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

Claude Berthiaume began Aikido in 1971, at the age of 17, with René Gauvin. Gauvin Sensei retired in 1972 and Claude joined the Aikikai of Montreal under the direction of Massimo Di Villadorata.

In 1975, he received his black belt and became the first aikido instructor at the University of Quebec at Montreal, where he was finishing his Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. It was at this time that, in parallel with aikido, he began to practice iaido.

In 1981, he spent time in Japan, where he practiced intensively.

In 1983, he became co-founder of the Centre métropolitain d’aikido. Beginning at that time, strong bonds were formed with Yamada Shihan and particularly with Kanai Shihan, two students of Morehei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido. He began to participate in more than 20 seminars with them each year in Canada, the United States, Japan, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. To date, he has participated in and/or led more than 750 seminars in 20 countries.

In 1985, the Centre métropolitain d’aikido and Aikido Kensankai de Montréal joined together to become Aikido de la montagne. Claude Berthiaume became Head Instructor, a position he still holds today. He teaches or practices at the dojo six days a week.

Claude Berthiaume is one of the seven Technical Directors of the United States Aikido Federation, directed by Yamada Shihan. Since 2004 he has held the rank of 7th degree black belt and the title of Shihan. He has also held a 6th degree black belt in iaido since 2004 and is the Technical Director of the Kiyoikaze Iaido Federation. This federation was was created to maintain the teachings of Kanai Shihan, with whom Claude also studied jo and bokken.

As Head Instructor at Aikido de la montagne, Claude relies on Robert Saad Shihan (7th dan) and several other instructors who teach regularly at the dojo.
In 2007, Claude received his diploma as a Circus Arts Teacher Trainer from the National Circus School in Montreal. Since 2012, he has been an instructor at the université de Montréal, where he teaches circus arts to future physical education teachers.

Sharing knowledge is also a priority for Claude Berthiaume. He is proud to welcome, every year, practitioners from Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America who come to Aikido de la montagne for periods of three to six months to benefit from his and the other instructors’ knowledge.

For Claude Berthiaume, it is important to maintain an open mind and to never be afraid to challenge and question oneself. It is for this reason that the students of Aikido de la Montagne are encouraged to participate in a variety of seminars to enrich their experience. It is for the same reason that, since 1983, the dojos that he has directed have organised seminars with many renowned instructors including the following:

Moriteru Ueshiba (Doshu), Mitsuteru Ueshiba (Waka Sensei), Yamaguchi Sensei, Tamura Sensei, Yamada Sensei, Chiba Sensei, Kanai Sensei, Kawahara Sensei, Osawa Sensei, Ichiachi Sensei, Shibata Sensei, Konigsberg Sensei, Peter Bernath Sensei, Waite Sensei, Demko Sensei, Obata Sensei, Ishiyama Sensei, Penny Bernath Sensei, LeVourch Sensei, Koyanis Sensei, Laurendeau Sensei, Dickie Sensei, Spruell Sensei, Ha Sensei, May Sensei, Dumlao Sensei, Janczuk Sensei, Lapointe Sensei, Roberts Sensei, Laplante Sensei.

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.

Mohamed Mounji
Instructor 6th dan

Mohamed began aikido in 1989 at the sports complex of the University of Montreal, where Aikido de la montagne organised satellite courses during the academic year (with instructors Pascal Tachereau and Pierre Fortin, among others). One year later, he joined Aikido de la montagne to study under Claude Berthiaume Shihan. Since that time, his only long time away was spent in the United Arab Emirates from 2003-2004, where Aikido Al-Ain welcomed him as a guest instructor.

In 1995 Claude Berthiaume Shihan invited Mohamed to create and direct an aikido program for children and youth. Today, in addition to teaching, Mohamed works to mentor future youth instructors.

Jean-René David
Instructor 6th 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 rokudan (6th dan) in 2022.

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.

Vinh Pham
Instructor 5th dan
After practicing other martial arts, Vinh turned towards aikido in the 1990s, attracted by the principles that transcend this art: humility and harmony.

During his development in this art, he has benefited from the teaching of the instructors at Aikido de la montagne, primarily the chief instructor, Berthiaume Shihan.

In 2003, he was awarded his first-degree black belt and currently holds the rank of Godan (5th Dan). He has continued his growth by participating in seminars with great masters such as Kanai Shihan, Yamada Shihan, Tamura Shihan, Chiba Shihan, Kawahara Shihan, Tissier Shihan, and Endo Shihan, to name a few.

Learning aikido is a never ending process and Vinh’s past experience with other martial arts brings another dimension to his aikido practice. He is also holds 1st degree black belt in Yoseikan AikiJujitsu.

Charles Dubois
Instructor 5th dan

He began practicing aikido in 1990 with Sensei Mahmed Benchabane who followed the teachings of Sensei Koichi Tohei. Soon afterwards, he continued his training with Sensei Hélène Bertrand et Sensei Pierre Gosselin at the St-Sacrement dojo in Quebec City and later at the dojo at PEPS sports center at Laval University (with Sensei Pierre Gosselin and Sensei Jocelyne Caron). He received his black belt in 2002 and currently holds the rank of godan (5th dan). Since 2004, he has been practicing at Aikido de la montagne where he continues to increase his knowledge of aikido, primarily through the teaching of Claude Berthiaume Shihan and Robert Saad Shihan. He regularly participates in seminars with senior instructors of the USAF.

Galina Stancheva
Instructor 4th dan

Galina’s Aikido journey began in 1992 at age 12 in Bulgaria under Georgi Ivanov Sensei, a key figure in Bulgarian Aikido. Following Ivanov Sensei’s passing in 1996, she trained under various Bulgarian teachers, earning her first-degree black belt in 2000 under Yoshiaki Yokota Shihan (8th Dan) and her nidan in 2010 under Takanori Kurybayashi Shihan (7th Dan). During this time, she participated in numerous international Aikido seminars, learning from esteemed senseis worldwide, including Masatake Fujita Shihan, Shigemi Inagaki Shihan, Horii Estuji Shihan, Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, Hiroshi Isoyama Shihan, to name a few. She was also a co-instructor at “Aiki School” Dojo in Sofia.

In 2013, Galina moved to Vienna, Austria, continuing her practice under Gert Pöckl Sensei (6th Dan) and expanding her skills across Europe with renowned Aikido teachers like Seishiro Endo Shihan, Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan,Toshiro Suga Shihan and Hiroshi Tada Shihan.

Galina successfully passed her sandan black belt exam with Carlo Raineri Shihan (7th Dan) in late 2015.

In 2016 her journey led her to Japan, for the 12th IAF Aikido Congress held at Takasaki and to Tokyo, where she practiced at Hombu Dojo under Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba and Dojo-Cho Mitsuteru Ueshiba.

Upon relocating to Montreal, Canada, in 2018, she further developed her skills at Aikido de la Montagne under Claude Berthiaume Sensei and senior instructors, participating in numerous local, US and international seminars. Recognizing her dedication and expertise, she was promoted to yondan (4th Dan) by the USAF in 2022.

With over 32 years of uninterrupted practice, Galina continues to both practice and teach at ADLM dojo.

Liliane Bourgouin
Instructor 4th dan (iaido), 4th dan (aikido)

Instructor of physical education and holder of a Trainer in Circus Arts certificate from the National Circus School, Liliane started aikido in 2002 and in iaido in 2004.

Each year, she participates in about twenty aikido and/or iaido seminars in Europe, the United States, and South America.

She is currently a 4rd degree black belt in aikido and 4th degree black belt in iaido.

She has received her Kaiden certificate in the Ikenobo Schoolf of Japanese flower arranging (ikebana).

Karim Rholem
Instructor 4th dan

He began aikido in 2000 at Aikido de la montagne with Claude Berthiaume sensei, Bob Saad sensei, and other senior students. Since then, he has participated in many seminars with instructors such as Kanai sensei, Yamada sensei, Chiba sensei, Tamura sensei and many others. He currently holds the rank of 4th degree black belt.

When he was younger, for ten years he practiced Japanese jujitsu, with an emphasis on strikes and kansetsu-waza (dislocation techniques), and received a black belt.

Today, with humility and open mindedness, he continues to learn and be fascinated by the captivating art that is aikido.

Luis Caceres
Instructor 3rd dan

Luis started Aikido in 1998 in Lima, Peru, at the Japanese Cultural Center (Aikido Keiten Ryu) with Sensei Michio Kanai, student of Sensei Yoshio Kuroiwa. For him, this was the beginning of continuous learning in a discipline about which he is very passionate.

From 2003-2004, Luis lived in Lübeck, Germany, where he continued his aikido practice at the Lübecker Judo-Club with Sensei Gerd Bennewitz.

In 2009, after immigrating to Canada, Luis started training with Sensei Eugene Abarrategui who was giving classes for students of the University of Montreal at Aikido de la Montagne. Luis then joined  Aikido de la Montagne in 2010. He trains there under the instruction of all the teachers and obtained the rank of Shodan in 2016 and Nidan in 2018. Over the years, his involvement with aikido and the dojo has grown, and now he is one of the instructors for the children’s program and is responsible for leading a weapons class for adults.

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.

Michel Hannoyer
Instructor 5th 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.

Sensei Hannoyer passed away in June 2022. You can read here a tribute from one of our students.

Michel was our big brother, always calm and ready to help us. Discreet but effective, he analyzed problematic situations and shared his recommendations with us without ever imposing them. His contribution to our dojo was major for its development and he continues to do so even after his departure. He is and will remain in our memories and conversations.

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. On January 1, 2019, he received the title of Shihan in aikido.

Sensei Abarrategui passed away in January 2020.

Eugene had a natural talent for Aikido, his movements were fluid, graceful and when he wanted it, very efficient. He liked to travel and create links with practitioners from other dojos. In addition to having been a loyal friend, Eugene was an inspiration to several of us.