Uchi Deshi life: Locals study martial art in Japan

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Photo courtesy Lisa Jensen Lisa Jensen and her husband Bill Trimarco pose with a Japanese aikido sensei in Iwama, Japan. Jensen and Trimarco spent a month as live-in students at a dojo, where they lived and trained in aikido, a martial art form that originated in Japan. The couple trained under world-renowned sensei and performed souji, or service work meant to “polish the soul.”
Photo courtesy Lisa Jensen
Lisa Jensen and her husband Bill Trimarco pose with a Japanese aikido sensei in Iwama, Japan. Jensen and Trimarco spent a month as live-in students at a dojo, where they lived and trained in aikido, a martial art form that originated in Japan. The couple trained under world-renowned sensei and performed souji, or service work meant to “polish the soul.”

Lisa Jensen began her journey into aikido in 1988 in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Aikido, a noncompetitive martial art, is also referred to as the “martial art of harmony.”

It is not designed for self-defense, but instead it is designed for awareness, of both yourself and everything around you.

Jensen signed up for her first aikido class at age 22 simply because it fit her schedule, but she would find a deep connection and a way of life within the practice that stays with her today.

“Something about the philosophy really caught my eye and appealed to me,” Jensen said.

She has practiced aikido for 26 years and taught the form for 12 years, working to incorporate the principle of harmony into her everyday life.

In 2011, Jensen and her husband, Bill Trimarco, decided they wanted to travel to Japan and train at a dojo as live-in students, referred to as “uchi deshi.”

They began researching plane tickets and making plans for the trip, excited to learn from the masters of the martial art. Jensen woke up early one morning in March with the intention of preparing to purchase her flights and finalize the trip.

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