“Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.”

Morihei Ueshiba

The practice of aikido and all the pleasure it brings has been part of his life since the age of 17. Since then he has continued learning thanks to great senseis, but also thanks to the multitude of partners who have helped him evolve on a daily basis.

He received his black belt from Massimo Nicolaci di Villadorata. Further studies with Yamada sensei, Kanai sensei, Tamura sensei, Chiba sensei, Kono sensei and many others left their mark on him.

More than forty years of practice and thirty five years of teaching has cultivated a real feeling of gratitude towards O’sensei, the founder of this admirable martial art and towards all the people who have kept it alive.  Particularly towards Claude Berthiaume who Robert is proud to call a friend for more than forty years.

Robert Saad sensei received his title of Shihan on January 1st 2013 and the rank of 7th dan on January 1st 2014.

Claude Berthiaume

Shihan 7th dan

Robert Saad

Shihan 7th dan

Pierre Fortin

6th dan

Louise Jalbert

6th dan

Eugène Abarrategui

6th dan

He began his practice of aikido at the Kensankai Aikido dojo in 1979. Aikido was one of four disciplines taught at the Shidokan judo dojo of Master Nakamura. Jim Wright, his mentor, was the main instructor of aikido at Shidokan. At that time Jacques Couturier, Chief instructor, spent most of his time teaching at  the University of Montreal aikido dojo.

His main aikido influence was Master Kawahara, director of Aikido Kensankai before moving West. He returned each year for more than a week at a time to teach. As well as Kawahara shihan, Aïkido Kensankai teachings from Yamada shihan, Kanai shihan and from Chiba shihan.

Following the Jim Wright’s departure for Toronto, Aïkido Kensankai fused with Centre Métropolitain d'Aïkido directed by Claude Berthiaume in 1988, forming Aikido de la Montagne. Pierre Fortin continues his role as instructor at this school and participates annually at numerous seminars and summer camps, principally those in Vancouver.  Still today, after more than 30 years of practice, he considers aikido to be an essential element of his evolution and a requirement to harmonizing the different aspects of his professional, social and family life.

She started aikido in 1974, at the Montreal Aikikai. In following years she attended summer camps and seminars where she was introduced to many shihans, notably Tamura Sensei, Yamada Sensei, Chiba Sensei and Kanai Sensei, all students of the founder.  Their inspiring teachings strongly incited her to continue her training in this complex and fascinating martial art.

Since Claude Berthiaume founded his first dojo in 1983 (the Centre Métropolitain d’aïkido), she has been one of his students.  Following his teachings throughout the years, she has adopted Kanai Sensei’s style of aikido, Chief Instuctor of New England Aikikai. Her experience includes years of teaching at UQAM and the University of Montreal, as well as seminars in the United States and here in Aikido de la Montagne since its opening.

Mohamed Mounji

5th dan

He started practicing aikido in 1989 at the age of 26, at the University of Montréal where Aïkido de la Montagne posted instructors (Pascal Tachereau and Pierre Fortin among others).

A year later he began attending the dojo to follow  more closely the teachings of Claude Berthiaume.  Since then, his only prolonged absence has been during his time in the Emirates en 2003 – 04 where Aïkido Al-Ain welcomed him as an invited instructor.

In 1995 Claude Berthiaume put him in charge of the Kids Aikido program. With Kristine Onishi and others, he is among a team who take to heart the development of our young practicioners.

Michel Hannoyer

4th dan

Initiated in France by Master A. Nocquet in 1964, then instructed by Master C. Guiral in Toulouse, he holds strong memories of his early aikido years, particulary seminars with Tamura Sensei, sent to France by O’Sensei, the founder of Aikido.

In Montreal he returned to aikido in 1975 at the McGill  University dojo before becoming a student of Robert Saad sensei, alternating between the Loyola dojo, the YMCA, the Montreal Aikikai and finally at the Centre Metropolitain with Claude Berthiaume Sensei.

In 1984 he moved to New York city where he attended the New  York Aikikai under Yamada Sensei. He then returned to Montreal in 1988 to Aikido de la Montagne.

40 years of presence on the tatami have not dulled his enthusiam for aikido and his search for harmony which he tries in his way to communicate to others.

Chief Instructor

Senior Instructors

Claude Berthiaume began practicing aikido at the age of 17, under the direction of René Gauvin. When the latter retired in 1972, Claude joined the Montreal Aikikai, directed by Massimo Di Villadorata.

In 1974, he obtained his black belt and became the first Aikido instructor of the Service des sports at Université du Québec à Montréal, where he was finishing his Bachelor's degree in Physical Education. At the same time, he began studying Iaido under Kanai Shihan.

In 1981, Berthiaume made a trip to Japan where he trained extensively.

In 1983 he became co-founder of the Centre Métropolitain d'Aikido and developed close ties with Yamada Shihan and more so Kanai Shihan, two students of Morehei Ueshiba, Founder of Aikido. Under their supervision, he traveled extensively in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, South America and various European countries to attend over twenty seminars every year.

In 1988, Centre Métropolitain d'Aikido and Aikido Kensankai, an older Montréal dojo, merge to become Aikido de la Montagne. Berthiaume becomes the chief instructor a task that he has carried ever since. He teaches at the dojo 6 days per week.

Claude Berthiaume is one of the 7 technical directors of the East Coast United States Aikido Federation (USAF). He has been awarded a 7th degree black belt in 2004 and the title of Shihan (Master Instructor).


Aikido de la Montagne


Born July 9 1959, in Liège Belgium, of Belgium mother and Spanish father, Eugène Abarrategui began his practice of Aikido at the University of Quebec in Montreal’s sport center more than 30 years ago. He was promoted to the rank of Shodan in 1987, and received the rank of Rokudan in 2012. During these years he has attended many seminars, mainly USAF, given by Tamura shihan, Yamada shihan, Chiba shihan and Kanai shihan. Since his beginnings in Aikido, as do all the students at Aikido de la Montagne, he has received exceptional teachings from his instructor Claude Berthiaume shihan.

He is introduced to aikido in 1993 by Alain Davidson at the Universty of Montreal's CEPSUM. He quickly joins the ranks of Aikido de la montagne. He receives his black belt in 1998 and is promoted to Yondan (4th dan) in 2011.

He has been taught by Sensei Claude Berthiaume and the senior instructors of the dojo for over twenty years. For ten years he attended numerous seminars by Kanai Sensei. Today he continues to perfect his skills by attending seminars by Yamada Sensei and other masters from Japan, North America and Europe.

Jean-René David

4th dan

He began his practice of Aikido at Aikido de la Montagne with Sensei Berthiaume 2004.

Receives his Shodan in 2010, Nidan in 2012 and Sandan in 2016.

Mauricio Oyarzun

3rd dan