Re: Terry Dobson's Training History
One final point comes to mind. Actually a couple:
1. When I trained in the Aikikai, the uchi-deshi were Shibata, Seki, Miyamoto (and I believe Yasuno, although I don't recall if he was living in the dojo). They were clearly considered a different breed - I'm not saying that each of them were the best three young aikidoka at the time, but they had a special status, in part because they were assistant instructors, and second, because they lived/breathed/ate aikido.
2. When I first started training at Honbu, I was living at the Kuwamori Dojo. My visa letter was actually signed by Doshu, at the request of Terry Dobson. I thought this made me a "deshi" of Honbu dojo. I was there a week, and someone asked me my particulars. I said that I was an uchi-deshi of Kuwamori Dojo, but also a deshi at Honbu. After ascertaining that I did live at the former, he said, re the latter, you aren't a deshi here. You don't have a personal relationship with anyone in the Ueshiba family, they aren't feeding you - you just take classes here.
3. About a year later, I was eating/drinking with Shibata & Miyamoto at a local restaurant, and Shibata said, "You are around here all the time. Would you like me to put in a word for you so you can live in the dojo?" I thought about that long and hard - I'd taught the younger Osawa to lift weights, all the teachers were calling me out for demonstration ukemi in their classes - but I was already focusing on other training, so I decided not to do it. The option was there. And it was not, "would you like to become a professional assistant teacher of the Aikikai, groomed to teach classes, etc." It was a recognition of seriousness about training, and an offering of an opportunity to do more.