Aikido: The Way of harmonious spirit

mind, spirit and body

Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.

Morihei Ueshiba


March 3rd, 2018: Seminar with D.Dickie sensei at McGill Aikido

Instructors PDF Print E-mail

Sensei Daniel Laurendeau Shihan – Head Instructor
Gilles Longpré Shihan – Senior Instructor
Eric Kimmel – Yondan Juan-Carlos Cruz – Yondan Jason Lambert – Sandan
Pierre Marier – Shodan Jarrod Jogie – Shodan Michel Brutti – Shodan
Adan Herrera – Shodan Hoang-Ha Pham – Shodan Evgeny Kirshin – Shodan

Daniel Laurendeau Shihan – Head Instructor

  • Began Aikido in October 1975, at Aikikai de Montréal.
  • Attends first Aikido USAF Summer Camp in 1977.
  • In 1981, takes part of an intensive tour of Aikido organisations and dojos in France.
  • First involved as Assistant-Instructor for the McGill Aikido Club in 1982.
  • Earned black belt, first degree (shodan) in 1983.
  • Head Instructor of McGill Aikido in 1984.
  • Travels to Japan with Yamada, Kanai and Tamura Shihans in 1989.
  • Recommended for black belt, 6th degree (Rokudan) in September 2007 by Y. Yamada Shihan.
  • Returns to Japan to train at Hombu Dojo in June 2008.
  • Marks 25th year of teaching at McGill Aikido with seminar lead by Y. Yamada Shihan in November 2009.
  • Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba visits McGill Aikido Dojo in September 2010.
  • In February 2011 travels to Hawaii to participate in the 50th Anniversary Seminar of O'Sensei's only visit outside of Japan.
  • Celebrates his 30th year as Head Instructor at McGill Aikido in October of 2014 with guest Instructors Massimo di Villadorata, Claude Berthiaume and Robert Saad Shihans.
  • Appointed Shihan by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba January 2016.

"Sensei Laurendeau believes that any teacher of aikido should keep training as long as possible as an example to students that the art is a life long learning process for all participants. He maintains a regular training schedule and has attended countless seminars over the past many years.

McGill Aikido organizes seminars for each of the Fall and Winter semesters and has received prominent teachers such as Yoshimitsu Yamada, Massimo di Villadorata, Christian Tissier, Paul Müller, Mary Heiny, Dick Stroud, Pat Hendricks, Donovan Waite, Lorraine DiAnne, Claude Berthiaume and many of the new upcoming generation of Leaders in the Aikido community.

Sensei Laurendeau has been invited to lead seminars and to head classes in the Montreal and Quebec City areas, in Ottawa, Toronto, the United States, Mexico, France, Portugal and Turkey.

As head instructor at McGill Aikido, awakening young people to the values carried by Aikido has certainly been Sensei Laurendeau’s most precious accomplishment. He has presented many of his fine senior students for Dan grades, traditionally at Y. Yamada Shihan’s New York Aikikai.

And he strongly believes that Aikido remains an act of generosity, passing on knowledge as an altruistic gift.

Go, and give some more..."

~ Daniel Laurendeau, Head Instructor


Gilles Longpré Shihan – Senior Instructor

  • Was a former black belt in Karate.
  • Began Aikido in 1976, at Aïkikai de Montréal.
  • Attends first Aikido USAF Summer Camp in 1977.
  • Earned black belt, first degree (shodan) in 1982.
  • In the 1980’s studied Iaido under Mitsunari Kanai Sensei in Boston.
  • Also in 1980’s occasionally led classes of use of Aikido in performance for students of the National Theatre School of Quebec.
  • Took part in more than 200 seminars, many delivered by Shihans Yoshimitsu Yamada, Mitsunari Kanai and Nobuyoshi Tamura.
  • Was given responsibility for supervising candidates for Dan grades at the USAF Summer Camps and New York Christmas seminars.
  • Recommended for 6th degree (rokudan) in September 2007 by Y. Yamada Shihan.
  • Joins McGill Aikido as Senior Instructor in 2015.
  • Appointed Shihan by Doshu Moriteru Ueshiba January 2016.

"It has been almost 40 years now that I have been training with 35 years as an Instructor. And after all those years, I am still learning and realizing that teaching Aikido has made me learn so much about it. You keep wanting to transmit the best to the students thus you maintain the need to be in top shape physically, mentally, to be able to answer to all the inquiries about the Art, engaging you to be more aware of what is Aikido.

So in my teaching I recommend: the right attitude, the honesty in the practice, in the relationship, the respect toward all aspects of one’s existence. That Aikido, still being a martial art, implies training that might be sometimes hard and tough but never violent.

For me, Aikido should be an integral part of everyday life by applying its principles to relationships and daily actions."

~ Gilles Longpré, Senior Instructor


Eric Kimmel – Yondan

  • Started Aikido in 1988 at Montreal’s Aikido de la Montagne.
  • Trained under Obata Sensei for 3 years at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center (JCCC) in mid-town Toronto.
  • 1993 - Moved to downtown Toronto and spent 4 years with Sensei Fran Turner at Aikido Shugyo Dojo.
  • 1997 - Moved back to Montreal and joined McGill Aikido.
  • Involved as Assistant-Instructor in 2002.
  • Tested for and awarded rank of Shodan in 2003.
  • Obtained rank of Nidan in 2006 from Y. Yamada Shihan at the New York Aikikai.
  • In 2011 tested for and was awarded his 3rd Dan rank by Y. Yamada Shihan at New York Aikikai’s Christmas Seminar.
  • Obtained rank of Yondan in 2015 from New York Aikikai

"Aikido has become such a grounding force in my life. Its conflict-free philosophy has translated into a more relaxed nature in both my business and personal life. Aikido is about overcoming one’s ego and the need “to win” all of the time. Because we are responsible for our partner’s safety (even when employing effective controls or throws), we learn to deal with very stressful moments on the mat and in life that don’t necessarily need to result in creating pain or “a loss” for the other person. In my mind, this is the goal of Aikido - to live every moment of one’s life experiencing this sense of focus, lack of ego, and care for those we’re with (regardless of their intentions)."

~ Eric Kimmel, Assistant-Instructor


Juan Carlos Cruz – Yondan

  • 1995: Started Aikido in Mexico City at Carlos Corderos’ Aiki-Cally
  • 1997: Moved to Montreal and joined McGill Aikido
  • 2003: Assistant-Instructor at McGill Aikido
  • 2008: Tested for and awarded rank of Nidan from Y. Yamada Shihan at the New York Aikikai
  • 2012: Tested for and awarded 3rd Dan rank by Y. Yamada Shihan at New York Aikikai’s Christmas Seminar.
  • Obtained rank of Yondan in 2017 from New York Aikikai

"Born in Mexico City, I started practicing martial arts in 1984 (Tae Kwon Do & Lima-Lama); I discovered Aikido in 1995 at Carlos Cordero’s Aiki-Cally; my teachers in Mexico had strong links with Massimo di Villadorata and Daniel Laurendeau in Montreal; therefore, when I came to study my MBA in 1997, I immediately joined McGill Aikido where I am now an assistant instructor.

Aikido is a very important part of my life; I also belong to Amnesty International whose philosophy I find very similar to Aikido’s principles of harmony and non-conflict.

Having an autistic daughter has taught me the importance of understanding that each person is special and unique and we should accept and love each one the way they are. Aikido is very much about this, it’s about being non-competitive and resolving conflict through harmony and understanding. For me, the real challenge is not to conquer others but to understand ourselves.

Working for Air Canada has allowed me to travel to many Aikido seminars where I have established good friendships, particularly with Clyde Takeguchi Shihan and Mary Heiny. I also admire the teachings of Frank Doran and of course Daniel Laurendeau, Massimo di Villadorata and Y.Yamada."

~ Juan-Carlos Cruz, Assistant-Instructor


Jason Lambert - Sandan

  • Begins Aikido in 2002 at Montreal Aikikai with M. di Villadorata Shihan after having practiced Judo and Taekwon-do.
  • Reaches rank of Nidan in 2013, awarded by Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan.
  • Following 13 years training and 4 years teaching at Montreal Aikikai, joins McGill Aikido in May 2015.
  • Instructor for the Thursday night class.
  • 2017: Tested for and awarded 3rd Dan rank at the USAF Summer Camp.

"My practice is centered on the study of the principles of unhindered motion that results in the application of aikido in a natural, spontaneous way, and of the mental and spiritual disposition that arises from this application. On the physical level, elements of dynamic posture, rigorous execution of techniques and correct body motion in time and space are ever present both in empty-handed and weapons practice. These aspects are reflected at the mental level by a mind that is calm but active, imperturbable but never stagnant, thus always free. Zen permeates each moment during practice and the spirit that comes with it allows transcendence of the aggressor-victim duality, transforming conflict into an opportunity of mutual learning, discovery and harmonious progression."

~ Jason Lambert, Instructor


Pierre Marier – Shodan

  • A débuté la pratique des arts martiaux (Kung Fu et Tai Chi) en 1978 pour une période de 14 années
  • S’inscrit à l'Aikikai de Montréal en 1992 et entame l’apprentissage de l’Aïkido avec M. di Villadorata
  • Joint McGill Aikido et devient l’Instructeur de la classe du samedi matin en mai 2015

" Pour moi la pratique de l'Aïkido et des arts martiaux, est tout simplement la poursuite d’une discipline ayant pour but de s'améliorer et qui de se reflète dans notre vie au quotidien.

À mon avis, on peut résumer en quelque mots l'Aïkido par :

Pratique la forme
                         Pour atteindre la non-forme
                                                                Pratique la forme"

~ Pierre Marier, Instructeur


Jarrod Jogie – Shodan

  • 1996: Started Aikido at McGill Aikido
  • 2008: First involved as Assistant-Instructor at McGill Aikido
  • 2013: Tested for and awarded rank of Shodan (black belt) from Y. Yamada Shihan at the New York Aikikai

" When I saw my first Aikido demonstration at McGill Aikido I wanted to train because I thought the hakama looked elegant and the way Uke and Nage moved together seemed like dancing to me. I was intrigued by the idea that we did not want to destroy our attacker but instead show them the error of their ways by redirecting their energy. I also liked that Aikido is a non-competitive practice. We are instead facing our own demons, striving to improve ourselves both in mind and body.

Aikido can be mastered by both young and old; weak and strong. It does not discriminate. I hope to continue my journey in Aikido for many years to come because every time I step onto the mat I always learn something new. This is what keeps me inspired to practice as much as possible. "

~ Jarrod Jogie, Assistant-Instructor


Michel Brutti – Shodan

  • Started Aikido at McGill Aikido in 2003
  • Tested for and awarded rank of Shodan in 2013

" Practicing the martial art of Aikido at McGill, under the stewardship of Sensei Laurendeau, has been a very enriching experience for me. There is a great deal of positive energy that comes out of those hours of training.

In our lives, as we are subjected to pressures coming from various fronts, we tend to spend our energies handling those pressures rather than exploring a true sense of who we are and evaluating where we are at that moment in our life journey. Aikido was definitely a way for me to raise my awareness of who I am, and where I am in relationship to other people.

As I practice it, Aikido is also very powerful at transforming negative energies into positive ones. Applying the same principles in my personal life, it has provided me with a more enriching and inspiring journey. "

~ Michel Brutti, Assistant-Instructor


Adan Herrera – Shodan

  • 1999: Started Aikido in Venezuela at «Asociación Aikido Dinamico»
  • 2006: Assistant instructor for Sensei Jesus Correa
  • 2007: Moved to Montreal and run (lead) an Aikido Club for three years in the city
  • 2010: Joined McGill Aikido under Sensei Daniel Laurendeau.
  • 2014: Tested and awarded rank of Shodan from Yoshimitsu Yamada Shihan at New York Aikikai

" The first time I knew about Aikido, I was told that its ethics of defense in combat was not to defeat a person but to defeat violence in itself. This means that Aikido is not about how to kick and punch but about non-resistive yet non-passive ways of resolving conflicts. Aikido is about listening and respecting each other and finding our best relationship with the universe around us.

When I am on the mat, I see Aikido as a physical representation of how to face challenges beyond the mat, right there in our everyday life. "

~ Adan Herrera, Assistant-Instructor


Hoang-Ha Pham – Shodan

  • Started Aikido at McGill Aikido in 2006
  • Tested for and awarded rank of Shodan in 2014 at the New York Aikikai

" Aikido is definitely a big part of my life. It has taught me many principles that I try to apply to my personal life. So far, I believe it has made me a better person on and off the mat. However, as much as I like aikido, it is not the martial art itself that has pushed me to continue for so many years, but rather the dojo where I train: McGill Aikido.

Daniel Laurendeau sensei's passion and enthusiasm is unbelievably contagious. Through his 30 years of teaching, he has made McGill Aikido into a very warm, friendly and fun place to train while maintaining the skill level and discipline at a very high standard. The people that I train with at McGill Aikido are among the nicest people that I know. There's definitely something about aikido and Daniel Laurendeau sensei that makes people strive to become better persons. I don't know what it is, but I intent to find out. For now, the journey continues... "

~ Hoang-Ha Pham, Assistant-Instructor


Evgeny Kirshin – Shodan

  • Started Aikido in 2007 in Moscow, at “Budo-Kai” dojo, led by Sensei Sergey Rychkov
  • Joined McGill Aikido dojo in 2009
  • Tested for and awarded rank of Shodan in 2014 at the New York Aikikai

" At the beginning, with my first Aikido experience, I was impressed with the ideas of spirals, springs and spheres – the concepts that explain the flow of energy in Aikido. To this day I keep following fundamental principles of Aikido, such as yielding, blending, and flowing, and find them quite applicable in our everyday life. I have learned to substitute over-powering of individuals for control of a situation. Practicing aikido helps staying calm and aware in difficult circumstances.

Sensei D. Laurendeau has been a very inspiring teacher and a great example of dedication to follow. "

~ Evgeny Kirshin, Assistant-Instructor