Re: New Person Training Full Time
Don't many uchideshi programs require a letter of introduction from your current sensei, a sort of recommendation that basically says "this person in front of you isn't insane, won't walk out on the program, is decent at aikido and I sorta like him"?
And for what its worth, I agree with the majority of what everyone is saying in this thread: it just seems a very romantic notion to travel abroad to somewhere exotic and train with some highly ranked exponent of this mysterious and awesome art for a year or so. How do you even know you will enjoy aikido when you start doing it? I personally remember researching Olympic style fencing for 2 or 3 years, watching videos and such, before ever learning it. I was most definitely passionate about it. When I finally did study fencing, I even trained with an Olympic class fencer and also a national champion (two great coaches, lucky me), but after a year of it, I realized fencing just didn't have that appeal to me anymore. Of course, this was AFTER spending several thousand dollars on lessons, equipment, and tournament fees.
Do I regret it? Hell no, it was a wonderful experience and I'm actually using principles of fencing in my aikido (the concept of stop-cutting helps me a LOT with my irimi and preemptive atemi). But what you're proposing is a much huger investment than what I put into fencing, and the risks of disappointment greater.
I mean, would you buy a car before test driving it?