Russian Uchi Deshi in Japan

Originally posted on the Kyokushin Portal and republished here in English with permission.

“Uchi deshi does what others can not or are afraid.” Victor Kurylenko and Ivan Kungurov share their impressions (Rengokai)


In Japan, the uchi deshi – called live-in disciple, live in the house of the teacher (sensei) or at the dojo.
Besides completing the course, the responsibility of the uchi deshi includes the execution of all chores in the home (cleaning, washing items, his sensei, and so on). The teacher, in turn, provides his uchi deshi food and clothing.
Now uchi deshi can even call a student who does not live in the teacher’s home or in the dojo, but he performs the duties of an uchi deshi in full.

In the very first Kyokushin uchi deshi was Bobby Lowe (Bobby Lowe). These uchi deshi became known as Wakajishi, or the “Young Lions” of Mas Oyama.

Since March 2014, Victor Kurylenko and Ivan Kungurov have be in Japan as uchi deshi. All the while they train under the guidance of Shihan Yoshikadzu Koi (Director of the International Organization IKO All Japan Kyokushin Union) and take part in competitions which take place in Japan. We asked Ivan and Victor to share their experiences and talk about their experience in Japan.
Tomorrow, November 16, Ivan and Victor will participate in the All Japan Championship.


Thank you for taking the time to share with our readers about your stay in Japan. How did you got into this program?

Ivan: Extr itself was not. I received an offer from Kramysheva of Alexander (President SCCR), asking if I would like to go to Japan, if there was such an opportunity? After some hesitation I agreed.
When Victor found out about this, he asked me to find out whether they were selecting others candidates for the trip. When I made the request, it immediately became clear who else was to go. After all, few people could can decide to take this step, drop everything and go to study the art of Kyokushin day and night, especially because no one had any idea what would await us there.
Initially, there were three candidates for the trip. But in the end we left with two. This program needed people who with the character that can go all the way and endure all the upcoming tests.
Victor: We have extensive experience in the study of Kyokushin. For example, I have been doing it since 1999, enough competitive experience and little experience as instructors, and of devotion to this type of karate! Generally, they needed crazy patriots in their field, who would be able to leave the house a year and devote themselves to training.
Our candidates were sent for consideration to Japan. All this time we showed themselves at the training camp and tournament, attended by Shihan Koi (to whom we are actually going). We fully understand that just because someone is not clear and, they would not be taken as uchi deshi.



Victor, why did you decide to participate in this program and what did you expect from it?

Such offers come once in a lifetime and it is not for all, and I am a man looking for adventure and not wanting to live an ordinary life, so I immediately agreed. I was not even thinking about the difficulties that awaited me there. I wanted to test and temper my character and spirit, and how to let go of Vanka one in another country.
But there was a lot of nuances, we have received information pieces, not all at once. Yes, it turned out later that we were going to different cities, and live in different dojo.
In general, the expectation of the trip and the news is scary for us, and just the feeling of fear and uncertainty.
To learn martial arts in it’s home land is expensive, but I felt so lucky for the ticket, like I won a lottery. Wow!
Waiting for the trip, understanding of Budo, immersion in traditions, new friends, memories not only as karate, but also as a person.
Yes, and the information from the original source still expensive.

For how long is the trip?

Ivan: The trip is designed for 1 year, with no specific date of departure. The first visa was granted to us for 3 months, then got a new still for 1 year.

How did you solve the issue your school studies and with how your parents would react when they were told that you are flying for a long time to Japan?

Victor: In the study I took a sabbatical.
Parents will always worry and worry about their children, but they realize that I need it. We told them and describe everything that is waiting for us, and what this trip will give us. They understood, and let us go without any problems. Actually my parents are one team. Well when parents support their children in what they are doing and why dedicate their lives.

In mid-March, you were in Japan, how was it met?
Victor: We first flew from Barnaul to Moscow, then in hot Qatar, and from there to Tokyo. The flight to Tokyo was very long, we ate and slept sitting up, but even in this situation, I managed to lose an expensive ring for me. Probably while sleeping, even though it wasn’t hanging off my finger, in general. It’s a mystery. I got very upset, it symbolizes the presence of one specific person next to me and meant a lot to me. But then I did a surprise cam in the form of a letter about the lost ring, then the parcel arrived to Shihan Koi, and he in turn gave it to me. Now I am calm.
Then we went to Okinawa, where we waited Futoshi san (apprentice of Shihan Yasuhiro Sichinohe, first dan, he was like 47 years). He invited us to visit in his hotel when we fly there. Then we went to eat, eat a lot, then it seemed like a lot and not familiar. Then we stopped at the dojo where guests Shihan Koi and conducted a seminar there. After a short meeting we went to the hotel to Futoshi. Spent one week there, took part in the tournament, and then moved closer to the Dojo Shihan Sichinohe where actually practiced. Then a flight was coming to Toyama, where we were met by the very Sheehan Yoshikadzu Koi. After a short lunch we went straight to the gym. As the saying goes “from the ship to the ball.”



What was your impression of the new country that immediately caught your eye and memories?
Ivan: Okinawa was impressive to us with their hospitality, compassion, kindness and generosity of the people. For example, we had such a indue that we wanted to drive to the beach, but did not know how to get there. And we decided to ask for directions from a passerby. But we do not really understand each other and explain how they could. After some time, we gathered around a number of people and together they realized where we needed to go and what we wanted. After that, the man stopped a taxi, put us in the car and told the driver where to take us, and the taxi driver paid for the road.
And we met an American who has been living a very long time in Okinawa, he was many years older and he looks like Santa. When he learned that this was our first time in Okinawa he immediately asked us what we wanted to do, and the answer was “We want a steak.” With the words “You are here for the first time, it should remember you forever, this Okinawa guy took us to a restaurant, and we ate the best steak.
But Okinawa and Japan are very different, and it was noticeable after our arrival in Tokyo. Smiling and waving as the aircraft departs with the Okinawans and was changed to more business and less smiling Japanese. People are a little bit different, but very good, friendly, always ready to help, always smile back. Here is a different movement, thinking, attitude to people, to cause, to work. Everywhere you are treated as a king. In the cafe, for example, the waiter came up for the order can get on his knees to lower to you level.

Even the road repair here. Everything is very organized, lots of characters, working with flags who bow and apologize for the inconvenience brought to motorists.
We live in the small town of Imizu. We have a lot of rice fields, and a two-minute wild forest on one side of the mountain, on the other the sea. Here there is early dawn and early sunset. By 7:30 it is already dark. In August, it rains frequently, it was hot and high humidity. Travel through the city is mostly cyclists. Schools are simply created for the education of the superstars of football, baseball and so on. The park has not seen a familiar pattern as the children chase the ball, then everywhere waving the bat, beating him. There are cars driving granny whom we see only on a bench at the entrance. Students are like in different sects, all in the form blackheads and black clothes. Here there is a different education and attitude towards children.
Shihan Koi is a terrific person, very attentive and caring. Trains perfectly, examines and explains all. Sometimes he sleeps only 2 hours a day and then finds time to work out himself, is going to take a 7th Dan. Will pass completely technique and 70 fights, always involved in the fighting in training, morning plowing giving us an example of patience and obstinacy. It deserves respect.
He is a cheerful, understanding man, a family man that is good. They have the whole family of karate.
Always find time for their children, sometimes we all go for a walk on the sea or to the restaurant.
We call him among themselves Batey, because he took us like a father.
How are you doing with communication and understanding of the people around you?
Victor: The two of us just Vanya more or less knows English. Mainly deal by bad English, gestures, facial expressions. In the dojo a little easier, because both in Russia and in other countries the training and trainer gives commands in Japanese. But, despite all these language barriers, we are with others on the same wavelength, and somehow understand each other. If we do not understand or something very precisely to explain, then, we appeal for help to the interpreter whose name is Natalia. All the while we were bothering her a few times.
Ivan: I would like to take a  Japanese language course, but there is no time for courses. So we study the language at home and some words are stored with time for yourselfAnd where do you live? 
Victor: Conditions are all small. We live on the first floor of a two story building. 6 meters by 3. At the entrance to the left a small closet, a separate bathroom and toilet, kitchen cabinet and left to sink, refrigerator. Next room, where the input side built-in wardrobe, window to the front of the wall, it can be used as a door to the balcony.

The room two mattress on the floor, a table from a box with the fan. Eat lying down or sitting on the floor, all modestly, but we like it. Mealtimes look different.
We get a little pocket money for the work that is performed in the dojo. Therefore, we can afford only small purchases. One such purchase was a blender. All necessary dishes we bought by Shihan. The room has air conditioning, which saves bask in the heat or when it’s cold, no batteries in Japan.

Shihan said that we are one family, Kyokushin is a family, so whenever we need something, he provides us with this. When it was cold, he bought us blankets. Besides various necessities, constantly provides us with rice, sports nutrition. Incidentally, in the past, Shihan was into bodybuilding and still in great shape. Now also supports that form and in every dojo he has a gym.
On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, in the evening, after all the training, along with Shihan, we dine in the restaurant. After that, we’re going home in Imizu. Shihan lives not far from us, about 5 minutes. On training and various tournaments we always drive with him.
On weekends and other days we prepare ourselves. We try to prepare food for a few days, just to take lunches to the dojo.
I love to cook and always something to conjure in the kitchen. Soup with chicken, spaghetti, pasta, kebabs, dumplings, eggs, smoothies with fruit and Gainer. There are no beets, so we live without borscht. Just can not do without the sweet.
Diets we have, and how much we eat all we want. We have enough experience and know that you can eat, what to eat and what you should not have. To set the mass index Shihan painted the number of calories we need to eat during the day.
We do everything together. Roly us in the mornings preparing rice pudding. In general, we have everything, just enough.

And what kind of things did  you get to bring from home with you?

Victor: As I said earlier, I have with me a ring. And before I left my girlfriend bought me a stuffed monkey. He is strict and rigid, but I sleep hugging the monkey.

Tell us about your daily routine and how are your workouts?

Ivan: There are so many rooms. But constantly drive into rooms that are in Imizu, Toyama, tones and Uozu. The first training was familiarization. Workout in which we participate, is himself Shihan Koi.
Our schedule is. On the day we held 4 training.
Monday: Rise of 7:00, cleaning, training hours, then eating and sleeping. At 1:00 us Shihan arrives and we eat in Toyama, at central dojo. Daily training, and then the dojo and help Shihan in different classes. After this, go to Uozu where 17-45 children begins training, and then the adult that lasts half an hour. After that, we go to eat and home to sleep.
Tuesday : morning and afternoon is like all on Monday, but instead of leveling work on the bags. Remain there. Children and adult training, cleaning again and work, eat and sleep.
Wednesday: All the same until 5:00pm.
After that, one of us goes home to cooking and cleaning, and the second with Shihan travels to the dojo. There are two workouts, then home to eat and sleep.
Thursday is the same as Tuesday. Evening training with children, then adults with combat, kumite.
Friday as the environment, but one goes to Imizu (there is a workout Hikari), helps to train the children, and the second with Shihan.
On Saturday Like Tuesday and Thursday, but with an emphasis on kata at the first training session. The second training for athletes (bags and fights).
Sunday holiday.
In the break between morning and afternoon exercise we sleep and eat. Between day and evening to eat, if you have time, get in touch, we work in the hall cleaning. There is always work to do.
And a little exercise in Okinawa at Shihan Yasuhiro Sichinohe.


What is included in the training program?

Victor: Repetition is the mother exercise, under this motto, we enjoy the monotony of training each week.
Like everywhere all begins with a warm-up, then kihon in place and in motion, work on the feet in pairs, fighting, work on the bag, trenazherka (only for us).
After the break Kihon minutes, then we fulfill kihon in motion. This can be called the first part of the workout, then goes a little break. After the break, the work begins on the decays, paws, pads, fighting and so on. In this exercise ends.

Is there any system of punishment?
Ivan: We did not notice this. It probably affects education or mentality, so punishment is not administered. Children are a little to young to scold, and adults do not indulge. Often they just get a hit on the head by palm, gently. After that they are calm. But this is not a hit, but only a light slap on the head.

During his stay in Japan, do you only exercise or do you participate in tournaments too?
Victor: We participated in the state Championships in Okinawa, in the tournament which was held in Toyama Prefecture, where I finished second. Just competed in the featherweight championship of Japan, I got 7th place. November 16 we are waiting for the All Japan Championship
Tournaments are held in Japan on a very high level. All clear on the weighing before awarding. All are always aware of everything. You will find a few fights, if you sleep, wake and warn that soon you fight. A lot of Staff, through which all is quickly and accurately done. The level fighters is very high.
Generally speaking, all on top. Japanese amaze everyone.
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With such a tight schedule, you do have free time and what do you do if it occurs?
Ivan: Almost no free time, even though all this time my city almost all crawled. Ride a bike around the city, which we were given by Shihan. They are driving even in Toyama. Go to the bath at the water park, often simply sleep until the evening, walk to the shops. Were at the Golden Temple and the Temple of clean water. Were on a walk in Osaka. We also want to go to the zoo. Sometimes when asked soul conduct itself nightly workout.
Currently, what has this program given you?
Victor: Received a sea of positive emotions, new friends, experience the life of some new knowledge of karate and not only. More began to appreciate friends and family understood something for yourself. Again, make sure that Kyokushin is a strong and large family minded, it’s a lifestyle.
If the result is again a chance to repeat it all – agree?
Victor: No. This particular stage of life that need to go, and if it is repeated, it will not be that. I sometimes ask myself, why is subscribed to all of this, never again will not happen again. But to really like it here, and I understand that the thoughts of some pluses. That such mixed feelings. But this I say now, with thoughts and feelings at the moment. Maybe in time, the question I will answer differently. In any case, will be sad to leave, and still will miss everything that was there. This trip will remain in our memories forever!
Do you plan to do some seminar and share with all his friends the knowledge that you gain here?
Victor: So far no plan, but I think it certainly is waiting for us to return. All this knowledge must necessarily conveyed to others and shared them. There is a desire to have a group and start coaching

Ivan, what does it mean to you to be an uchi deshi?

For me, this is the man who does what others can not or are afraid, or maybe just do not want to do. How VDVshnik feels on August 2, so you feel every day. And it’s a huge responsibility.

Very many of your fellow Federation want to be in your place. Maybe next year someone will come here and they will pass through all the things that you are going through. What tips and suggestions you can give them?
Ivan: Yes, yes, want very many, I know. But here’s the paradox, we also want to take their place, home to loved ones and friends. Do not settle (joke). But if we get here, just look back on more often, and less looking forward so feels that the time is coming, do not be afraid, everything that does not kill you makes you stronger. Endure the first 3-4 months and you will like it here.
We are here in one breath all week days pass quickly. Looking forward to the weekend, and on weekends to die from what you want to practice, since nothing else we want. Workouts burn time, makes you stronger and closer to home.

Victor: I fall asleep every time his thoughts about his parents and his beloved. Almost always it is only in the mind, so difficult. All sensations, which they were not good or bad, they’re cool, it’s worth to go through each. New sensations and acquisition of valuable concepts are not visible there, close to all.
Thanks for the support everyone. Anyone who writes and reads us who holds his fists and mother and misses. Thank you for your support. Everyone wants to be called, but it’s not real, you have too much. We are all one family, and we are happy that we have you.
We would like to ask that no one is jealous of anything and did not want evil, everyone has his own way, be happy. We still find its way, which in the future can become yours.

Alexander, Frish – Osu!
In group VKontakte you can see more pictures and short video clips.

Author and Source: Roman Odessky


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