Kenshusei program begins on January 7th, 2020. Interested applicants should apply now – see below for more information.

ACV has two separate programs – one for soto deshi and another for uchi deshi. This program is traditionally called a kenshusei program, intensive training for prospective aikido teachers.

A soto deshi  (“outside student”) lives outside of the dojo, but seeks greater focus and intensity in their Aikido practice than that of a regular student. An uchi deshi (“inside student”) enters a traditional method of apprenticeship for students prepared to sacrifice a great deal in exchange for a deeper commitment to their practice, the dojo and their teacher. An uchi deshi lives in the dojo and is willing to engage in more intensive training, integrating their lives with that of the dojo.  Applicants for both programs should be at least 3rd kyu in Aikido (exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Chief Instructor).

If you have any questions about this program or would like to speak with the Chief Instructor please contact him.

Soto Deshi Requirements:

  • Train at least 8 hours of classes a week. Students are required to attend all evening classes on Tuesday and Thursday, and the classes on Saturday morning. Students must attend all of the weapons classes and all deshi classes. Deshi classes are private and closed to regular members.
  • Attend all in-house seminars, sesshin (intensive Zen meditation retreats) and USAF summer camp.  If you cannot attend summer camp, you must also attend at least 3 shihan seminars a year.
  • Samu, or daily cleaning. This means cleaning the dojo and grounds every day of practice.  The student discovers the integral relationship between self-study and service.

Uchi Deshi Requirements:

All of the above requirements, and also

  • Train at least 11 class hours a week. In addition, training should include free practice and self study outside of class. Deshi also assist with the ACV youth program.
  • Cleaning the kitchen/stove and common area. >The bedrooms should also be immaculate. Practice “no trace camping.”
  • Cultivate a daily meditative practice. This could be zazen or any practice that resonates with you.
  • Be aware that you are living in a sacred place, so try to embody the spirit of a budoka at all times.


  • Soto Deshi: $105 a month.
  • Uchi Deshi: $350 a month for rent/utilities + $105 a month for training. We also offer a scholarship program for low income applicants.

A kitchen, three bathrooms, a separate bedroom space for three students and a shower are included. Students provide food and cook for themselves.


If you are interested in either the Uchi Deshi or Soto Deshi program, please write a letter of intent, including

  • Name, age, address, e-mail and occupation.
  • Background history – include pertinent medical history.
  • Explanation of why you want to join the program. What are your personal goals?
  • Proposed duration of your stay at Aikido of Champlain Valley.
  • Rank in Aikido, number of years you have trained, and background in other martial arts
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Your application should be sent by postal mail; we will not accept applications sent by e-mail. We do welcome questions regarding the program by letter, telephone or e-mail.

The Chief Instructor will review your letter and will arrange a time for an interview (either in person, by telephone, or letter depending on distance and convenience).

Aikido of Champlain Valley
257 Pine St. Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 951-8900