Little House In Ise

Walking Targets: Uchi Deshi
December 1, 2008, 19:10
Filed under: Aikido, Japan | Tags: , , , , ,

It seems as though some new comers to Honbu feel as though they have something to prove. The uchi deshi are the ones who bear the brunt of this testosterone fueled “training”. Hard training is fine. Tough training is fine. However intentionally pushing so hard that people get hurt is not fine — even if that someone is yourself. Mind you, pushing someone else until you hurt yourself is pretty stupid.

So far, the uchi deshi with whom I have trained have been polite, respectful and very skilled martial artists. These are the folks who are not just aspiring to be the next generation of world class Aikidoka but are actively working on becoming so. They train many hours every day with the current generation of giants of the Aikikai. They are young, tough and can dish out hard-hitting, high-speed, Aikido whoop-ass. In other words: they are shithead magnets. Any jerk that walks in the door with a chip on their shoulder will end up asking an uchi deshi to knock it off.

Today, the uchi deshi (a very nice fellow) who was training next to me had a shithead on his hands. It was clear to everyone around them that these two guys were going at it VERY hard. Since they were my neighbors they were frequently landing in my lap. Even my partner, a gentle giant himself, commented on them. He suggested to me, loud enough to be heard by all around, that they were getting scary. I agreed and went back to trying to relax as hard as possible.

Anyway, the new-comer kept on pushing the energy level up bit by bit and the uchi deshi just went along for the ride. Then there was a sickening thud and the new guy was flat on his back, eyes closed and quieter than I had heard him all morning. Shihonage (四方投げ) is a killer technique and this guy had planted the base of his own head into the forehead of another student. The other guy shook it off but the new fellow was pretty well KO’d. There was a doctor present and the newcomer was cleared of concussion and such but Doshu was furious. His anger was aimed at the uchi deshi.

Truth be told, the uchi deshi shared a lot of the blame. He did throw very hard and he did not end the engagement when the guy started to be a jerk. I don’t think it was just testosterone though. The uchi deshi ARE bad-asses (though very nice ones) and they DO attract this sort of goober regularly. I was there, I know the uchi deshi was well within his comfort zone, it was the goober who attacked with such speed that caused the accident. He got as much out of the interaction as he put into it and, in this case, there was no soft mat to cushion his stupidity.


5 Comments so far
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W O W!!

Comment by Ita

[…] but I began searching the net on how I could live near the Hombu Dojo. Yet I found out about the Uchi-Deshi progam around the world. It is a Live-in student program where you live in the dojo (training […]

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I love watching shitheads in systema. My teacher used to have them work with a 17 year old girl with purple hair. When it came time for punching, the ig guys would hem and haw about ‘hitting a girl’ – and then she would just light them up. Watching a 250 pound man running away from a giggling girl is kind of poetry. The russians just smile.

Comment by ben

And I am so happy you are training! You are far more accomplished than I ever was!

Comment by ben


I don’t know that I am more accomplished than you. I do know that I have been training since CC days (with a few pauses). It has become so much more than a hobby that I do not even want to try imagining quiting.

As for Systema, that looks VERY cool. In fact, people have asked me what martial art they should do. I always list that one near the top when they say their interest is in self defense.

Have you trained directly with either Vasiliev or Ryabko?

Comment by Eric Holcomb

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