Uchideshi in Iwama
Hi everyone, I picked up Aikido about a year ago and was immediately smitten. I learned of the uchi deshi lifestyle months ago and for some reason have recently been hit by a really powerful urge to go do it in Iwama for perhaps three months or so. The lifestyle of focus I suppose is very attractive, and the people at the Iwama dojos I have visited thus far have universally impressed me with their earnest dedication to practice. What I'm not sure about is how long I should have been practicing before I try to go.
I've been practicing in the US and Australia whenever I could for a little over a year now, sometimes twice a month, sometimes three or four times a week depending on allowances of travel. I've only tested US Aikikai 5th kyu but with the range of dojos and seminars I have attended have I think at least been exposed to a decent taijutsu curriculum (and wow does that vary when you travel a bit!), some suwari waza, suburi and the 31 kata. My sensei in the US gave a great deal of attention to ukemi which I have found at seminars to have given me the confidence to participate at a good pace and I am comfortable with my personal safety on the mat.
So I would like to know from anyone who has visited Iwama what the expectation is there for the level of training of uchideshi. I hear that experience with Iwama style Aikido is not necessary but I also don't know of anyone who has done this before 1st kyu. I hope I don't have to wait that long!