The National Cultural Association of Aikido (ACNA) was founded in June 1980 by Michel Bécart. It is an organisation registred at the French Ministry of Sports.The headquarters of the ACNA are in Paris.
On April 1st, 2016, the ACNA was officially recognised by Hombu Dojo Aikido World Headquarters, Tokyo, Japan.
L'ACNA has classes in Paris every day (except Sundays), open to all levels. Regularly organised during the year and open to everyone, the ACNA seminars (both weapons and bare hand) are taught by Michel Bécart. Dan Aikikai exams are held during certain seminars.
The ACNA seminars provide a follow-up in learning aikido techniques. Each seminar allows to study in detail bare hand techniques (taijutsu) and weapons techniques (buki waza), respecting the spirit of O’Sensei as well as the rules of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of Tokyo. The seminars help students, besides giving them focus in their training, understand better the principles of aikido.
Most important to us is the spirit in which the seminars are held. To practice aikido merely to improve your technique is not enough. Being respectful and courteous on the tatami, as well as being friendly and straighforward is essential.
Whether you are a Dojo or an individual person, you can easily join the ACNA and become a member.
The grading system at the ACNA school
The dan grades that are awarded within the ACNA school are given in accordance with the regulations and rules of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of Tokyo, either after a demonstration of techniques, or by nomination.
At the ACNA, there is no exam per se. Michel Bécart Shihan teaches and trains his students everyday day, and thus he is aware of the level of each one of them. Therefore he does not send someone to a grade dan exam to fail them. During the exam the student presents their technical skills in Aikido.
In the case of students from other dojos (members of the ACNA), the teachers of those dojos recommend their students for particular grade dan level to Michel Bécart. This recommendation is essential, however Michel Bécart will pay particular attention to the technical skills of the student during ACNA seminars to decide in favour of accepting the student for a dan grade exam. The student must have the necessary technical skills as well as the years of experience expected for the dan grade they wish to be awarded. The student presents techniques in Suwari Waza, Hanmi Hantachi Waza, Tachi Waza and Buki Waza. Their work as uke is also part of the exam. Michel Bécart Shihan decides on the the intensity of the exam session, as well as the change of uke when necessary.
Being awarded a grade reflects more than good technical skills in Aikido, even though the latter is essential. Obtaining a grade dan should also reflect a person’s perseverance and regularity in practice, and also their years of experience and that they have proper mentality for Aikido practice within the ACNA school and that they accept accept its values.
The grade system
6th Kyu (級) au 1st Kyu (級)
Shodan (初段) : 1st Dan (Beginner)
Nidan (弐段) : 2nd Dan
Sandan (参段) : 3rd Dan
Yondan (四段) : 4th Dan
Godan (五段) : 5th Dan
Rokudan (六段) : 6th Dan
Nanadan (七段) : 7th Dan
Aikido regulation : Article 4 - 1.2
"Dan grades are legitimated by Aikido Doshu. An Aikido organization which has been given Hombu Recognition must hold in esteem the Aikido dan grades legitimated by the Doshu. The members of that organization must obtain dan grades to be legitimated by Doshu and registered at the Hombu regardless of a situation in which national dan grades are issued by the country or government due to the national legislation or some other reason".
The ACNA school having been given the Hombu Recognition, abides by its rules.
The Titles in ACNA
FUKU SHIDOIN (副指導員): Instructor assistant.
is a person whose technical skills and experience allows them to guide other students in their practice. They are of 2nd dan or 3rd dan.
SHIDOIN (指導員) : Qualified instructor.
is a person with an advanced technique in aikido. They are persons of 4th dan or above. Their technical skills in Aikido should serve as an example to be followed by other students. They also play the role of intermediary between the Shihan and the dojo.
SHIHAN (師範) : Teacher.
they are the master of the school. The title of Shihan is awarded to people who are 6th dan and above. They are the role-model for their students, as much as for their technical skills as for their mentality. The Shihan depends directly from the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of Tokyo.
As master and role-model of the school, the Shihan is endowed with the responsibility of transmitting their technical knowledge and of the values of aikido as defined for future generations by the creator of aikido Morihei Usheiba.
The Shihan should concentrate on developing their school while respecting other aikido groups, in accordance with the specifications of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo of Tokyo.
Bercy 2008 (Paris, France), uke Cyril Lefebvre.