Japan and Me

Japan and Me (Version française)

Dany Leclerre
7th Dan of Aikikai of Tokyo. Shihan

I began the Aikido, in 1965, at the 14 years age, Verviers in dojo located at the swimming pool of the city. This Dojo was directed by Monsieur José Bierin, big Judoka at the time.

In the Sixties, the Aikido is still badly known in Belgium. The professors of Judo who, being initiated a little near disciple of the founder of the Aikido of passage in Europe, transmitted his unknown techniques. Some it very quickly are exclusively directed towards the study of the Aikido such as my 1st professor Monsieur Alain Salée (student of Noro Senseï).

Although martial art without competition, the level standard required, as well at the practical level as ethical, immediately attracted me because as a practitioner the Aikido I had the impression to belong to an elite.

It was also a means, as a teenager, to learn from the techniques of defenses but my parents rather hoped on their side that the practice of the Aikido would channel my energy a little too much overflowing…

As of the beginning of the years 1970, I discovered the teaching of Tamura Senseï, this one had been one of the privileged pupils of Master Ueshiba Morihei, founder of the Aikido, later in 1979, we were likely to discover another of his disciples: Sugano Seiichi Senseï, it lived 8 years in Belgium and thus the contact with him was quasi day laborer. The Aikido in Belgium owes them much… On the more personal level, they brought the training of the entirety of the basic techniques of the Aikido but also the example to me of the permanent effort, the will, and the uprightness of the behavior.

I went for the 1st time to Japan in 1988, I remained 3 months there; then, of course, I have the occasion to go back there on several occasions.

Beyond the practice at very large Senseï of Hombu Dojo, it was important for me to plunge me in the roots of the Aikido, to understand the history and the advance of the art which I had chosen: the Aikido is resulting from old martial arts, it “was reinvented” at the 20th century by a genious Master: O Senseï Moriheï UESHIBA, before being practiced in all Japan and the whole world.

The principle of martial arts does not consist simply of the training of techniques using the force, but rather with knowing to keep the self-control constantly, even in critical situation; to know to preserve its energy in order to preserve the serenity of its heart rather than to tackle the other. It is what the Aikido wants, by its practice, to bring to each and every one which wishes to devote a little time to its study. What a wealth!

I am certain that the successes met during my professional career (tallies commercial in great Swedish multinational group) were reinforced by the great principles of the Aikido.

I cannot finish this word without speaking of an exceptional man, my professor and friend since 1988, who has and who works still today so that the Aikido is a footbridge of fraternity and harmony between Japan and the Occident: Christian Tissier (France) Shihan 7th Dan of Aikikai of Tokyo since 1997 which decided at the 19 years age decided to go to Japan in order to study the Aikido there. There will remain 7 years there involving themselves daily under the direction as of larger Masters of Aikikai and impregnating Japanese spirit completely. The rise of the Aikido in France and Europe owes him much because it knew to combine a Japanese practice with a Western pedagogy.

For me, the Aikido formed integral part of my life.

The passion of the practice and the teaching of this discipline always animate me because it takes me along towards the infinite one of research. What would have been my life without this discipline which draws its roots in ancestral Japan? Difficult to say, of course, but the Aikido enabled me to live extraordinary moments and feelings and to meet people out of commun runs which it would have been difficult, I think, to better do.

Dany Leclerre Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba & Tamura Senseï (left)
Sugano Shihan & Dany leclerre Shihan (right)
Sugano Shihan & Christian Tissier Shihan (center)
Dany Leclerre (left & right)