Eddy Fréchette's essay for the obtention of his second dan
Being a black belt, my responsibilities are twofold:
1. Towards the martial arts community in general.
1. TOWARDS THE MARTIAL ARTS COMMUNITY.
In the greater region of the National Capital, we find multiple martial arts schools which teach different disciplines such as Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kick Boxing, Kung-Fu, Jujutsu, Jiu-Jitsu Grappling, Aikido and Thai Boxing. My role and my responsibility as an Aikidoka, are to promote and encourage the practice of MY MARTIAL ART to the people around me (i.e. friends, family, work colleagues) and also to promote and respect the other martial arts as well as the people which practice them.
I have always been taught by my teacher that all martial arts are good and that the people who practice these other martial arts deserve respect. Therefore when I meet friends or colleagues who train seriously, then I hasten myself to learn about their progression and I encourage them to continue and to persevere.
2. TOWARDS SOCIETY.
As I mentioned before, I divide this facet in three.
Since individuals must be apprehended and arrested by policemen with respect to the chart on the problematic of the use of appropriate force and while respecting articles 25 (application of necessary force), 26 (excessive force) and 27 (recourse to reasonably necessary force) of the Canadian criminal Code, our style of Aikido allows us to respect both arrested individuals, as well as the problematic on the use of force and the Canadian law.
The articles 25, 26 and 27 of the Canadian criminal Code, apply to any citizen who finds himself obliged to defend himself against a physical aggression or to defend his property. On top of executing arrests while respecting these articles of the criminal Code, police officers must also make sure they only use necessary force.
Example: if the offender which I must arrest insults me or refuses to comply, then I am not justified to confront him physically according to the chart governing the use of force. However, if this same offender uses or tries to use a random object to hit me or to avoid being apprehended, then I'm justified to use either my stick, or my pepper spray or to use my firearm if this aggression can cause serious injuries or death to myself or to another person. It is therefore very important that I as a policeman, contrary to a citizen, be able to control myself in the situations which present themselves, even these situations are sometimes very violent.
My twenty years of training in Aikido has allowed me to control myself and to control many situations which, I sincerely believe, could have degenerated into much more serious situations. Sadly, even today with all the tools offered to policemen, there are still situations which make the media headlines because certain policemen lost their calm and did not properly control their tools.
Seventeen years later and with new responsibilities that added themselves across the years (being a husband and father, university studies in Law and Business Administration, supervisor of fifteen agents), I have ceased almost all of my activities except walking, biking and Aikido. Aikido is part of my family schedule. If activities or nights out are planned, I make sure (as much as possible) that those will not interfere with my training schedule. Even my university courses are chosen based on days or nights when I am not practicing Aikido. Although sometimes certain training sessions or seminars occur at times when personal or family activities are planned, I try to respect my training schedule while avoiding conflicts with my partner or my children.
As well, for my partner and myself our priority is God, then for each other, then for our children, then our work, our training, our studies... It is therefore important for me (and my partner) that a continuity exists between my fundamental values and my life principles, and what exists in my surroundings (i.e. at work, at the University, in our families...). I won't hide that it is not in my work, nor at the University or in my family that the values and principles I seek are practiced.
However, what you must let show is that you believe in and possess good family values and good principles for living. In his speeches, my teacher always expresses a respect for families, a respect for the individual, a respect towards those weaker than us, a respect for other martial arts (as long as they are well taught and practiced), a respect for the environment, a respect for the health which we possess. He has taught us to accept others as they are without judging them. Therefore for me, it is important to associate myself with people like him who demonstrate respect, perseverance, friendship and who conveys good fundamental values and good principles for living.
As a conclusion, practicing a martial art like Aikido for twenty years, demands from me a certain discipline and availability, demands from my family a certain understanding of the importance of Aikido in my life. The study of Aikido also demands perseverance because this martial art is constantly evolving, it doesn't seem to have an end in itself. The way of doing things and executing techniques are always reviewed, polished and corrected par Master Mochizuki and my teacher. Across the years, I have learned that we must not take for granted the techniques and the way of doing things.
Also when we talk of perseverance, my teacher and his wife are perfect examples. They have been training since 1962 and have never stopped. My teacher left us for California six years ago now and four times a year he comes back to Canada to teach us and he always stays in contact with Master Mochizuki. He has showed us and demonstrated that the years of training from the white belt to the black belt are only the base of Aikido and that after the black belt is when we really begin our true training in the martial art.
If God grants me health for many more years, Aikido is an activity which I will always practice regardless of my age, my physical shape, my speed, my reflexes... because I will always be able to adapt the techniques of the Yoseikan Budo style of Aikido to my physical abilities as Master Mochizuki so well demonstrates.
Eddy Fréchette, September 2000