What is an uchi deshi?
In the Japanese martial arts an uchi deshi is a “live in” student who occupies a place of additional responsibility in the dojo or martial arts school.
Most students in the martial arts attend classes during the week- arrive, train, clean up and go home. Sometimes after class the group might go out for some food or drinks.
An uchi deshi also does this, but they have the added responsibility of staying at the dojo/martial arts school, training and looking after it. Depending on the school they may also live near the teacher or assist the teacher outside of class.
As a live in student they will have the resources of the dojo to train at full time, and might receive some additional training from the teacher and senior students in return.
Also, by interacting and observing the teacher outside of class hours they get to observe budo in application in a day to day non dojo manner.
Certainly a lot of benefits.
But like all things Japanese there are more responsibilities then benefits.
The uchi deshi is responsible for maintaining the order of the dojo- cleaning the facilities, setting up and taking down before class. Greeting guests, visitors, and inquiries about the dojo, assisting the overall harmony of the dojo- all while making sure they get their own daily training responsibilities in.
Taking the role of an uchi deshi is a big responsibility- signaling a deeper responsibility to the tradition (ryu), school, and teacher.