Christophe Depaus - 6th dan Aikikai (Dojo-Cho)
CERTIFIED TEACHER Hands & Weapons (GIAS system - Sugano Shihan)
.Born in November 1973, Christophe Depaus started practicing aikido at the age of 11 at the private circle Yama Arashi, under the direction of Tony Thielemans. One year later, in 1986, he joined the French-speaking Federation of Aikido (AFA, at the time ACBA) within the club "Le Chardon", with Luc Deweys and Chantal Danthine as teachers.
He passes the national shodan (1st dan) at the age of 18 and then passes the Aikikai shodan, in front of Sugano Shihan, on his 19th birthday. Shortly afterwards he joins the Shinbukan aikidojo where he is taught by Marco Zenthner, Jacques Horny, and Henri Behr Jr. Christophe decides to follow Jacques Horny when he leaves the Shinbukan to found the Hikari Aikikai of Rebecq. He will be a student and teacher there for more than 10 years until the opening of the Ren Shin Kan (2006).
After his studies as a civil mining engineer, which he will complete, while working as an expert in safety strategy for the deep disposal of high-level and/or long-lived radioactive waste (see this link), by studying pedagogy, philosophy of sciences (obtaining a doctorate in philosophy of science in 2023), and international nuclear law, he obtains his subsequent Aikikai grades by successive examinations under the supervision of Sugano Shihan. In 2005, at the age of 31, he obtains the 4th dan Aikikai. In 2011, he receives the 5th dan Aiikikai on the signed recommendation of Sugano Shihan (meanwhile deceased) and with the support of Christian Tissier Shihan. In January 2017, he is elevated to the rank of 6th dan Aikikai on the recommendation of Christian Tissier Shihan.
In August 2003, he passes in front of Sugano Shihan, the 1st level examination in "sabre – système IAS" (sword – IAS system), organized for the first time in Europe. As a guarantor of the teaching received from Sugano Shihan that he has at heart to transmit, he also obtains in 2008, the "Teacher certificate" officially authorizing him to pass on Sensei's teachings both with bare hands and with weapons. Only three teachers ever have received this distinction.
He also receives the Fukushidoin in 2005 and the Shidoin in 2010 from the Belgian federation AFA (Association Francophone d'Aikido).
An assiduous student and Otomo of Sugano Shihan, whom he never missed any passage in Belgium and who he also followed in the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, France, Luxembourg, Sweden and the United States (New York aikikai), he also discovers the teaching of Christian Tissier Shihan in 2000. He then decides to follow the two masters in parallel, considering their teachings extremely complementary. After Sugano Sensei's death in 2010, Christophe decided to consider Christian Tissier Sensei as his guide and referent. He now follows him in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg. In addition to these two great figures of aikido, Christophe has also practiced under the direction of most of the masters passing through our country, that he meets again with happiness each time he goes back to train at the Hombu dojo in Tokyo. So, he particularly appreciates Doshu, Kobayashi Shihan, Osawa Shihan, Miyamoto Shihan and Kuribayashi Shihan.
During the year 2004, he spends one month in Japan to practice daily at the Aikikai of Tokyo, mainly under the direction of Doshu and the masters Miyamoto, Kobayashi and Seki. He will also take part, on this occasion, in the seminar organized during the 9th International Aikido Congress, at the Tokyo Olympic Center (September 2004), as a demonstrator in the Belgian team. He is also selected to represent Belgium, with six other young aikidokas, at the World Games 2005 in Duisburg (Germany) in the presence of the Doshu. He then joins the federal demonstration team.
In 2008, he goes back to Japan to train at the Hombu dojo and to participate in the 10th international congress. In 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, he returns to train at Hombu under the direction of the Doshu, Miyamoto Sensei, Osawa Sensei, Kobayashi Sensei and Kuribayashi Sensei. In September 2016, Christophe participates in the 12th International Congress in Takasaki (Japan) and has the privilege to be one of the ukes (with Dimitri Crenier and Fabrice Croizé) of Christian Tissier Shihan during the Embukai (see video).
In October 2016, during the International Aikido Celebration course, given in Brussels by the Doshu, Christian Tissier Shihan, and Dany Leclere Shihan, Christophe will again have the chance to be one of the ukes (with Dimitri Crenier and François Pichereau) of Christian Tissier Shihan during the closing Embukai (see video).
In August/September 2019, the AFA, at the request of the International aikido Federation (IAF), recommends Christophe as a demonstrator for the "expert" category at the World Martial Arts Mastership in Chungju, South Korea. On this occasion, Christophe will first give a demonstration in the "basic techniques" category with Anne-Claire Versailles as uke ; he will then be the uke of Jikou Sugano Sensei for a demonstration in the "weapons" category and will give a demonstration in the "experts" category with Guillaume Erard and Anne-Claire Versailles as ukes. Finally, he will also be one of the ukes of Christian Tissier Shihan, ambassador of the event, for the demonstration in the "masters" category (see videos).
Christophe is also vice-president of the Technical Committee (formerly the Federal Grading Committee) of the AFA, since 2012, and president since 2022.
The municipality of Etterbeek, where the dojo is located, awarded him the 2011 Sportsman of the Year prize and the 2017 Sports Award prize.
He was also a lecturer at ADEPS for the training of initiators and assistant instructors in aikido, before the recent reform of the system.
In addition to the private and federal seminars he regularly gives in Belgium, Christophe has given seminars in Spain (Vitoria), Portugal (Serpa), Greece (Athens) on the invitation of Sensei Harris Fytros, Italy (Sorrento, Salerno) on the invitation of Senseis Angelo Armano and Alessio Autori/Alessandra Scialla respectively and Switzerland (Basel) on the invitation of Nora Weller and Jan Sauermann.
Editor of numerous articles in the Flash aikido (the magazine of the federation), he also participated, as a speaker and demonstrator, in the symposium on the history, philosophy, and practice of martial arts, at the University of Artois (Arras-France), in April 2004.
Convinced that aikido is an excellent system of education, he has integrated the techniques of mental preparation with the practice of relaxation that he has been teaching voluntarily several times a year at the hospital (until 2009), to patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Eager to build bridges between artistic disciplines sharing common ideals, he joined from 2008 to 2013, the project "danza duende" (www.danzaduende.org) as a guest teacher. There he led the so-called "duende warrior" workshops (see this tab) in collaboration with Ozan Aksoyek (http://www.ozanpresence.be).
Ozan sadly passed away, far too soon, on Thursday 7 December 2023.
In 2014, he gives a TED conference during the TEDxUBIWiltz event, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (see the video).
That same year, responding to Ozan's invitation, he co-creates "Mindfulness, the aikido of communication."