| The international Senshusei course is an 11-month program that allows dedicated students to learn Yoshinkan Aikido in the true spirit of Yoshinkan
founder Gozo Shioda.
The course focuses on body posture and correct form, allowing students to build a solid base to further their Aikido and pass that knowledge to others.
Upon graduation, participants will earn a 1st degree black belt and instructor’s license (able to grade up to 4th kyu).
However, the course curriculum is considered very difficult and intense.
Participants are expected to have a strong spirit, a high level of fitness, and follow instructions with an honest, open mind.
※Nationality does not matter.
Initially, I signed up for the course to build strong basics and experience budo in Aikido, I found both and I could have never imagined I would find so much more. Not only at the dojo, but also surrounded by such a totally different culture - one of modesty, mutual respect, kindness and unbelievable dedication. Same on the mats, I was pushed beyond what I thought were my limits and slowly begun to push myself even further - it takes some time to realise that any limit is where one decides it is. Before I noticed it the "Senshusei attitude" was there even beyond the dojo - "go forward and do your best" - a simple philosophy which often seems to be forgotten.
Training under the best people there are makes one realise how long the chosen path is and no matter how much is behind there is also much more still ahead. It leaves an important image to aspire to, passion and devotion certainly worth spreading further. A difficult year, definitely an "enjoyable hell" and I know I would have never traded it off for anything else! It was simply great!
Doing the senshusei course means 11 months in an authentic and grueling training environment with some of the top teachers in the world. The course took me from being someone who didn't even know how to tie his own belt to the point where I can now serve as a model for others. Looking back it's still amazing to see that this transformation happened in less than a year. I'd recommend it for anyone who knows what they're getting into."
As well as get you into the best shape of your life, and give you excellent foundations for a most fulfilling art, the Senshusei course above all allows you to know yourself better. On one hand, the course pushes you past what you think are your physical limits, and you discover new ones for yourself, realise that you are capable of more than you thought. On a spiritual level, and through the weekly essays, the course allows you to reflect deeply on yourself, on your behaviour, reactions, and perceptions, and gives you a platform to change the things about yourself that you don't like.
It is also a rare opportunity to just do Aikido. Every day, week after week, discovering a better way to move your body, you knees, hips, or arms, to breathe, as you become, slowly, step by step, a little more effective. If you love Aikido now, you will learn to love it more, marveling at its seemingly endless layers and complexities, and the feeling of it, its flow.
The course is not comfortable, it is hard work. But as they say when you get there: "you will get from it what you put into it". Its rewards are truly great if you embrace the challenge.