Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
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?
First of all let me re paint the picture of how this is going to work out. Our dojo has no living quarters. I will be living at the local nichiren temple. So i won't officialy be an "uchi" deshi. But all of my day is devoted to working at the dojo, cleaning doing paperwork and training etc.
I have reasons for not being able to keep up the full intensity of this for more than 1 year. All of which are medical. but when the college starts only the minimal courseload will be taken to allow a significant portion of time every day at the dojo. So one year is not the end of it.
So this isn't so much "uchi deshi" as "personal intensive training student"
Sorry for using that term, that's just what sensei and I have been labeling it.
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.
As far as my certainty goes, it has to do alot with my medical history as well. So i'll make it short. I'm a childhood cancer survivor who doesn't like seeing the way the world seems to be going to hell. Religiously I find belief in all faiths particularly buddhism. I believe that in the world, problems often arise from the way we respond to conflict. Aikido to me, is a way of responding to conflict. I remember reading that o sensei said that with aikido, we can create a heaven on earth. That was something that really stuck with me and that i now truly believe in. It pains me to see all the suffering around the world everyday, and i hope that maybe with aikido, i could maybe just help the world get closer to o sensei's heaven on earth. Just a little bit closer.
So my reasons over all are widely spiritual. Maybe some people think it's BS. But that's what aikido means to me.