Interview with uchi deshi – 1982 approx.
Talking about the permanent students at Honbu, it is nowadays very silent. The 3rd year Uchi deshi have completed their 1000 days of training and left. We are still waiting for the new first years to come.
A couple of days before they left, I asked the boys some questions. Akimoto Takuya is the Ryocho (that means he was appointed by Sosai to be the responsible one. Mostly Sosai chooses the eldest Uchi deshi but Yamamoto was already charged of being Sosai’s driver.)
Being the Ryocho means hard work, as this person has to keep order in the dormitory and settle all little problems (avoiding bothering Sosai) and to keep peace in the place. Sometimes this is very difficult, if the personalities of the other Uchi deshi do not get along.
Personalities are very different indeed, as suggests following interview:
Oda Katsuyuki, the rather silent one, Okumura Kazuyuki, the talkative one (not realizing that he frustrates all foreigners speaking a little Japanese, by mumbling the dialect of his hometown ‘) All agree that Okumura is the most vivacious personality (please read tumultuous !) in contrast to Fukuda who was even too reserved to answer my questions. Still if some job required a patient, handy person, it was Fukuda to do it. Yamamoto was too much engaged with his job, so that he could not find the time to answer the questions.
Q: Why did you want to become an Uchi deshi ?
AKIMOTO: I respected Sosai’s way of thinking very much. I had read all this books in my High School time. As there was no dojo at my place, I started judo. It looked stronger than those other styles ! After High School I got my chance to start full contact Karate.
ODA: I wanted to become strong very soon. I It goes faster as an Uchi deshi I chose Kyokushin because it is full contact, there is no do Jo near to where I lived, I practiced one year another style, when I was at High School, but later I changed for baseball.
OKUMURA: Sosai’s books arose my interest. At my High School time I started Kyokushin and
took part in tournaments
(Note from the editor: he took part in tournament before he became Uchi deshi. He was in fact a brownbelter when he started the Uchi dcshilife, but he had to gird on a white belt ! He did not make any problem about that rule. And when I asked him again why he started as an IJct.i deshi, as he got already so far, he starts talking about the beautiful girls in Tokyo…)
Q: What was for you the hardest thing in those 3 years ?
AKIMOTO: The first year is hard physically. But now, if I come to think about it, it was easy. You just had to do what you were told. The second year, we trained hard, but it was fun. The third year, I had all the responsibility; if a Ist year or a 2nd year student made a mistake, I was the one responsible ( = the one to be scolded !) however I had sometimes nothing to do with it
ODA: The first year was terribly hard. We had to do a lot of work and in fact few training Spiritually that is very hard, The rules are strict, and you have to get used to it, Also the communication be: seen senpai and kohai (senior and junior in degree) is difficult. As soon as one becomes brown belt (mostly in 2nd year) training becomes hard. Only as a 3rd year Uchi deshi one’s training schedule is really fixed.
OKUMURA: The first year was hard because of all the work to be done, and all the pressure of sempais, The 2nd year was more at ease, there was only the thought about the weight division tournament at Osaka, for which I had to prepare.
At my 3rd year time the pressure was bigger, because then I had the 17th All Japan Tournament to deal with.
Q: How do you feel about instructing ?
AKIMOTO: it is difficult. You cannot think about your own training. When you stand in front of the dojo, you have to excercise for everybody’s sake, so that everybody becomes strong, yourself including.
But if you only train for yourself..
ODA: I prefer to be taught. I am not good in it yet.
(Note from the editor: I know the students think quite the opposite !)
OKUMURA: That is my own training, I train what I tee! like, it is no problem. If the white belts do not understand right away s hat I mean, they have to think it over, and they will understand later.
Q: Do your have some funny memories ?
AKIMOTO: Real funny memories, I have not. Generally speaking, these 3 years were very hard. Now it is over, and if I come to think about it, it awas not that bad after all. It is like a tournament, first I really hate to do it, but considered afterwards, it becomes a sweet memory.
ODA: in my Ist and 2nd year I was always glad to have my day off ! Then I went to the pictures. In my 3rd year, I started weight training. Before there was not time for that,
OKIUMURA: I made a lot of friends, like the other Uchi deshi, but amongst other students as well
Q: What do you think of your last test ?
AKIMOTO: For myself, it could have been better. I want to try it again next year. (For Sandan) As I have to prove I am strong, to myself, to Sosai and for my Kohais (juniors in degree), if the sempai (senior) is not strong, it is a bad feeling for the Kohais,
ODA: Sosai always says I cannot rely on my kicks alone. I still have to work a lot on my punch, it has to become a lot stronger. I can only take part in a Tournament if I am more confident, I hare losing, (Who does not ?)
OKUMURA: 20men kumite is hard, but compared to a tournament, it is not so hard, because in a tournament for sure you only meet strong opponents,
Q: What are you planning to do in the future ?
AKIMOTO: I am planning to be an Uehi deshi for another 3 years at Goda Shihan’s dojo. I want to take part in a lot of tournaments, for sure the All Japan Tournament. I fact, I only want to become a champion.
ODA: I want to continue my training and work parttime. That is hard, but as my sempais can do it, it shows it is not impossible. My actual goal is the All Japan Tournament, I want to stay in Tokyo till I am 27, and after I studied acupuncture, I want to go back to my country tow :.
But in fact you never know, one day or the other we, Uchi dehi, can get a phone call from Sosai, that there is an instructor wanted abroad, and then it might sound tempting. .
OKI MU RA: I am planning to go home, to help my father with his business Of course I will continue Karate, but on my own. My place is very remote, so I will not start a dojo. But I am planning to take part in the local tournament of Ishikawa and the All Japan Tournament.
I sincerely hope the boys will make their way !!