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Old 03-26-2004, 10:39 AM   #1
p00kiethebear
 
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Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

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?

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-27-2004, 01:01 AM   #2
Charles Hill
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Nathan,

Gaku Homma Sensei has a book entitled something like, 365 Day Aikido Diary. In it, he lays out his uchideshi program pretty clearly. Some of the uchideshi are also students at the local university, so it seems you can do both at the same time.

Good luck,

Charles Hill
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Old 03-27-2004, 05:54 AM   #3
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Quote:
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
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Old 03-27-2004, 07:09 AM   #4
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Re: Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
...Doshu told me that he himself had no uchi-deshi at all and that the Founder had no uchi-deshi after World War II...
Wasn't Fumio Toyoda an uchideshi for the late Doshu ?
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Old 03-27-2004, 08:33 AM   #5
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Re: Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Quote:
John Hogan (Hogan) wrote:
Wasn't Fumio Toyoda an uchideshi for the late Doshu ?
Well, to judge from what Kisshomaru Ueshiba himself told me, apparently not. However, I have no doubt that Mr Toyoda, along with many others, was a direct student with a very close relationship to the late Doshu.

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P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-27-2004, 02:38 PM   #6
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
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?
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.
Quote:
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,
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.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 03-27-2004, 03:42 PM   #7
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It sounds as though you've thought this through and are committed. Gambatte! and best of luck in your training and studies.

Chuck Clark
Jiyushinkai Aikibudo
www.jiyushinkai.org
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Old 03-27-2004, 05:11 PM   #8
Doka
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One thing I will say, no matter whatever, is this:

"WORK TO LIVE, don't work to live!"

In the same way Aikido should enrich your life, and your life should not be just about Aikido! Aikido is there for you, not the other way around!

And that comes from an Aiki-Nut!!!

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Old 03-27-2004, 06:24 PM   #9
Peter Goldsbury
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I second Mr Clark's sentiments.

One reason for the late Doshu's insistence that he himself had no uchi-deshi was to emphasize the original relationship between the Founder and his live-in students at the kobukan. They were participants in a creative process.

My earlier post was written in response to your request for comments and your later explanation added much about your own reasons for wanting to be a special student.

I think the basic issue is that aikido becomes the centre of your life and not a very important point on the periphery. This entails enormous faith in your teacher.

Good luck.

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-28-2004, 12:16 AM   #10
Charles Hill
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Re: Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury (Peter Goldsbury) wrote:
Doshu told me that he himself had no uchi-deshi at all and that the Founder had no uchi-deshi after World War II.
Professor Goldsbury,

Could you comment on this a little more? I have heard this in more recent years at Honbu, meaning that the young men living and working at Honbu are not uchideshi but are referred to as shidouin, etc. However, the shihan who lived at Honbu after WWII while the founder was alive commonly use the word uchideshi to describe themselves. Is there any evidence to indicate how the founder thought about these trainees?

Charles
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Old 03-28-2004, 08:25 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Re: Re: Uchi Deshi Program: your thoughts everyone?

Quote:
Charles Hill wrote:
Professor Goldsbury,

Could you comment on this a little more? I have heard this in more recent years at Honbu, meaning that the young men living and working at Honbu are not uchideshi but are referred to as shidouin, etc. However, the shihan who lived at Honbu after WWII while the founder was alive commonly use the word uchideshi to describe themselves. Is there any evidence to indicate how the founder thought about these trainees?

Charles
Hello Charles, Hisashiburi!

Yes. When I was a beginner, I, too, often heard from my Japanese teachers that, "I was an uchideshi of the Founder", but when I came to Japan, this was often denied by my teachers here. I was rather perplexed about this and now believe that the term was being used rather loosely.

In the years that Kisshomaru Doshu was alive, I had occasion to meet him quite often and, as a foreigner, was able to ask him questions that my Japanese teachers would probably have refrained from doing. Two such questions were, "Who were the Founder's uchi-deshi?" and "Did you/do you have any uchi-deshi yourself?" The answers were that the Founder had no uchi-deshi after World War II and that he himself never had uchi-deshi. The explanation given was that the intensity of the relationship somehow changed, as the Hombu Dojo progressed from being a single dojo to the focus of an organization.

Clearly, this was also happening in the Kobukan, as the Founder gradually increased the sphere of his activities, but after the war Kisshomaru Ueshiba became a major factor in the Hombu organization. He was given the job of Hombu Dojo-cho in 1942 and this position was never taken away from him. Thus, when the Founder returned to Tokyo in the late fifties, he did not resume responsibility for the running of the Hombu, though whenever he taught in the Hombu or travelled, a deshi would be there to look after him and take ukemi.

I think there is no direct evidence from Morihei Ueshiba himself as to the relationship he had with these special students, though, to judge from Mr Saotome's book, it was pretty intense. I once had occasion to discuss the question with the late Sadateru Arikawa and his response was that the postwar student with the closest relationship with the Founder was Nobuyoshi Tamura, who was an uchi-deshi "in all but name".

With the third Doshu, things have changed again. Although comparisons with the iemoto system are somewhat frowned upon, it is the system that counts, as much as who is at the top. The tendency is to regard oneself as an employee or stakeholder, rather than a disciple.

Best regards,

P A Goldsbury
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Old 03-28-2004, 02:44 PM   #12
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If you are going to be at the dojo, try learning all aspects of the it. This should include learning about the business side.

Balancing the books, insurance, tax status, promotion (advertising - not rank) and marketing are just some of the things you can get involved in. This might give you a better idea of what courses you can be taking in college.

I should also include a "Good Luck", but it sounds like you'll do fine.

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Old 03-30-2004, 10:53 PM   #13
Ian Williams
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Quote:
. I remember reading that o sensei said that with aikido, we can create a heaven on earth.
forgive me for saying so, but if that's what you're truly looking for, you are not going to find it at a dojo..

Tsutsumi Ryu Jujitsu
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Old 03-31-2004, 05:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Ian Williams wrote:
forgive me for saying so, but if that's what you're truly looking for, you are not going to find it at a dojo..
Ian - I'd change this to "you are not going to find it ONLY at a dojo."

My wife and I glimpsed heaven last night, when my 6 year old son told us not to worry about dying, because we would live in his heart...

Justin

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Old 03-31-2004, 08:47 AM   #15
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Sensei?

Hi Nathan,

Is your teacher Chris Mills Sensei?

George S. Ledyard
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Old 04-01-2004, 12:18 AM   #16
Ian Williams
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Quote:
Justin McCarthy (justinm) wrote:
Ian - I'd change this to "you are not going to find it ONLY at a dojo."

My wife and I glimpsed heaven last night, when my 6 year old son told us not to worry about dying, because we would live in his heart...

Justin
Out of the mouths of babes.. truly they come up with some sweet stuff.

I guess my point was, no matter how fulfilling and how much they enrich our lives, martial arts are not going to answer the really "big" questions in life. I honestly don't think the big answers are found in a dojo.
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Old 04-01-2004, 06:32 AM   #17
Ghost Fox
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Quote:
Ian Williams wrote:
I guess my point was, no matter how fulfilling and how much they enrich our lives, martial arts are not going to answer the really "big" questions in life. I honestly don't think the big answers are found in a dojo.
I don't know if I agree with you. I mean your right in that all the big answers are only found by searching deep within ourselves and coming to term with our shadow as well as our gifts. But isn't the main function of religion, spiritual movements and Budo to provide us with different ways of exploring and relating to life, so that maybe the big answers become clearer. I don't know if I make any sense just a thought.
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