Stéphane Le Derf
Godan Aikikai (5th dan), DEJEPS (French professional martial art teacher diploma), certified Professional and Sports Mental Coaching
His path in the martial arts began as a child with karate; then it was the discovery of Aikido in 1985 in the region of Nice. After a few months of practice, he participates in the first summer workshop in France of Mitsugi SAOTOME, 8th dan Shihan and one of the last uchi deshi of Morihei Ueshiba. This meeting becomes the red thread of his practice.
After a brief stay at the Aikikai of Tokyo in August 1990, he decided in July 1993 to leave for the United States to join SAOTOME Sensei. He spent four years at the Aikido Shobukan Dojo in Washington D.C. where he was taught by Saotome Sensei and his senior students. It was during this stay that he also met and practiced with IKEDA Sensei, 7th dan Shihan.
It is at this time, at the Aikido Shobukan Dojo, that he begins to teach.
His dan grades are delivered to him by Saotome Sensei.
In 2019, he was awarded the title of "Ueshiba Juku", recognizing his commitment to Saotome Sensei's teaching and the vision of O Sensei.
From 1997, he practices in different clubs of Nice and Marseille, then in 2005, at the Club de l'AMSF (Fréjus) with Alain Guerrier.
His passion for martial arts leads him to other arts such as Iaïdo and Taï-Chi.
Aware that his experience acquired with his various teachers and in particular Saotome Sensei is a unique opportunity, his goal to transmit it is reflected in the passing of the Brevet d'Etat d'Educateur Sportif 1er Degré in November 2007.
Since 1991, he has been participating in the International Vigan Training Course, organized by the Aikido Harmony association and led by Saotome Sensei for 18 years, then now under the direction of Ikeda Sensei; he has been its interpreter since 1996. He continues to travel regularly to Washington DC, keeping a very close link between Saotome Sensei and his organization, Aikido School of Ueshiba. In 2017, the Aikido School of Ueshiba offered him to formalize this link by integrating the Aikido Club of Baou into ASU, recognizing more than 30 years of involvement and commitment to Saotome Sensei and his school.
He also follows the training courses of Yamashima Sensei and Endo Sensei Shihan in France.
Stéphane Le Derf leads seminars in France and abroad. On several occasions, he has had the honor of being part of the teaching staff at the ASU Summer Intensive in Washington DC, an annual internship of the Saotome Sensei organization.
Secretary of the FFAAA French Riviera League during the 2012-2016 Olympiad.
Involved in the association Aikido Harmonie since 1995, he was the president from August 2016 to the last seminar in August 2022, as well as the organizer of the 30 years of the association with Saotome Sensei and Ikeda Sensei.
Today, he is a director at large of the Aikido Schools of Ueshiba organization.