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Old 03-27-2004, 05:54 AM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Dojo: Hiroshima Kokusai Dojo
Location: Hiroshima, Japan
Join Date: Jul 2001
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Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Nathan Gidney (p00kiethebear) wrote:
Shortly after a graduate from high school this summer. I'm going to be filling the role of an uchi deshi for my local sensei. We've had some good talks about it between him and I and my parents. My parents have kind of tried to steer me towards the four year college route but I'm certain that Aikido is what I want to do in my life. So the deal this summer, is take a year off this year, and next year begin at a community college just to keep my options open.

But anyway. we've been reading up about what other programs are like (I will be the first and possibly last personal student sensei will have.) I've seen a lot of the benefits that come from being in a program like this. But what are the drawbacks of it? There is the obvious loss of social life as my entire life will probably be lived for the dojo and for sensei.

But I was told that the over confident man always gets thrown off guard when the unexpected comes up and that the wise man is able to recognize conflict and foresee possible problems and mentally plan for them before it's too late.

So I would like all of your help to brainstorm with me, some of big problems that could come up. What are all the downsides and possible problems for all of this?

Your thoughts?
Hello Nathan,

Well, you asked and so I offer you some thoughts.

First. I trained under such teachers as Chiba, Kanai (in the US) and Yamaguchi and Tada in Japan. I also knew and often talked with the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba. Doshu told me that he himself had no uchi-deshi at all and that the Founder had no uchi-deshi after World War II. Pondering on Doshu's words and thinking of the interviews recorded in Stanley Pranin's "Modern Masters", I infer that the experience of being an uchi-deshi for Morihei Ueshiba in the prewar Kobukan was unique in the commitment and intensity of training required.

You mention "filling the role" of an uchi-deshi. I am not sure what you mean by this. Chiba Sensei entered the Aikikai Hombu after graduating fron high school and sat for several days outside the Hombu Dojo until he was accorded an interview. I do not think he considered himself to be filling a role. In other words, you sign a blank cheque because you yourself have decided that your teacher, and only your teacher, can give you what you are seeking in aikido. So what would be the point of deciding to do this just for one year?

To my mind, the problem is authenticity. There are many so-called 'uchi-deshi' programmes, but I wonder what you will obtain that you would not obtain from intensive training in your local dojo. And, just to be clear, as an uchi-deshi you live with your sensei 24 hours a day 7 days a week and are at his call for all of this time. Are you prepared for this and, more to the point, is your sensei? I think your parents have given you sensible advice and I for one would in interested in hearing more concrete grounds for your certainty.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
Hiroshima, Japan
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