Deshi Program

Aikido Yoshinkai NSW Deshi/ Dojosei Programme

AYNSW offers Aikido practitioners the chance to further their knowledge of Yoshinkan Aikido through an intensive training program in Sydney. As a dojosei or deshi , you are required to attend every class, including after-class training and contribute to the upkeep of the dojo. This is a traditional Japanese system where the student is given a great opportunity to intensify their learning of budo, directly from the teacher.  The intensive program runs across all of the classes held at AYNSW.  While these are a mix of beginner & general classes, participants in the intensive program will be expected to “step up” in every session.

What is Budo?

The study of aikido is two fold.  On one side is simply learning the physical steps required to perform each technique.  Correct hand and foot placement, posture etc.  This in itself is very important and requires a teacher of experience.  It is also easy to quantify and can be represented easily in book or video form. The other side of this is the correct understanding of budo to accompany the techniques.  Budo is the operating system to accompany the martial arts techniques.  The term is Japanese and translates as “martial way”.  It is essentially about developing the correct mindset and focus to allow delivery of the techniques.  Without this, the techniques are somewhat empty and become simply a shape or form.

Budo is the attitude that accompanies the martial art.  It is transmitted through the techniques and is best understood by partnering with a senior teacher, taking uke for them.  This then allows the clearest and most direct link.  Students who enter the deshi / dojosei program therefore are expected to be ready at all times to be uke for the instructor.  By doing this they receive the best instruction, feeling the technique as it is applied.  This is furthered by additional feedback and explanation as it is warranted.

Deshi or Dojosei?

AYNSW offers 2 ways to commit to intensive training, deshi or dojosei.  The deshi program requires a 1 year commitment.  The dojosei is for people who want to undertake a period of intensive training from 1 week to 3 months.

The dojo is able to provide limited accommodation for those who are interested in either the Dojosei or Uchi Deshi programs.  For further details contact the dojo.

Deshi is a very special role in Japanese artistic studies, particularly martial arts.  It is similar to being in an apprenticeship, but in Japan the deshi is often in this role for many years.  AYNSW offers a 1 year on going deshi program.  Successful applicants to this program will be expected to maintain the commitment for 1 year.  Deshi are expected to train all classes.  Prior to commencement  of the year, the dojo must be advised of  any schedule problems due to outside commitments such as work.  The dojo must be informed of any additional absences throughout the year.  Aside from the commitment to training, deshi will be tasked in certain areas of the dojo such as cleaning, assisting with kids classes, leading warm ups and assisting the instructor with seminars and presentations throughout the year.

Dojosei is for those who want to undertake an intensive training experience but cannot commit to the period of 1 year.  Dojosei undertake to attend all classes and must advise the dojo of any absences in advance. Dojosei will be assigned cleaning & other duties during the period of their training and will be expected to be ready at all times to be uke for the instructor.


I took up Aikido for many reasons, but the main reason was because I wanted and needed focus. I was a well weathered 40-year old that was in need of guidance and a path to help work out my life’s frustrations.

Aikido did that. Or should I say Yoshinkan Aikido helped change my behavior and actions resulting in more positive outcomes in my everyday life. My only regret in life now is I should have found this art when I was a kid.

3 months ago I spoke with Darren Sensei and asked if he would take me on as Dojosei. I was seeking a more intensive training then I was getting as a regular student, having started 9 months earlier.

I work full time. My employers believe in their employees showing good values and behaviour. What better way than through Budo. So when I got the ok from Darren Sensei I asked work if I could go permanent part time for three months to take on the roll as Dojosei. They said yes to me working three full days Mon, Wed, Fri and allowing me to train all day Tues, Thursday and Saturday, taking annual leave and rostered days off for the time spent at the dojo.

It was time to step it up a notch. It wasn’t long before I was to find out that that notch was going to be a huge step up. Not only in commitment, but it proved to be more physically and mentally challenging than I had expected.

I was taken back when Sensei told me that I would be the first to take up the opportunity to become Dojosei. I couldn’t have been prouder to know that I’m to be bestowed with such an honour and privilege as the first….and defiantly not the last Dojosei @ AYNSW. That’s the call to you guys and girls who want that little extra in your future training to consider becoming a Dojosei.

My physical fitness improved, my ukemi improved (solely due to the Sensei having his game face on when he came up against me and I felt the true power he has on offer), my etiquette improved, my Kihon dosa had improved. My technique improved 10 fold. My life improved outside the dojo. My work life improved.

One thing Darren Sensei said to me while I was doing the Dojosei was that I shouldn’t leave anything in reserve. Go all out or you won’t grow. So I felt I did… And I felt I grew from this and continue to grow every time I step onto the mat. Any chance I get with work to do the Dojosei course again I will jump at the chance. So until then I will listen to those words of wisdom and continue to leave nothing in reserve so that I can grow in every way possible.


Campbell Douglas

Aikido Classes in Marrickville, Inner West Sydney.