I leave for Mexico with my family a week from today. Its been a long winter and I’m really looking forward to the sun and beach! While there I am hoping to do a whole lot of nothing. Aside from checking out nature, dolphins and sitting on the beach.
I am an avid reader so I have begun my reading list for while I am there. One of the books on that list that I recently picked up is Blue Eyed Samurai – 1000 days in the Young Lions Dormitory, by Nicholas Pettas.
Pettas was among the last uchi deshi (live-in student) of Sosai Oyama Masutatsu. Uchi-deshi usually live in the dōjō or the home of the teacher. He serves the teacher all day, every day. A student who joins in an uchideshi program lives at a dojo not only to train. Every part of his daily life becomes part of the training as well, from cleaning and choirs to helping out. Traditionally in Japan, this kind of training has been available only to those students who were earnest about dedicating their time for serious practice.
From the books description:
Nicholas Pettas, takes you along on his adventure as an eager, 18-year-old boy going from Copenhagen, Denmark to the other side of the globe. Here, in Tokyo, Japan, he doesn’t just find himself in another country, but in a different world altogether.
The rigorous life of an uchi deshi is filled with drama and the struggle to survive. Even more so for a Western uchi deshi, thrown into an environment where everything is different – the food, the language, the life-style and, above all, the karate. Literally having to fight for his survival on a daily basis, Nicholas turns to his inner self to search for the strength needed to fulfil his dream of completing the daunting 1000-day karate course.
Becoming a true lion in the art and sport of karate, and the last non-Japanese to complete Master Oyama’s course, today, author Nicholas Pettas is known in Japan as “The Blue-eyed Samurai”, an acknowledgment of his true Samurai Spirit.
I am really looking forward to reading the book while on vacation, and I’ll give it a full review after. Before that, I found this interview with Nicholas Pettes talking about the program. And below that a video of a very young Nicholas Pettes as a uchi deshi. Enjoy.