Aikido of South Florida
Morihei Ueshiba
Uchideshi 1
Uchideshi 2
Uchideshi 3
Uchideshi 4

What is an Uchideshi?

Uchi No Deshi is the term that signifies the personal student of the dojo sensei. He is one who lives and trains in the dojo, exclusively immersing himself in "The Way".

A person contemplating becoming an uchideshi should understand that this commitment is not to be taken lightly. Although the rewards for one who completely immerses himself in Aikido training are great, the demands of uchideshi life can correspondingly be just as challenging. Living conditions are austere, and the demands for strict care, maintenance and discipline of the dojo are unrelenting. Training is the foremost priority in the life of an uchideshi. This training is not only more demanding than that asked of the dojo members at large, but far more frequent. For these reasons, one should consider very carefully before committing to a period of study as an uchideshi.

Aikido of South Florida is one of the few and fortunate dojos in the United States that offers an uchideshi program to students all around the world. We have accommodated foreign students from Japan, Germany, Israel, Canada, South America and throughout the United States. For over two decades, Yap Sensei herself has been devoting one to two months every year in Japan as an uchideshi to Morihiro Saito Sensei, 9th dan, and since his passing in 2002, she continues her tutelage under the guidance of Morihiro Saito's heir apparent, Hitohiro Saito Sensei. Yap Sensei believes that Aikido is a never-ending process of development for the mind, body and spirit and feels aikido is an inexhaustible learning process. Serving as an uchideshi every year herself is a responsibility necessary for the development of the students of the dojo, as well as the refinement of her own techniques and personal growth.

Uchideshi Guidelines

We are proud to be the USA representative for IWAMA SHIN SHIN AIKI SHURENKAI, Hitohira Saito Soke and the Legacy of Morihiro Saito Shihan.

In becoming an Uchideshi under Sensei Yap there are several requirements that need to be understood and addressed before either parties commit to a date. Some of these requirements are negotiable, and some are less negotiable, but will be able to discuss them in more detail if needed. Here is a brief synopsis of our program:

  1. The Uchideshi program was devised for current active practitioners of Aikido to be afforded the opportunity to deepen their training and understand of Aikido.
  2. The Uchideshi Program is open to all aikido affiliations; HOWEVER, you are here to train Iwama style aikido, in some cases our style will be quite different than that in your home dojo, Iwama style will strictly be enforced. We realized that every dojo, even the same style will have slight differences in techniques based on the instructor's level of teaching: You only need to focus on ours as this is the reason you are here.
  3. At no time will you actively compare the different techniques learned from other styles to that in our dojo as we are not concerned with what you know and what you have learned other than being able to apply the principles. We ONLY need to focus on what you are learning NOW - at this moment. Focus on the HERE & NOW.
  4. All adult and children's classes are mandatory unless previously arranged with Sensei. Training all classes will allow you train different levels and perspectives of aikido that are only perceived through these mandatory classes.
  5. Kihon & Weapons Training: Technically, O'Sensei only emphasized kihon and weapons training in Iwama. The system of training and teaching at ASF, as well as in Iwama, is quite different if you are not use to devoting half of your aikido curriculum to weapons and kihon training. Angle is one of the most important aspects of aikido that diminishes the use of strength when used correctly. This will be one of the many focuses of your uchideshi period.
  6. The fundamental philosophy of being an uchideshi is the willingness to submit oneself without limits; to understand the demands of curing one's mind, body and spirit through the responsibilities of serving and submitting to the practice of Aikido with an altruistic approach.

It may be too naive to simply say that the only difference in styles is hanmi, kihon training and our weapons curriculum that differs between other styles of aikido and Iwama Style, but if you really look at it, you will be learning a new language, a new body language. Kihon is the basic forms of Aikido, which are formulated on different angles and energy, static grabs. If your hanmi is different, so is your centerline, and so will be your body positioning. Also, if much of open hand techniques are derived form the weapons training, as O'Sensei writes so prolifically and of which other styles minimally include in their curriculum, then you are already negotiating half of what you have already learned. We will be focusing greatly on body positioning during your time here.

Please review these terms and if you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask. However, upon your arrival you will be presented with our Uchideshi Manual that will complete the program requirements you are expected to uphold.

We look forward to developing a prosperous relationship.

Uchideshi Enrollment Qualifications

  • Minimum 6 months of consistent Aikido training
  • Must provide a letter of introduction from your current Dojo Cho
  • Both men and women are eligible.
  • Applicants must be between at least 18 years old, in healthy physical condition and have the ability to train daily.
  • Applicants must have a minimum high-school education (diploma or native country equivalent).
  • Valid health insurance through the desired length of stay.
  • Applicants must be financial capability to support themselves for desired length of stay.
  • Religious and other lifestyle preferences are private and should be kept to yourself.

Documentation Required
All applicants must submit the following:

  • Color copy of your Driver's License as well as passport
  • Valid Proof of Heath Insurance coverage for the duration of your stay
  • Letter of introduction from your current instructor
  • Completed online Application Form
  • A personal Resume including your education, profession, trainings of martial arts

Uchideshi Fees

The cost to be an uchideshi is as follows:

  • 1 week $250.00
  • 2 weeks $300.00
  • 3 weeks $400.00
  • 1 month $500.00/month
  • Training overnight $40 per night

The dues are to be paid at the beginning of your uchideshi period. Please be sure to take care of all your financial responsibilities before your departure, and if you have made any long distance telephone calls, please be sure to account for those bills as well.

Uchideshi fees include instruction, sleeping accommodations and living accommodations (consumption of electricity, water, internet and use of facilities). The total payment must be made at the time of registration. These fees do not include any seminar fees, which are to be paid separately.

Uchideshi are responsible for their meals and telephone calls during their stay. The Laundry mat is located upstairs, and the laundry provisions are not included.

Additional costs

Seminar fees and other expenses such as travelling, parties, dojo trips and excursions are of the responsibility of each uchideshi.

There will be absolutely no refunds under any circumstances.

Apply online for Uchideshi Program

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