This page aims to provide some general information about the uchi deshi traineeship that people may follow in our school. This is an exceptional and very rarely offered opportunity for people wishing to dive into an intense practice of the martial art and Way of life which is Aikido. Don't hesitate to contact us if you desire to learn more about these intensive eductation program.


Uchi deshi

Uchi deshi  means “internal student”, strictly speaking, it is traditionally a person who lives in the Dojo in order to follow the master's teaching extensively and to participate completely to the dojo life. 

Soto deshi  means "external student", it refers to students who are deeply invested and engaged in learning the discipline which is transmitted without staying at Dojo. A soto deshi, and even more an uchi deshi is not a conventional student, it is a student who decides to devote him-/herself entirely to the study and learning of the subject taught by the master as well as to strictly follow his instructions. The proximity and intensity of relationship between the student and the teacher provide unattainable opportunities under normal conditions, these include:

  • Achieving an understanding and an extremely advanced level of practice,
  • A very exceptional life experience leading the student to discover a lot about him-/herself and increasing his or her maturity,
  • A unique opportunity to find yourself, learn to know your limits.

It is fundamental that the uchi/soto deshi have total confidence in the fact that the master will transmit the most knowledge possible and use the techniques and the most appropriate ways to do this. The master on his side is totally committed to the uchi/soto deshi and constantly trying every possible way to make progress on the Way.

Uchi deshi traineeship in our school

Because experience have shown, that in order to bring real and stable changes and evolution, you need some time. For a complete traineeship, you must count arround 9 months. These can be executed in several pieces of minimum 1 month each.  
An uchi deshi sleeps at the dojo from 1 night per week to every night, depending on the agreement which is established.
The uchi deshi program is specific to each person and depends on his/her capacities, level of knowledge in Aikido, amount of time he/she can invest, etc. Before anything is started a contract is signed where everything is clearly specified.
Requirements are:

  • Minimum 4th kyu in Aikido and minimum 2 years of Aikido practice.
  • A mean of minimum of 2-3 aikido trainings per week over the last 6 months before the uchi deshi traineeship.
  • Very very high motivation and wish to learn.
  • Being ready to work very hard, but in exchange you receive unpayable things and experiences.



The uchi deshi traineeship is under the general responsibility of Eric Graf. The uchi deshi may be coached in parralell by Sonja Graf for establishing a personal meditation program, and for support or advices in their personal development. Sonja is also responsible for the children education and training in our schools and she transmits her knowledge and experience in these fields to the uchi deshi.


Price of the Uchi deshi traineeship

The price depends on the intensity and length of the traineeship. But you must count with something between 600 and 800 EUR per month for a full time uchi deshi. That price includes:

  • Commodities for uchi deshi at the dojo (sleeping in uchi deshi room, computer with Internet access, changing rooms & showers, fridge, small kitchen),
  • Participation to all the training program of our dojo (cities of Neuchâtel & Biel): Aikido, weapons (jo, bokken, tanto, hojo), Genkikai, Meditation, Energetic exercises,
  • Private uchi deshi trainings,
  • Access to the dojo library with lots of books on Aikido and personal development.

At the charge of the uchi deshi in addition to the uchi deshi fee: food & drinks, seminars and travels, cleaning his/her clothes, etc.

Content of Uchi deshi traineeship

The uchi deshi program will train you in the complete aikido sanshinkai system (i.e. Aikido + Kashima shinden jikishinkage-ryu hojo no kata + Genkikai-regenerative gymnastics & energetic exercises & meditation). this is an heritage from Masatomi Ikeda sensei and Michele Quaranta sensei, with inspirations and new aspects received from Zoran Gruicic sensei and Pasquale Aiello sensei, that we develop constantly. you will be teached about the basics of that system and participate to the developpement of it. a personal weekly scheddule is established for each uchi deshi. the latter contains:

  • Intensive training in Aikido, weapons (jo, bokken, tanto, hojo), Genkikai, Meditation, Energetic exercises (up to 20 hours a week),
  • Participation to dojo life: cleaning the dojo, handicrafts etc.
  • Participation to dojo work: helping in the conception pedagogical teachings material, for example books, DVD’s.
  • Participation to all the seminars organized by or including the Dojo.
  • Personal aikido training & meditation program.
  • List of books to read and to discuss together.

A full time Uchi deshi dedicates him/herself 100% in the Aikido world.
In principle 1 day per week may be off, except if there are some special seminars.