About the Dojo

Welcome to all

Claude Berthiaume is a 7th dan Shihan (master instructor certified through Doshu, Hombu Dojo). He has been the chief instructor of Aikido de la Montagne since it was founded in 1989. He is supported by a team of senior instructors including Robert Saad Shihan 7th dan, as well as additional high-ranking students.

Claude Berthiaume is a Board Member of the United States Aikido Federation and a member of its Technical Committee which is comprised of a select number of Shihan who have dedicated their lives to the practice and instruction of Aikido. He is a highly-respected instructor who is often invited to give seminars internationally.

Loyal to the heart of the dojo, he pays special attention to beginners and to their training in aikido and iaido.

The Dojo

“Aikido de la Montagne” is a not-for-profit organization, open to all, which exists only for the benefit of its members. Each person who is registered in the dojo automatically becomes a member.

The dojo has a Board of Directors whose members are elected during an annual General Assembly. The Board ensures the good management of the dojo and that it follows its mission to promote aikido. The Board appoints the chief instructor to be responsible for instruction in the dojo. Instructors and Board members are volunteers and not paid.

Dojo members’ dues pay the rent, the bills for public services, and general costs to run the dojo. Membership fees are not used to pay instructors or administrative committee members, who are all volunteers.

The dojo posts the names of people whose membership fees are about to expire as well as names of those whose dues are late. Please consult the bulletin board and pay your dues on time to help keep the dojo running smoothly.

The dojo should be impeccably clean, for both respect and for hygiene. The dojo does not have employees, thus clearning is a job for all members. Specifically, the tatamis should be swept and cleaned after each class. No special training is needed to help with cleaning. To help, watch others and ask instructors or advanced students. Please do your share!

Additionally, the chief instructor and dojo administrators count on the good will and talents of all our members to keep our expenses low and thus avoiding having to increase fees.

Aïkido de la Montagne is affiliated with the USAF (US Aikido Federation) an international organization which includes over a hundred dojos in the United States and a few more across Canada and other countries mostly in America and in Europe. In addition to access to other member dojos, the federation allows access for our members to a world-wide network of dojos that are conntected with Hombu Dojo in Tokyo. Our affiliation with the USAF follows from strong links forged over the last 40 years between the dojos’s senior instructors and some of the first aikido resident instructors sent by aikido’s founder to North America, Yamada Sensei in New York and Kanai Sensei in Boston. The USAF guarantees high-quality teaching and a rigorous structure for ranking. In addition, our affiliation helps us host major seminars in Montreal with outstanding instructors (as was the case in 2010 when we hosted Doshu, the grandson of the Founder of aikido). Claude Berthiaume, as a Board member of the USAF and a member of its Technical Committee, brings to the dojo an international reputation for excellence.

Visiting the Dojo

You can view our photo albums by clicking here.

No appointment is needed to watch a class. Present yourself at the desk near the dojo entrance, ideally 5 minutes before the class starts, take off your shoes, and have a seat. If you have never seen aikido, the classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6pm and on Saturday at 11h30am will show you what a class for beginners looks like.

If you already practice aikido and happen to visit Montreal, and you are a member of a federation recognized by Hombu dojo, you are welcome to come practice with us. Let us know ahead of time or present yourself at the desk near the dojo entrance with your gi and let us know you would like to practice.

For the first visit, there is no mat fee. If you plan to visit with us for longer, please discuss weekly or monthly fees with the chief instructor.

Deadline for Uchi deshi application March 5, 2017. See the application form.


    • 3724 avenue du Parc, Montréal, QC H2X 2J1, Canada
    • Phone:514.845.2729


Head Instructor
Claude Berthiaume Shihan
Instructor en chef 7th dan
claudeb1Claude 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).

Robert Saad Shihan
Instructor senior 7th dan

« 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.

Louise Jalbert
Instructor senior 6th dan
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’Aikido), 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.


Eugène Abarrategui shihan
Instructor senior 6th dan

Eugene Abarrategui, started practicing aikido in 1978, under the teaching of Claude Berthiaume, shihan, then instructor at Université du Québec in Montreal.

Since then, Eugene, attended many seminars of aikido organized by the Dojo Aikido de la Montagne, as well as those in the United States (USAF) and in Europe (Sansuikai). In 2017, Eugene, practiced in Japan at Hombu Dojo, head of Aikido Fondation in Tokyo, and in Kyoto and Fukuoka.

He was awarded the rank of black belt, shodan, in 1987. And was promoted 6e dan in aikido, January 1, 2012. On January 1, 2019, he received the title of Shihan in aikido.

Sensei Abarrategui passed away in January 2020.


Mohamed Mounji
Instructor 6th 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
Instructor 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.


Jean-René David
Instructor 5th dan

He was 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 Godan (5th dan) in 2016.

He has been taught by Sensei Claude Berthiaume and the senior instructors of the dojo for over twenty five 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.



Liliane Bourgouin
Instructor 3rd dan (iaido), 2nd dan (aikido)
A Physical education teacher and holder of a diploma from the National Circus School, Liliane began her practice of Aikido in 2002 and iaido in 2004.

She is currently ranked 3rd degree black belt (Sandan) in Aikido and iaido.