Aikido Association of America Uchideshi Program

Applications are now being accepted for prospective Aikido uchideshi: resident trainees at AAA Headquarters – Tenshinkan Dojo in Chicago, as well as, Aiki Farms in Connecticut.

Throughout history, committed disciples of an art have resided for a time within the actual training hall or temple. There, a life is lived that is focused on discipline, ceaseless training, and service to others. Through forging of the body and spirit in the crucible of the dojo, these uchideshi –"inside students"- seek to develop true strength and wisdom.

Though it has never been an easy life, the rewards to the committed seeker are great.

The uchideshi tradition has continued strongly in Aikido. AAA Founder Fumio Toyoda Shihan instituted his Uchideshi Program based on his own experience in Japan as a live-in trainee at the famous Ichikukai Dojo misogi and Zen training) and at Aikikai Hombu Dojo (Aikido). Toyoda Shihan himself was the first uchideshi under the late Doshu Kisshomaru Ueshiba, and is credited with re-establishing such training at Aikido World H.Q., where it had been discontinued with the death of Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei.

In the tradition of Toyoda Shihan, uchideshi training involves intensive daily training in Aikido and Zen meditation, and the learning of all aspects of Aikido dojo operation on local, national, and international levels. Excellence in technique and instruction is developed. Aside from physical training, intense instruction for personal development is given. Toyoda Shihan viewed this training as the necessary foundation of his Professional Instructor Training Program.

What should emerge from this training is a new person, like a brilliant sharp sword emerging from rough iron through the action of hammer and fire. The uchideshi learns to see this very body and mind, moment to moment, as the true dojo. Life in this way becomes shugyo: the deepest possible physical and spiritual training.

Uchideshi are permitted to maintain daytime jobs. They reside at Tenshinkan Dojo, and adhere to a rigorous daily schedule. An application and interview is required before acceptance is granted. A three month probation period is given, for both the student and AAA Headquarters to gauge the potential success of participation. Interested persons should be in sufficient health to endure an average of four hours of Aikido training per day; there are no age, gender or other restrictions.

If you would like more information about our uchideshi program, please complete the below contact form. We will contact you regarding your interest as soon as possible. You may also call us at 1 (773) 525-3141.

As of 2013, the Aikido Association of America is excited to announce a new uchideshi experience in conjunction with Aiki Farms and City Aiki (Shoshinkan Dojo). This program will immerse the student in traditional training in Aikido, Zen, Iaido, and Farming. Another focal point of the program will be instructional methodology.

Both O-Sensei and Fumio Toyoda Shihan had roots in farming. The founder was known to often say, “budo and farming are one.”

The student will be required to split time living at Aiki Farms and City Aiki.

Aiki Farms is a traditional Aikido dojo located on a growbiointensive farm in Ledyard, CT. City Aiki is a non-profit organization dedicated to the teaching of Aiki Arts to men, women, and children.

Robert Burns Sensei founded Aiki Farms in Ledyard, CT in 2001, bringing together his twin passions of Aikido and farming. Burns Sensei believes that the knowledge of cultivation and nutrition gained through farming significantly increases ones' understanding of the depth and complexity of Aikido. He was an uchideshi student of T.K. Chiba, Shihan, a direct student (uchideshi) of O-Sensei.

Rick Testa Sensei is dojo cho of City Aiki and a professional Aikido instructor. He was long time deshi of Frank Gallo Sensei, who is the founder of Shoshikan Dojo and Eastern Regional Director of the AAA.

If you have inquires about this program, please contact the AAA Headquarters at 1 (773) 525 - 3141 or via email with

Full Name:
Phone Number:
Please describe your previous Aikido or other training experience:
Rank (s) attained:
Reason for interest:
Home|About Us|Founder|Services|Seminars|Members|Photos|Tactical|Contact Us
Copyright © 2014 Aikido Association of America. All rights reserved.
1016 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, IL 60657 USA
Phone: (773) 525-3141 Fax: (773) 525-5916 E-mail: