What Is The Live-In Student Program?
Toyoda Aikido and Kendo Uchideshi Program
Grand Rapids Location
Applications are now being accepted for prospective live-in students (uchideshi: resident trainees at the Toyoda Aikido and Kendo Center, Grand Rapids location, as well as the sotodeshi program for those who cannot live in the dojo)
Throughout history, committed disciples of an art have resided for a time within the actual training hall or temple. There, a life is lived that is focused on discipline, ceaseless training, and service to others. Through forging of the body and spirit in the crucible of the dojo, these uchideshi –”inside students”- seek to develop true strength and wisdom.
Though it has never been an easy life, the rewards to the committed seeker are great.
The uchideshi tradition has continued strongly in Aikido and Kendo, 2 of the unique arts taught at the Toyoda Center Grand Rapids location. Aikido Chief Instructor and founder of the Toyoda Center, Blaine Feyen, was an uchideshi for several years at the renowned Aikido Association of America Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois, and a personal student of the famous Fumio Toyoda Shihan. AAA Founder Fumio Toyoda Shihan instituted his Uchideshi Program based on his own experience in Japan as a live-in trainee at the famous Ichikukai Dojo (misogi and Zen training) and at Aikikai Hombu Dojo (Aikido). Toyoda Shihan himself was the first uchideshi under the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba and is credited with re-establishing such training at Aikido World H.Q., where it had been discontinued with the death of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei.
In the tradition of Toyoda Shihan, uchideshi training involves intensive daily training in Aikido, Kendo and Zen meditation and the learning of all aspects of an Aikido dojo operation. Excellence in technique and instruction is developed. Aside from physical training, intense instruction for personal development is given. Toyoda Shihan viewed this training as the necessary foundation of his Professional Instructor Training Program and Feyen Sensei has continued this tradition at the Toyoda Center Grand Rapids location. Many of Feyen Sensei’s uchideshi have gone on to develop their own businesses and have achieved personal and professional successes they directly attribute to their involvement in the uchideshi program. The Toyoda Center also has one of the most successful Kendo programs in West Michigan which lends to the overall atmosphere of intense training for all members of the Toyoda Center, but especially the resident students.
What should emerge from this training is a new person, like a brilliant sharp sword emerging from rough iron through the action of hammer and fire. The uchideshi learns to see this very body and mind, moment to moment, as the true dojo. Life in this way becomes shugyo: the deepest possible physical and spiritual training.
Uchideshi are permitted to maintain daytime jobs. They reside at Yushinkan Dojo (The Toyoda Center Grand Rapids facility) and adhere to a rigorous daily schedule. An application and interview is required before acceptance is granted. A three month probation period is given for both the student and the staff at the Toyoda Center to gauge the potential success of participation. Interested persons should be in sufficient health to endure an average of two to four hours of physical training per day; there are no age, gender or other restrictions.
The monthly fee for the Uchi Deshi program is $500 for non-members and $400 for members of the Toyoda Center. The monthly fee includes all training fees, some meals and food staples, all seminar fees for seminars held at the Toyoda Center, testing fees during the deshi period, and monthly one on one meetings with the Chief Instructor.
If the Uchideshi program is not feasible for your living situation, you may be interested in the Toyoda Center’s Sotodeshi (outside student) program. Just click the blue link for more information.
If you would like more information about the Toyoda Aikido and Kendo Center uchideshi or sotodeshi programs, located in West Michigan (Toyoda Center, Grand Rapids location) please complete the contact form below. We will contact you regarding your interest as soon as possible.
You may also call Blaine at 1-616-334-7681.