Aikido Beginners [Berthiaume]
Claude Berthiaume began practicing aikido at the age of 17, under the direction of RenÃ© 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 UniversitÃ© du QuÃ©bec Ã MontrÃ©al, where he was finishing his Bachelorâ€™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 MÃ©tropolitain dâ€™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 MÃ©tropolitain dâ€™Aikido and Aikido Kensankai, an older MontrÃ©al 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).
“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.