There are a number of uchi deshi programs out there, although I'm not aware of any in th eUK specifically (that's not to say they don't exist). If you use the search function on this site and search "uchi deshi", you will find a number of old threads with information on Iwama and Nippon Kan to name two.

rgds

Bryan

ad_adrian
10-25-2005, 05:49 AM
explain what uchi deshi is

ian
10-25-2005, 08:32 AM
If you want a career break now you may as well take one now! If you leave this 'till later you may never have the opportunity (due to other commitments) again. Although to get the most out of it, it's probably useful to know specifically who you want to train with. However, the Yoshinkan dojo in Japan seem to run year long courses (full-time) even for beginners (vis. Twiggy in Angry White Pyjamas). Many places need a letter of introduction from someone high-up. I would say, if you want a career break; going to Japan and doing aikido for a year would be fantastic. Not sure, what ages were you lot that have gone on an uchi-deschi program, and how much time commitment did you have to give?

Ian

batemanb
10-25-2005, 08:32 AM
Adrian,

Are you asking for Ben's understanding of what he thinks it is, or you aren't sure yourself?

Literally translated it means "inside student" or "live in student". It's where a person resides inside the dojo whilst they study, doing cleaning, cooking and other tasks whilst also attending their Sensei's needs. You generally have to pay for the privelage. At least that's my general understanding.

rgds

Bryan

tedehara
10-25-2005, 09:55 AM
Since starting Aikido a few months ago I have noticed a growing immersion of myself in the art and its attendant thoughts. Along with that has come a pondering of the Uchi-Deshi 'system' that I've seen mentioned around. Can anyone tell me about this? I'm particularly interested in what's involved with being Uchi-Deshi in a modern dojo and what would be expected, both from the student and the teacher.

I've been growing increasingly restless in modern life and really want to just... get away and do something else. A career break I think they call it. Not yet, certainly (I'm far too new to Aikido at the moment), but as something to consider for the future. In the meantime I am very curious. Has anyone here done it? Are there any sites out there with information? What dojos take on Uchi-Deshi?

Thanks for your help!

Ben
On AikiWeb from the links portal Uchideshi Programs (http://www.aikiweb.com/links/browse.php?cat=70)

One program in France and one in Switzerland is listed, most are in the US.

I think your best course of action would be to ask at the dojo where you're practicing now, to see if they have any recommendations.

You might want to think about traveling to enroll in a program. Most people pick Japan, since it gives credibility to the training. However that choice is yours.

More info on an uchideshi program can be found here. (http://www.nippon-kan.org/uchideshi/uchideshi.html) This is for Nippon Kan in the US. Gaku Homma has also written Aikido Sketch Diary : Dojo 365 Days which gives information on this uchideshi program.

Here is a web blog (http://uchi-deshi.blogspot.com/) from an uchi-deshi in Southern California.

Good Luck in your training!

iHeretic
10-25-2005, 10:13 AM
Thanks for the info and links... the more I read about this the more I think I want to do it. I hope I get the chance though I recognise that there are physical barriers which may prevent it (I'm a wheelchair user...) I would like the opportunity to move beyond the inherent limitations.

I imagine this would be something up to the suitability of each dojo and willingness of the teachers?

/b/

pezalinski
10-25-2005, 12:23 PM
A few thoughts for you to consider:

An uchi-deshi and his/her sensei have a special relationship. The student is raising their level of commitment to the utmost degree -- it is a commitment on the part of the student to attend every class, accompany the sensei to every seminar, and do everything within their power to do whatever their sensei asks of them, from living in and maintaining the dojo to caring for sensei's needs (hot tea, clean socks, arranging for transportation, taking ukemi under any and all circumstances....). In return, the sensei has a commitment to mold that student, through training, special classes and additional personal instruction. The uchi-deshi learns how a dojo is run, from the inside, and gets a unique perspective on how the sensei handles his/her responsibilities. And usually assists in instruction, either as an uke or as a teacher, under sensei's direct supervision.

This is not for everyone. In my experience (I was a deshi for a while), one has to give up or postpone involvement in any outside interests other than aikido, eating, sleeping. Work becomes a lesser priority -- if you have time for outside work at all. Ditto any personal relationships. You are responsible for your own upkeep and meals-- so unless you have an independent source of income, 100% deshi-hood is an impossibility.

Some dojos have a part-time deshi program -- i.e., whenever the dojo is open, your presence is required, but when it is closed, you are free; not a live-in arrangement. That's the kind of program I was a part of. It allowed me to hold a job, until work required me to travel more than my deshi responsibilities would allow, and then I had to leave the deshi program.

And, as my sensei told me, you can attend all of the classes, seminars, and events and be as committed to aikido and the dojo as an uchi-deshi, without actually commiting to a deshi program. You can have a life, and Aikido, too. :cool:

Ron Tisdale
10-25-2005, 12:38 PM
http://www.yoshinkan-aikido.org/contents/iyaf_information/senshusei_info?language=english

Best,
Ron

Lorien Lowe
10-26-2005, 07:52 PM
I'm currently uchi deshi at a small dojo; we only have six classes a week, and the head instructor is semi-retired and lives elsewhere, so my duties are far more limited than with a classic program. We've never (to my knowledge) had an uchi deshi before, so part of my responsibility is setting things up (putting up shelves, figuring out the basic logistics of living in a shared environment, that kind of thing) and making a continuation of the program possible. Even with only six classes a week, the ammount of cleaning required is amazing and the time commitment is significant.

So far It has been incredibly satisfying, and I'm very glad that I grabbed the opportunity when it came up. I would definitely recommend it if you have the chance.

-LK

markwalsh
10-26-2005, 11:37 PM
There are a few uchi deshi, and deshi like opportunities in the UK. If circumstances allow, try training 6 nights a week first though. Between Cambridge (2 dojos). Peterborough and St Ives, you should be able to manage this - though I appreciate getting around East Anglia is a bind. I'll be around your way in January if you want to chat through some options.

Mark

Tim Schmelter
10-27-2005, 04:37 PM
If full a uchi deshi program is not feasible, I know of at least one dojo to offer a "soto deshi" program. (As I understand it, "soto" == "outside" vs. "uchi" == "inside"). Others may as well.

So now, for my own curiosity, does anyone have any experience with a soto deshi program, and how it compares to uchi deshi?

--Tim

iHeretic
10-27-2005, 06:22 PM
If full a uchi deshi program is not feasible, I know of at least one dojo to offer a "soto deshi" program. (As I understand it, "soto" == "outside" vs. "uchi" == "inside"). Others may as well.

So now, for my own curiosity, does anyone have any experience with a soto deshi program, and how it compares to uchi deshi?

--Tim

I've heard of these... some dojos even seem to call these outside student programmes "uchi deshi" so the distinction may be lost on some. I've also seen uchi deshi refer to residential seminars.

The main point is I want to get away from the western lifestyle thing and can't think of a better way, at the moment, than immersing myself in a different culture and tradition. I've never seen the point of small holidays and the tourist "experience" and have always sought to immerse myself in local culture wherever I go... the next logical extension of that seems to be uchi deshi.

Thanks for the suggestions, Mark, and I look forward to January. The six nights a week training would be cool to be sure... I looked up the Cambs dojos and assuming travel I could put together four or five nights (I left the exact times at work... oops!) but not all are suitable or within travelling distance. The cost is also prohibitive as, unfortunately, I don't drive at the moment (though I've got inquiries in the pipe-line to resolve that).

I have to admit... I'm particularly fascinated by the Iwama Ryu dojo in Cambridge. I have family now living in both Cambridge and Peterborough and may be able to arrange visits...

*Ponder*

B

Edit: Missed your post Lorien, sorry! The responses I've had from people that have done it have been almost uniformly positive and that's encouraging... it seems that on the whole only responsible and good dojos seem to run such programmes, so another "aye" is always good to hear.

ad_adrian
10-27-2005, 08:33 PM
http://www.yoshinkan.info/deshi.php


for anyone interested in the life of a uchi deshi read this

ChrisHein
10-28-2005, 12:12 PM
I was uchi-deshi under patrick Cassidy twice, totaling a year in all. The first time I did it I had only be studying aikido for 6 months, and just jumped in head first. I'm glad I did. You learn faster and better as uchi-deshi, you can truly submerse yourself in study, and soak up lots (if you open yourself to it). I would start right away if I were you, and if your mind keeps coming back to it, then you probably want to do it. Try if for about 3 months (you need to give yourself some adjustment time, you might not like it in the first month) and see if you like it. Programs will differ from teacher to teacher. You can generally expect lots of responsibility (in the form of taking care of the dojo, and being an example of dedication and manors to the other students), and lots of hard work (in many cases on and off the mat). First time I was Uchi-deshi my Sensei had just gotten a new dog, guess who was responsible for taking care of the dogs accidents! Stuff like that might seem uncool, but it's all about just giving to the situation, just do what you want to do (get better at Aikido) and give anything to that experience, give to your teachers and fellow class mates and you will receive a wealth of knowledge back!

-Chris Hein

dyffcult
10-29-2005, 12:46 AM
I headed to Iwama for training under Saito Sensei as uchi deshi after only three months of training in Aikido. (I did train at least five nights a week for those three months!) I stayed in Iwama for three months. Wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

Check with your dojo mates. They can suggest an uchi deshi program in your own style, and your sensei may be able to offer the necessary recommendation.

Best of luck. Training as uchi deshi is a wonderful experience. I hope you find what you are looking for.

Brenda

p00kiethebear
10-31-2005, 01:36 AM
Uchi Deshi programs are basicaly legal slavery.

Period.

Do you really want to learn by being a slave? Is that the best way you learn? Is that the way you WANT to learn? Don't enter into something like this lightly. Koichi Tohei sensei wasn't an uchi deshi and he is arguably the best student o sensei ever had.

PaulieWalnuts
10-31-2005, 02:19 AM
"Uchi Deshi programs are basicaly legal slavery"
You clearly have very little idea about uchideshi or slavery then!
I spent nearly 5 months in Iwama and it was 1 of the best times in my life, Very hard life and sometimes very easy( mondays)
always better than having a job though.
You learn a lot lot more and hell of a lot faster than normal training

As for tohei being-"arguably the best student o sensei ever had."

How the hell do ya get that mate?
He was not under the founder any where near the period of Saito sensei, even thoug tohei started well before him.
IN MY OPINION SAITO WAS BY FAR THE GREATEST, BUT THATS ONLY MY OPINION. Im sure there are others with there own views.

p00kiethebear
10-31-2005, 02:53 AM
"arguably" is the word here. There are those who ARGUE that tohei sensei was his best student (being the only one to receive a 10th dan even though the tenth dan was given to him after o sensei's passing) Others ARGUE that Shioda sensei was the best student out there. Still more ARGUE that Kenji tomiki was the best. And the "amount of time under the founder" has nothing to do with "how good a student" someone is. Just because someone spends more time training doesn't mean they're going to be better than the one who spends less time. To many variables factor in. This is precisely the point i'm trying to make.

I'm using tohei sensei as an example of an exceptionally gifted aikidoka who DIDN'T take the uchi deshi route and was still a phenomenal martial artist that SOME consider to be the best student o sensei had.

You learn a lot lot more and hell of a lot faster than normal training

While i would tend to agree with this statement I can't help but think of the people who have to come to my dojo who are ridiculously un coordinated. Uchi deshi type training isn't the best way to go about things for everyone. I can picture many un talented people struggling day after day and only getting frustrated because they make no progress even though they train 6 hours a day. Everyone learns differently.

PeterR
10-31-2005, 03:34 AM
And then comes the can of worms as to who was actually an uchideshi. Apparently Ueshiba K. said there were no post war uchideshi and I suppose by that he included Saito M.. Shioda G. wasn't, Tomiki K. wasn't (some argue that he was at Ayabe some say never), Mochizuki wasn't. All of these men were definately deshi - personal apprentice to Ueshiba M. That I think is the key rather then where exactly they lived.

Hey I've got a question - who of the uchideshi by Ueshiba K.'s definition (not post war) nears the prominance of the above men. Perhaps a little vacation from the old guy during their tenure was the true key. <------ a bit tonge in cheek.

Paul D. Smith
10-31-2005, 07:06 AM
Uchi Deshi programs are basicaly legal slavery.

Period.

Do you really want to learn by being a slave? Is that the best way you learn? Is that the way you WANT to learn? Don't enter into something like this lightly. Koichi Tohei sensei wasn't an uchi deshi and he is arguably the best student o sensei ever had.

Uchideshi terms are entered into voluntarily. And they are a reflexive relationship. You agree to give yourself fully, and let go of a good deal, mostly, your ego, and in return, you receive training that differs from that possible for soto-deshi; in part, because much of the training takes place off the mat, during quiet hours, serving meals, repairing the dojo, etc., all under the direct eyes of one's teacher. Not that uchideshi training is superior to soto-deshi training - they are just different paths, serving different purposes, and they are equally valid.

Therefore, I can't agree with the quote above. I would encourage anybody who desires it to dive in fully.

ad_adrian
10-31-2005, 07:28 AM
i think gozo was sensei's best student, obviously lol,

PaulieWalnuts
10-31-2005, 09:06 AM
Didnt Minoru Mochizuki receive his 10th dan direct fom the founder?
i may be wrong it may be the same as tohei's after the founders death.

JAMBOS FOR THE 2005/2006 TITLE

akiy
10-31-2005, 09:09 AM
Can we please step away from the entirely subjective question of "best" and come back to the topic on-hand?

Thanks,

-- Jun

PaulieWalnuts
10-31-2005, 09:17 AM
ye exactley the only thing that matters here is that HEARTS get back on top of the SPl and win the title
Muriniho for the manager... i wish
JAMBOS :)

Ron Tisdale
10-31-2005, 09:25 AM
Shioda G. wasn't,

Time to visit the AJ archives Peter. Shioda Kancho was definately an uchideshi. Before the war, and for a time he and his family lived at Iwama after the war as well.

Having slavery in my family history, I personally can't believe someone would equate it to being an uchideshi. Seems rediculous.

Best,
Ron (this has nothing to do with who is best...that is 'entirely subjective' and in some ways rather silly when you think about it)

markwalsh
10-31-2005, 10:01 AM
The heart of being a deshi to me, is putting your own needs second. - Service.

For anyone raised in the modern egocentric world (including myself) this is a difficult lesson well worth learning.

Ron Tisdale
10-31-2005, 10:01 AM
The son of a noted pediatrician, Gozo Shioda enrolled in the Kobukan Dojo in May 1932, prior to entering Tokushoku University. He became an uchideshi while still a university student and served as a teaching assistant to Morihei Ueshiba in the Tokyo and Osaka areas. Shioda trained under the founder until he left Japan in 1941. During the war, he worked in a civilian capacity in China, Taiwan, Borneo, and the Celebes.

After the war, Shioda spent a brief period training under Ueshiba in Iwama.

From
http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=193

Don_Modesto
10-31-2005, 10:53 AM
On AikiWeb from the links portal Uchideshi Programs (http://www.aikiweb.com/links/browse.php?cat=70)
....

Useful response, Ted! Nice post.

George S. Ledyard
10-31-2005, 07:07 PM
Uchi Deshi training was not "legalized slavery", it was rather like the old Western "apprenticeship system" crossed with being an officer in the military. On the one hand, one did serve the needs of the teacher. The sensitivity required to know when something is required by the teacher almost before its need has consciously registered has a direct benefit in the development of a martial artist. This is VERY demanding training. Saotome Sensei has said that the kind of uchi deshi training he went through wouldn't be approriate for most Westerners because they are too individualistic. This wasn't a negative value judgement, just a statement. It does explain why he has never attempted to form an uchi deshi program in the States despite his being here for over thirty years.

The uchi deshi also had teaching responsibilities for the non-uchi deshi and that placed them in a special place within the dojo community. Saotome Sensei had quite a number of dojos and clubs which he oversaw at the request of Honbu dojo to whom they had applied for an instructor.

Like the modern military ones family was tied into the structure as well. Ones spouse would be junior to the spouse of the teacher and would have responsibilities relative to the welfare of the junior deshi and their wives. The teacher's spouse would be the senior spouse. Probably not much fun to be the wife of the junior uchi deshi, that would have been low point on the totem pole.

Actually, many of the wives of the teachers who conducted uchi deshi programs are the unsung heroes of the early days of Aikido training. Often they functioned as surrogate mothers for the young deshi, many barely out of their teens. So the responsibilities didn't just flow up hill. The deshi were "family" and the teacher and his spouse were responsible for their upkeep and welfare.

PeterR
10-31-2005, 07:16 PM
Time to visit the AJ archives Peter. Shioda Kancho was definately an uchideshi. Before the war, and for a time he and his family lived at Iwama after the war as well.
Depends on how you define uchideshi.

Used to be you lived in the masters house and in exchance for food, lodging and instruction you attended to his needs. Very few meet that strict definition.

Legal slavery - well not quite since payment was the instruction. It was not an easy life. The deshi being sent to Iwama to attend Ueshiba M. after the was often found the duty onnorous.

ad_adrian
10-31-2005, 08:23 PM
being an uchideshi was a great honor in japan

PeterR
10-31-2005, 08:47 PM
Adrian

It all depends on who it was with and for what. The closest Western concept was the old apprenticeships where yes the child was sometimes actually bought and sold.

In a sellers market (ie a famous artist martial or otherwise) sometimes a money payment was made to the master or there was some other benefit such as political connection (son of a supporter). In these cases competition could be quite fierce as there was usually only one or two - so yes there was a certain pride attached to being chosen.

Soto-deshi (students that lived outside the Master's house) were still burdened by many duties they just slept elsewhere.