Aikido - Living in All Dimensions

Historical Aiki-En

In 1942 the Founder Morihei Ueshiba built in Iwama, Japan, the Aiki-Jinja (Shrine) and established an Aiki-En (En = Garden, Farm) to study the principles of Aiki, living, working and training amidst the nature. There, the Art of Peace came to full blossom. Through the decades many students lived at this place to study the Way of Aiki directly under the Founder. These Uchi Deshi (live-in students) shared life as a community transfering daily practise, self sufficient working and living close to the nature.

After O-Sensei passed away, Morihiro Saito Sensei preserved the structure and methods of training, sharing his life with Uchi Deshi at the Iwama Dojo. This traditional way of living Aikido with full commitment in one place ended with the death of Morihiro Saito Sensei in 2002.

Nowadays, it is still possible to train, but not to live at the Iwama Dojo under guidance of different teachers coordinated by the Aikikai Honbu Dojo in Tokyo.

Aiki-En and the Uchi Deshi (live-in student) Program

In traditional martial arts (Budo) it is distinguished between Uchi (inner, live-in) Deshi and Soto (outer) Deshi (student). From time immemorial the live-in student was the classical student of martial arts. Until a hundred years ago, in the Okzident, it was the same with craftsmen apprentices, living in the house of the master of the craft.

The Soto Deshi (Outer or from-outside-student) is a modern appearance. He is practising Aikido beside his professional and family life, quite often just as a hobby. Longstanding perseverance in training and caution in the coordination of his experience in Aikido with his "real" life can lead him on his way to mastery. This either not easy!

The Uchi Deshi lives inside the Dojo, just like a former crafts apprentice in a workshop, and takes part of the life of the master. "Aikido-apprentices" do not only practise Aikido on the mat, but live together like a family ("Kazoku no Kimochi de") under the supervision of their Sensei. Rigorous and intensive, physical and mental work and training and a quasi-monastic commitment to the Aiki-Do determine daily life. The Dojo is serving as a "workshop" or "laboratory", where attitude, habit and relation is studied. Living together with like-minded Unexpierenced (Kohai), Elders (Sempai) and the Teacher (Sensei) serves as a permanent excercise platform of putting the AIKI-Principle into practice. Therefore, the training of an Uchi Deshi is not only extensive study of all Aikido techniques, but also enclose instructions for constant transfer of knowledge into daily life.

At the Aiki-En everybody can commit oneself to the study of the Way of Aiki temporarely (1 month up to some years), without compromises, which a normal (outside) life (Job, Family) usually is demanding. In a preserved atmosphere one can aquire the basis to become a strengthened personality, fit for life, who is able to follow his destination decisive and perseverant. Nonetheless, after the stay everybody has to foster the akquired abilities "outside" in the society.

Die Ursprünge des Aiki-En

Der Begründer Morihei Ueshiba erbaute 1942 den Aiki-Jinja (Schrein) in Iwama, Japan und gründete das Aiki-En (En = Garten, Hof), um in der Natur die Prinzipien des Aiki im Leben, Arbeiten und Trainieren zu studieren. Dort, am Aiki-En entfaltetet die Kunst des Friedens sich zu ihrer vollen Blüte. Über die Jahrzente lebten viele Schüler an diesem Ort und studierten den Weg des Aik direkt beim Begründer. Als Uchi Deshi (Hausschüler) lebte man in einer Gemeinschaft das Aiki-Do, indem man täglich Aikido trainierten, selbstversorgerisch arbeiteten und in Harmonie mit der Natur lebte.

Nach dem Tod von O-Sensei, bewahrte Morihiro Saito Sensei die Trainings-Strukturen und -Methoden, ebenso wie das Angebot des Gemeinschaftslebens als Uchi Deshi am Aiki-En in Iwama. Dieser traditionelle Weg das Aiki-Do zu leben und sich diesem Leben am Aiki-En ganz zu widmen, endete 2002 mit dem Tod von Morihiro Saito Sensei.

Heute ist es immer noch möglich, im Iwama Dojo unter der Anleitung von unterschiedlichen Lehreren zu trainieren, die vom Aikikai Honbu Dojo in Tokyo koordiniert und gesandt werden. Ein Leben als Uchi Deshi im Iwama Dojo ist in der ursprünglichen Form nicht mehr möglich.