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Saint Maur Aikido Teacher Promoted to 6th Dan

Saint Maur Aikido Teacher Promoted to 6th Dan

On Sunday 14th of January, the Aikido World Headquarters in Tokyo hosted their annual Kagamibiraki ceremony. Kagamibiraki (鏡開き, lit. "opening the mirror") is originally a shinto event that involves the breaking of a cake (kagami mochi, 鏡餅) that consists of two round rice cakes placed on top of one another, with a shiny finish that mimics the surface of a round mirror. The superposition of a small mochi on top of the bigger one symbolizes the Yin and the Yang, as well as the passing of a year and the coming of the new one.

In martial arts circles, it has become a popular celebration that marks the beginning of the practice after the end of year break. This is also the day when names of the individuals that were promoted to the highest ranks are made public. This year, our Aikido Club instructor and Secondary School Biology teacher, Guillaume Erard Sensei, was promoted to the rank of 6th degree black belt. As a long time member of the Aikido World Headquarters, his certificate was personally handed to him by Mr Ueshiba Moriteru, the grandson of the founder of Aikido and the leader of the art worldwide.

erard doshu rokudan receiving

Erard Sensei receiving his 6th dan certificate from Ueshiba Moriteru Doshu

Above fourth dan, there are no longer any technical examinations in Aikido, and promotions are based on parameters such as seniority in number of years, frequency of training and/or teaching, and other achievements in service of the art. In Erard Sensei’s case, he has been actively promoting the art over the years through seminars, videos, and articles for magazines in Japan and abroad. Most notably, he was commended for opening and maintaining a dojo in the midst of the pandemic, at a time when many other places had to close down. At 42 years old, this puts him among the youngest 6th dan holders in the world.

Hiden March issue Guillaume inteview1 20

Issue of the magazine Hiden Monthly with a feature dossier written by Erard Sensei

Obviously, this could not have been possible without the support of Saint Maur International School, in particular Mrs Levy, Mrs Forbes-Dias, and Mr Gaury, as the school does not only host the Elementary School Aikido classes, but also all the regular classes of the organization that we created, the Yokohama AikiDojo. Just as importantly, it is thanks to the commitment of our students and the encouragements of the extended Saint Maur community that practice could go on, as the dojo now enter its fourth year of existence.

Erard Sensei giving a demonstration at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo

With this new milestone, we are looking forward to many more Aikido classes at Saint Maur.

Mihaly Dobroka, 4th dan
Instructor, Yokohama AikiDojo