Joyful Melancholy

Didier Boyet Shihan; his partner, Agnès Disson, and Miyamoto Shihan at the 7th dan celebration.
Didier Boyet Shihan; his partner, Agnès Disson, and Miyamoto Shihan at the 7th dan celebration.

By A. G. Peterson, Summit Aikikai

Birankai North America President

TOKYO – A group of Birankai North America teachers arrived in Japan last week for a visit with a two-fold purpose.

First, we planned to attend the celebration of the promotion of Didier Boyet Shihan to 7th dan. This joyful event, which took place on Sunday, honored the training and achievements of a longtime student of Chiba Sensei, a wonderful teacher and a very close friend of Birankai.

Hosted by Miyamoto Sensei of Hombu Dojo, the celebration was held in a large ballroom with many students, teachers and friends from around the world. We shared in the memories of Boyet Sensei’s many years of adventurous training with Chiba Sensei and many of the other legends of Aikido. Representing Birankai North America, our group also had the opportunity to publicly honor Boyet Sensei’s generosity and success.

As I mentioned in my remarks, just as France was the first friend of the United States

Birankai President Alex Peterson and Boyet Shihan.
Birankai President Alex Peterson and Boyet Shihan.

when our nation was born, Boyet Sensei has been the first friend of Birankai North America. His acerbic wit and Gallic pride have always been balanced by his incredible generosity and shared knowledge. Whenever Birankai N. A. teachers or students have needed assistance, advice or support, whether in their training or travels to Japan, Boyet Shihan has unselfishly responded. The evening was a joyful celebration of a committed martial artist. We anticipate many future years of mutual connection and support with this beloved teacher.

Our second purpose, albeit somber, was to visit and honor the resting place of our

Chiba Sensei's family gravesite.
Chiba Sensei’s family gravesite.

founder, T. K. Chiba Sensei. Guided by Boyet Sensei, senior teachers of Birankai N. A. were able to quietly attend to and gently honor the resting place of Sensei. It was a beautiful, cool, sunny spring day with cherry blossoms beginning their bloom. The temple and grounds were slowly awakening to spring with flowers, calling birds and the laughter of children.

Teachers and students together, quietly cleaning and honoring the family gravesite, paying respects at the shrine and then sharing tea and memories together with the attending monk (the son of a long-time dear friend of Sensei). It was a melancholy pilgrimage steeped in compassionate remembrance and renewed devotion to the training we each share. We hope that all of Sensei’s students may have such an opportunity.

While our trip will continue, these moments highlight the community that our training has forged. We hope you enjoy the photos and look forward to training with each of you very soon at Summer Camp in Queens, New York. See you on the mat!

Birankai teachers clean Chiba Sensei's gravesite.
Birankai teachers clean Chiba Sensei’s gravesite.
Darrell Bluhm Shihan pours sake on the memorial stone.
Darrell Bluhm Shihan pours sake on the memorial stone.
Sharing memories at Chogengi Temple, site of Chiba Sensei's grave.
Sharing memories at Chogengi Temple, site of Chiba Sensei’s grave.

6 Replies to “Joyful Melancholy”

  1. I like to thank you for the photos and appreciate having the common memories as well as individual remembrance and passion of sensei’s legacy. It means a lot to one such as myself being land locked away from you all.
    Chiba’s spirit from my early memories and final words to me and world wide will forever remain a guiding light in my life. I remain with great respect to all his dedicated students through the years,
    Bless you all.

  2. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is very moving to see you all cleaning the grave and pouring the sake over the stone.

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