First I would like to expose some “slight” differences of
the various meanings of the word Uchi Deshi, which
today is used with such lightness, that almost touches
Uchi Deshi " internal student " and truthful "apprentice"
in the traditional sense of the word, of professional
instructor, this Uchi Deshi with the formal and traditional
training, died really with O´Senseis of the past.
The truthful Uchi Deshi had an extremely hard training of
normally 35 hours weekly minimum, not only phisical but
mental and psychological, he had to be the first to begin
and the last to finish, the last one to eat, he had to clean the
Dojo dailly, the floor, the dressrooms, to dust everything,
clean the garden, sweep the the Dojo´s entrance and the
street side walk in front of the house, had to serve the
Sensei and the Senpai, he could not speak unless he was
asked a question, in travel he had to carry the luggage, check
the WC before the Sensei enter, had to check the hotel room
before the Sensei install himself, he had to prevent people
from crossing the Sensei´s way, he had to aply massage
when the Sensei had back pains, shoulders pains, etc... he
had equally to coordinate the courses, to assist the Sensei
and help the participants, he was however, Sensei´s
companion and confident. This was the training of the
Uchi Deshi, that besides being a "internal student", he
was more of an " internal disciple "...
One says that : " once an Uchi Deshi ... always an
Uchi Deshi " because few reached the level of Sensei and
the endurance of this training would be carved forever in
the personality and character of the "internal student".
Today, the tradition of the Uchi Deshi continues, but it is
now a lot more Soto Deshi (external student) with some
tasks in the Dojo, in terms of bureaucracy, attend visitors,
to coordinate courses, send letters, to organize meetings,
finally help in the extra tasks, he does not live in the Dojo
and normally he doesn´t have the tasks of cleaning and
maintenance of the Dojo, this is the today´s standard of
the Uchi Deshi in Japan and in the World, for last there
is the " title " of Uchi Deshi with the respective Diploma...
awarded by some Masters of several Martial Arts...
after a week-end´s Keiko or at the end of a Gashuku ...
So it is necessary, not to confuse the several meanings,
levels of difficulty, the depth and seriousness of the
traditional teachings based on effort, self-denial and total
delivery of the Deshi, Sensei and Dojo, what gives content
to the traditional function of the Uchi Deshi of the past.
I thank, Nambu Sensei for the opportunity, he gave me
in Paris (1967~1970), to be his Uchi Deshi and for all the
teachings he provided me, in the simple way, with
no " exoticism " or " maestro " like conduct.
I thank even more, my Master and friend, Hayabuchi
O'Sensei, (deseased 1998) for the rare opportunity, in
(1971~1973), of accepting me as his Uchi Deshi, in
a period when a Westerner, wasn´t even accepted as
a student in the Iaido Dojos, outside Tokyo, so, as an
" internal student " it was totally unthinkable and for
many, it was simply " unacceptable "...