A short interview with Shihan Arthur Hovhannisyan on the subject of the Uchi-deshi course, which takes place within the walls of the Kawaguchi Dojo.
At present, Shihan is an instructor of So-Honbu of the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan (IKO) in Kawaguchi, and he is one of those people, thanks to whom this course was revived, and hundreds of coaches and athletes have the opportunity and chance to immerse into the traditions of Japan and training.
The interview will provide answers to some questions of those people who are interested in this topic and want to learn more about the course: details, chances and opportunities to get there.
We express our gratitude to Shihan for finding in his busy schedule the time to communicate with us. And we are glad that this interview is published on his birthday.
Shihan, thanks for finding the time to answer a few questions.
Now in social networks, we often see photos and videos of coaches and athletes who are taking a course in Japan, and I would like to talk about this a bit.
To begin with, I would like to know what the Uchi-deshi course is like today.
Firstly, thanks for your interest in the program and thanks for the questions. I will try my best to answer thoroughly to each question of interest not only to you, but, I hope, to your many readers.
Today there are programs for 15 days, 30 days, 60 days and 90 days. The number of trainings and their schedule depend on the direction of the program!
Programs have 3 main directions:
“Warrior” – preparation for tournaments, training with a fighting bias.
“Become better” – “rewrite / reload” of all the information, starting with the basics, ending with “Sushiho”. Trainings are aimed both at successful passing the exam, and at upgrading instructor’s qualifications.
“Immersion in tradition” – the closest acquaintance with the traditions of not only karate, but also of Japan as a whole. The rituals, etiquette and subtleties of life of the Japanese dojo.
Most of the programs were created, most likely, by Sosai, and systematized by me, based on today’s realities and needs, based on my personal experience of repeatedly going through the Uchi-deshi program in Honbu and the constant advice of Shihan Gorai and Kancho.
Is the program always the same for each coming group, or does something change depending on the course participants?
At the same time to us can come people for different directions. Their training will go independently, only sometimes intersecting (for example, during running or swimming). But even in such cases, everyone will have their own task.
What is the maximum number of people that you can take at the same time?
5 or 6 people. Depending on whether there are girls in this group or not.
As far as I know, for some time this program was closed and thanks to you, many people again had a chance to take part in it. How many years has there been a break in the course, thanks to whom and why did you manage to revive it? How did you come to this?
For several years there was a break due to technical problems. But thanks to the support and blessing of Kancho, the program was restored. Also Shihan Katsuhito Gorai has provided tremendous support, and still does it.
In addition I must express my gratitude in helping to restore the Uchi-deshi program to Shihan Ronen, Shihan Ipatov, Shihan Pukas, Shihan Alymov, Shihan Belov. All of them made an invaluable contribution to the recovery and development of the Uchi-deshi program.
And, of course, a special role in this matter was played by Sensei Bashlykov, who, with each Uchi-deshi course (and he had a lot of them), not only 100% absorbed the knowledge and atmosphere of the program, but also with complete “self-denial” shared the knowledge and best practices with us, which helped to make the program even better and more perfect!
5. By what criteria is the participant selected, what qualities should the applicant have in order to be able to take a course of Uchi-deshi?
Everything is very simple. He must love Karate and martial arts with all the cells of the body and soul.
The candidates for participation in the course are applied by the leaders of the countries (regions), Honbu decides whether the applicant will participate or declines him, and if they approve him, I coordinate the dates of participation.
Because of what they can refuse and not approve the course participant?
There are no exact criteria. There is a purely individual approach to this issue.
Were there such cases that someone could not complete the course?
From the moment I was appointed as the person in charge of the course, only one student did not complete the course. And this happened for family reasons.
Is the financial issue always one of the key points, does the road and stay in the country fall on the shoulders of the participants or does Honbu cover part of the costs?
This aspect is also decided individually!
There are several options:
• Honbu pays for everything
• Honbu pays for meals during the course
• Honbu provides a significant discount
• The candidate pays for everything
This summer, among the participants, was Alexander Eremenko, whose program was different from others. Why was there such an exception to the general program and whose idea it was? (an interview with Alexander Eremenko about his course of uchi-deshi)
As I already answered above, I approach the preparation of each Uchi-deshi individually, so that the efficiency would be maximal.
Specifically, concerning Eremenko’s case: it was a joint idea of Max Dedik, me and personally Alexander, and it was approved by Shihan Ipatov. And directly in the implementation of this idea, took participation many leaders of Honbu and other Japanese brunches, and me.
Was the list of dojos and coaches, which were visited by Alexander, determined in advance, or was everything decided locally?
The entire program was determined in advance.
What was the reaction of the dojo leaders and athletes to such an idea, how did they perceive it?
We all do one common thing! The Sosai Oyama’s mission! We are a Kyokushin family!
Many do not understand why you need to take such a course, because you can practice and load yourself with hard physical training at home.
Those who don’t understand, they don’t come here. Everything has its time.
Shihan, thank you for telling the readers about the Uchi-deshi course!
I am sure that many of the readers have received answers to their questions. We wish this course to develop further and continue accepting participants without any breaks.
Thank you very much.
Photos and videos from different courses, You can look at Arthur’s Facebook page.
📸Roman Odessky @roman.odessky
Photographing kyokushin events (tournament, camp, seminar)