Before and after

Notes and thoughts from my 2017 uchi deshi stay in Iwama.

I can easily divide my Aikido life into two parts: before and after my first uchi deshi stay in Iwama. Now, I am no veteran, neither in terms of the number of uchi deshi tours I have made nor in regards of how long they have been. Plenty of Aikido students have gone there more often and for greater length of time. But here is my take on “going or not going”.

I started my Aikido training in 1990 and I had the great fortune of coming to a dojo that had just opened. There was an ambitious and energetic atmosphere. There was a solid base of experienced and very competent yudansha that were set on their goal: to build a dojo offering the best quality Iwama Aikido you could find.

These were the Steven Seagal-days and beginners classes were packed with people who wanted to learn all his moves. The dojo was open six days a week offering classes on different levels and themes. I loved every second of it and as soon as I was permitted I attended every class I could. Only day with no training were Sundays. I spent them waiting for Monday.

There were plenty of experienced, tough, strong students in the dojo that didn’t hold back for eager young beginners like me, but I didn’t shy away from training with the people I considered being able to teach me the most. The atmosphere and the teachers, combined with the amount of training I put in and the people I was able to train with, resulted in progress that was exponential. In addition to that I also started travelling to seminars, near and far. This way I proceeded quite quickly up through the ranks and soon started assisting in teaching before eventually starting to teach classes myself.

Early on I heard stories about this place called Iwama, where people went to immerse themselves in training. My teacher went there regularly, but didn’t speak much about it. Smaller groups of senior students packed up and left for different amounts of weeks and came back, hard as rock and with a different look in their eyes, a look that said “go on, try me…you have no idea, I’m special”. And they were! They came back and infused a shot of high voltage energy in the dojo. Whenever someone returned from Iwama, the atmosphere in the dojo changed. I loved it.

Early in my Aikido years, quite young, I started a family. The kids came and gradually, for natural reasons, I had to decrease my weekly dosage of training. Eventually I was one of those guys coming to the dojo once or twice a week. Training was on a maintenance level and I was shure Iwama was a closed door for me.

But kids grow up and step by step I was able to up-grade my training frequency again. I had a lot of hard work to fall back on and it had been maintained over the years and so, quality of form and physical fitness came back to me quite easily. I trained, I taught, I travelled with my teacher, I improved and gained experience, I graded. The thought of going to Iwama to practice had since long been buried in the back of my mind. Not completely dead, but not something that I very often thought of.

It took 17 years until a series of events, some my own choices others not, all steered my towards a point where the door to Iwama seemed wide open and a real possibility. I gave it some consideration. Then I sent an e-mail to Hitohira Saito Sensei, asking permission to come and got an “ok”. I asked my teacher for a letter of recommendation, packed up and left.

I had some concerns. Not so much technically. I knew I was well prepared and up to date, especially in weapons. But was I strong enough? Maybe I was a bit too old? What about the training environment? Would I endure? I had heard plenty of stories from the “old days”. So yes, I was a bit nervous.

I arrived in Iwama late April, stayed through May and into the beginning of June. I loved every second of it. I struggled of course, like everyone else. Physically – my body ached and complained loudly. Some days I just thought my body wouldn’t be able to handle another morote dori grip. Technically – the extreme focus on details and the strength and dynamism in the techniques.

But there was a joy in training that I hadn’t experienced since my early years. There was an energy, power, strength and focus to the training that I had never experienced anywhere, anytime. In every single class. It was beyond compare. Training was hard but in a sensible way. There were tough people in the dojo, but no bullies or psychos. I made friends for life and I learned so much about so much. Including myself.

Most importantly though, it boosted my Aikido skills, not one level but several, in a way I never would have thought possible after so many years of practice. I came back home stronger, faster, a lot more technically advanced and secure and I had a much more natural approach to movement. And, yes, I am pretty sure I also had that special, different look in my eye.

Conclusion and purpose of this text? As long as your body is in decent shape and you have the motivation, it is never too late to embark on your first Iwama uchi deshi experience. It will, for certain, raise your Aikido to unexpected levels. It’s a fantastic experience and a well worth investment in yourself, your Aiki progression and the dojo where you train and/or teach. And it stays with you. For life.
In Aiki – M


Note: These days there are different options for people travelling to Iwama as uchi deshi. This text, my thoughts and experiences refer to the training and uchi deshi program by the Saito family, under the supervision of Saito Hitohira Sensei.

0 thoughts on “Before and after

  1. You actually expressed this very well.
    viagra and alcahol viagra online keyword viagra online [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra how does it work
    viagra altern
    levitra vs viagra vs cialis
    weak indian viagra
    availability of viagra
    newsletter viagra sign up

  2. You actually said this really well.
    funniest viagra videos viagra online which is better viagra or levitra [url=]viagra for women[/url]
    herbal equivalent of viagra
    viagra comparison with cialis
    find search viagra free
    viagra for altitude
    viagra relaxes spinkter
    chew viagra

  3. Incredible all kinds of terrific material.
    generic viagra manufacturer generic viagra 100mg viagra burning pain right side [url=]viagra without a doctors prescription[/url]
    jelqing viagra
    does viagra work on first dose
    can a young man take viagra
    levitra viagra price
    subaction showcomments viagra start from watch
    viagra oz

  4. You’ve made your point.
    site ebaycouk kamagra viagra sildenafil generic viagra online free sample of cialisis or viagra [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]
    online generic viagra sales
    best viagra jokes
    viagra by perscription
    viagra meltabs softabs
    everyday viagra doseage
    viagra without a prescription legal

  5. Appreciate it, An abundance of postings.
    ge n eric viagra viagra generic buying viagra online in britain [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]
    viagra free sites results
    sex and viagra
    pumkin pie and viagra
    how long fo viagra to work
    viagra in china
    naturopathic viagra

  6. Wow loads of valuable material.
    generic viagra gel price per sachet buy viagra substitute for viagra [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra cheap buy online
    there’s viagra in the waters
    viagra pulse rate
    subconjunctival hemorrhage caused by viagra
    viagra up all night
    viagra indications

  7. Thanks! I appreciate it!
    girls taking viagra generic viagra 100mg shop and compare charles linskaill viagra [url=]viagra for women[/url]
    johnny p viagra
    viagra superactive canadian
    viagra and chemotherapy
    dublin viagra
    steroids and viagra dangers
    viagra long

  8. Whoa loads of valuable advice.
    how safe is viagra from canada viagra for sale uk viagra healthy improve prolong [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    how does viagra help pe
    dali viagra
    viagra generic online viagra generic url
    legitimate suppliers of viagra
    viagra tomatoes
    can you drink on viagra

  9. You said it very well.!
    daili viagra free enewsletter buy viagra viapro better than viagra [url=]viagra online[/url]
    viagra banned commercial charlie sheen
    on-line viagra order
    political cartoon with bush and viagra
    joe nemechek viagra
    order viagra on-line
    viagra hemmoroids

  10. Superb information. Thank you.
    alternative natural viagra buy generic viagra viagra sells online [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra spike
    viagra and metoprotol interaction
    men that have taken viagra
    the real scoop on online viagra
    viagra effect on heart
    real geunine viagra

  11. With thanks! Awesome information.
    over the counter viagra substitutes generic viagra 100mg viagra mug [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    does viagra work for women
    herbal viagra fda
    viagra nebo cialis
    viagra masturbation
    connolly cowper viagra edinburgh pages pregnant
    viagra vision problem

  12. Good data. With thanks!
    viagra and tv commercial viagra 100mg brand viagra without prescription [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra buying online
    order 50mg viagra
    how does viagra cause blindness
    porn and viagra
    poland viagra without prescription
    least expensive generic viagra

  13. Very good facts. Many thanks!
    lung diseases treated with viagra viagra online video viagra [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra type drugs
    cialis cialis genuinerx net viagra
    take cialis soft and viagra together
    what’s the viagra triangle in chicago
    cycling performance viagra
    deleuze on viagra

  14. Lovely info. Thanks a lot.
    taking partial pill of viagra viagra 100mg viagra super active sildenafil [url=]viagra without a doctor prescription[/url]
    viagra ad on shawn hannity
    gout and viagra
    saturday night live viagra commercial
    free viagra
    viagra online online
    olga viagra

  15. You definitely made the point!
    viagra and facial numbness generic viagra 100mg drg generic viagra [url=]buy viagra online[/url]
    viagra best prices
    viagra abuse
    viagra purchase canada
    viagra to order
    subconjunctival hemorrhage caused by viagra
    find search viagra computer free sites

  16. Many thanks. Plenty of knowledge!
    cheap u s viagra viagra without a doctor prescription alternative female natural viagra [url=]viagra without a doctors prescription[/url]
    is viagra harmful to women
    comapre viagra and cialis
    watermelon with men works like viagra
    78 zenegra viagra dose
    maximum viagra dosage
    viagra prescription image

  17. Many thanks, Awesome stuff!
    white rabbit and viagra cheap viagra discount brand viagra by pfizer [url=]generic viagra[/url]
    lawyer in virginia winning viagra lawsuits
    female equivalent to viagra
    does health care cover viagra
    bayer viagra sales
    viagra fuck
    viagra herb

  18. You actually revealed this well.
    what works better cialis or viagra viagra without a doctor prescription when do you take viagra [url=]viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra online sales
    viagra dose for juniors
    boxer viagra molesters
    acumar and viagra
    had a viagra party
    ingrediants in viagra

  19. Wow a lot of wonderful tips!
    how to make home made viagra viagra for women natural substitute for viagra [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    viagra project for
    texas bow hunting viagra
    buy viagra online href
    taking levitra and viagra together
    fda approved cialis female viagra
    viagra reviews critique

  20. Appreciate it, Quite a lot of information.
    joke viagra generic viagra 100mg can you take viagra ecstasy [url=]viagra 100mg[/url]
    mitral valve prolapse and viagra
    best generic viagra
    viagra cost at sams club
    mix epinephrine and viagra
    cheap viagra eu pharmacy
    viagra molecule

  21. Superb content, With thanks.
    cheap cialis viagra viagra for women buy generic viagra cheap [url=]viagra 100mg[/url]
    jack nicholson quote viagra
    viagra for women
    difference viagra levitra cialis
    viagra and anesthesia
    viagra sex domination
    is generic viagra available in india

  22. Thank you. A lot of forum posts!
    mecican viagra generic viagra cheap generic viagra substitute [url=]viagra for women[/url]
    ringing ears after using viagra
    viagra online href foro forum
    cheap order prescription viagra
    viagra norvasc and
    generic viagra lowest prices
    viagra halifax street

  23. Nicely put. Many thanks!
    viagra paten date viagra without a doctor prescription viagra without prescription australia [url=]generic viagra 100mg[/url]
    online viagra overnight
    can viagra be taken with atenol
    g postmessage viagra subject post
    when will there be genaric viagra
    how often can use viagra
    lorazepam viagra

  24. You made your point quite nicely..
    generic viagra cialis and levitra buy viagra online cheapest prices generic viagra [url=]viagra generic[/url]
    viagra canada cheap
    women viagra arousal
    viagra at nudist
    viagra for peyronie’s disease
    how long odes viagra last
    viagra levitra compared

  25. Seriously loads of wonderful info!
    how too make homemade viagra viagra 100mg brand drug generic name viagra [url=]viagra pills[/url]
    drinking viagra
    viagra drug profile
    generic keyword viagra
    viagra prostate remova
    effects of viagra on women
    hur l nge h ller viagra

  26. Seriously plenty of helpful info!
    rush limbaugh arrest viagra buy viagra online viagra find sites computer search edinburgh [url=]viagra online[/url]
    shop for viagra
    how often can i take viagra
    female pleasure viagra
    viagra price cvs walgreen costco
    trouver viagra
    viagra free sites results find search

Lämna ett svar

E-postadressen publiceras inte. Obligatoriska fält är märkta *