I just got back from the Hombu Dojo were I was in charge of filming the ceremony of the Kagamibiraki 2016 on behalf of the Aikikai and it is with great pleasure that I witnessed the appointment of Christian Tissier Shihan to the rank of 8th Dan Aikikai. His certificate was handed to him by long time friend, the Doshu Ueshiba Moriteru.
This promotion is the consecration of an Aikido career spanning over more than fifty years and most of all, a considerable amount work undertaking both in France and abroad in order to promote Aikido and teach it with an exigency that is matched only by an incredible generosity.
Christian Tissier receiving his 8th Dan diploma from Doshu
Christian Tissier has trained several generations of practitioners, some of whom are now 7th Dan Shihan. He continues to teach the new generation through the course of seminars around the world and within his historical dojo of Vincennes in Paris.
Christian Tissier and Guillaume Erard in front of the Hombu Dojo
Interview with Christian Tissier following his promotion
Another Shihan who was also promoted to te 8th Dan and whose teaching has a very special significance for me is Miyamoto Tsuruzo Shihan. Miyamoto Shihan did a lot for me, not only technically, but also for my integration within the Hombu.
Miyamoto Shihan au Hombu Dojo (uke: Guillaume Erard)
He had been awarded the 7th Dan the same year as Christian Tissier and this was a real privilege for me to be at their side on this very special day. Miyamoto Sensei travels regularly to Europe, including France, to share his teaching. I recommend reading the interview of Miyamoto Sensei conducted by my friend Emmanuel Marès during one of those seminars.
Miyamoto Shihan receiving his 8th Dan certificate from Doshu
The third recipient of the 8th Dan is Kimura Jiro, a student of Kobayashi Hirokazu based in Osaka.
More good news of the day, my friend and sempai Didier Boyet was also promoted this year to the rank of 7th Dan. Didier has lived in Japan for more than forty years and he was instrumental in my joining the group to Miyamoto Sensei. Didier travels extensively to teach Aikido , especially in North America within the Birankai. Didier Boyet is also an Aikido Shihan, a title which was awarded to him upon recommendaton by the late Chiba Kazuo Sensei.
Didier Boyet Shihan
Another promotion that especially affects me is that of my friend and travel companion Olivier Gaurin, who was awarded the 6th Dan. Olivier is one of the very first students of Christian Tissier after he returned to France. Olivier then decided to follow his footsteps and to settle in Tokyo where he has been residing and training for more than thirty years. Olivier was a great support when I arrived in Japan and he also allowed me to discover Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu. To learn more about Olivier, read the interview I had conducted with him shortly after arriving in Japan.
Excerpt from the 6th Dan promotion, including Olivier Gaurin (ゴーラン オィヴィエ)
Finally, Katherine (Roo) Heins, another one of my sempai was promoted to the rank of 6th Dan. Katherine is a former kenshusei of Chiba Kazuo Shihan and she has lived in Japan for many years. She recently relocated to the United States where she teaches at her dojo in Michigan. She was clearly one of the people I used to look up to when first interacting with Japanese Sensei and I really enjoyed practicing with her, even though it only happened too few a number of times before she left Japan.
Congratulations to all those promoted this year! The full list of promotees is available here.