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My Son Becomes Uchi-Deshi

Kawaraban No. 66


the head of the Tendokan, Kenji Shimizu

My son Kenta has formally become Uchideshi (apprentice). It seems he had been having such hoping to for a long time, but I was not sure if he would make that decision. I was thinking that if were serious about becoming Uchideshi, then he should first go overseas for a couple of years to experience life on his own for a while. When I brought up my thoughts, Kenta said, he would rather train hard beside me. I think the reason being that because I am not so young, he did not want to miss the opportunity. I was not sure whether I should take delight in his decision but I just said all right to him for the time being, but in my heart, I wanted to praise my son for being so serious about his future.

While I was training under Sensei Morihei Ueshiba as an Uchideshi, he always told me, "you make me feel young, Shimizu." I believe it was due to the fact that he made me to do so much Ukemi, and I immersed myself in it everyday. Sensei Kisaburo Osawa, Dojo-cho-Daiko (deputy chief of dojo) at the time also used to make the same comment. Perhaps, there was bustling energy that kept everyone going forward. The days of training were so intense that I felt like I was thrown in the laundry machine.

Kenta has been training since elementary school, but to become a professional, everything starts from now on. As it is often said, Budo is the discipline of mind and body it is essential to have both techniques and right attitude of the heart. Especially in Aikido, one needs to build up and enrich the Kiryoku (spiritual energy).Even if one’s technique is extraordinary, it will be put to the test in the real situation. In such situation, it can be difficult to make the right judgement and that is why we need to train day-and-night.

Regardless of how much I coach my son in preparation, it is up to Kenta. I am hoping he will breath new life into the dojo. It means nothing if he does not advance and if he cannot break with convention, he will be a washout as an instructor. It is essential for him to keep the dojo fresh. On top of this, I hope that Kenta continues to make me feel young.

© by Tendokan