Feb
15

Free Video thru Feb. 18 — “Morihei and the Young Bucks of the Aikikai,” by Stanley Pranin”


“Learn what happened to the early uchideshi system and why”

In this screencast, Stanley Pranin analyzes a rare historical photo in which a number of the junior Aikikai instructors from the 1960s appear formally with Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba. He talks about each individual, and the uchideshi system which was replaced by the modern apprentice system.

Duration: 9:18 minutes
Access: free through Saturday, February 18th

Hi, I’m Stanley Pranin, and welcome to another episode of “Focus on History”

Today we’ll look at another historical photo that tells a fascinating story with several parallel threads. This picture was taken inside the Aikikai Hombu Dojo about 1965. First, let’s mention who appears in the photo. They are, from left to right: Minoru Kurita, Kenji Shimizu, Mitsugi Saotome, Mitsunari Kanai, Akira Tohei, then Wakasensei Kisshomaru Ueshiba, Shuji Maruyama, and Nobuyuki Watanabe. In the center seated is, of course, Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

These young men were members of the Aikikai’s staff of junior instructors during this period. Four among them would later relocate abroad–all to the United States–and start a new phase of their careers as official representatives of the Hombu Dojo teaching in the USA..

This would be a good opportunity to mention something about the changeover at the Aikikai from the traditional uchideshi system to the modern apprentice system for developing professional instructors. This change took place around 1963. Formerly, the uchideshi or live-in students actually lived in the Hombu Dojo together with the Ueshiba family. Although it proved to be an effective system to develop skilled young aikido instructors, it was a huge burden on the Ueshiba family who bore most of the expenses and inconveniences of this communal life. The growing popularity of aikido made it impractical to continue in the traditional way, and thus the uchideshi system was abandoned.

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