A 72-year-old Lamèque resident has just received his 7th-degree black belt in aiki-jitsu.

Louis-Paul Savoie has been practising the ancient form of Japanese self-defence since 1961. 

He said mastering the martial art has nothing to do with size, stature or age.

He said he believes the non-violent aiki-jitsu practice has kept him young — for the past 53 years.

Louis-Paul Savoie

Louis-Paul Savoie, 72, teaches the martial art in Lamèque. (CBC)

"I got into it years ago. I was practising judo as a sport and the teacher also taught aiki-jitsu so I started just for fun and I've been at it ever since," he said.

Savoie, now retired from the military, teaches the discipline in Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël in the Acadian Peninsula. He practices five times a week.

His 7th-degree black belt is one of the highest honours of aiki-jitsu.

"You don't quit. A black belt is only a white belt who never quits. That's all it is," said Savoie.

He said the martial art isn't about fighting and it's not about pride.

The goal of aiki-jitsu is to neutralize your opponent and avoid any more conflict than you need, he said.

Savoie said it's never too late to learn.