Second Lesson

Thank you for your interest in our school and in the Black Belt Character Development™ program

Before your next (or first) visit, please answer these questions:

Q: What do I like about the program?

Q: What benefits do I expect to gain from karate?

Q: What days will I attend classes?

Q: Will I adhere to the values of the student creed?

Q: Can I see myself setting a goal and following it through to completion?
It can take about 60 months to achieve black belt.

Q: Can we see participating as a family?
A high percentage of children enrolling have one or both parents attending classes with them. Consider enrolling as a family.

Q: Are we willing to support our school and share the value of its program with others?
The quality of our school depends largely upon the quality of our students. Our most committed students are referred to us by family and friends.

Q: Am I willing to commit myself?
You should come to the second lesson prepared to finalize the financial arrangements. A minimum deposit is required to cover initial tuition, and there are a wide variety of payment options available for continuing tuition coverage. The program director will help you select the one most appropriate for you. Both parents must be present for the enrollment of a child. Similarly, adults are encouraged to bring any family member that may be affected by the time or financial commitment made by the student.

The Student Creed

Part 1: I will develop myself in a positive manner and avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or my physical health.
Part 2: I will develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in myself and others.
Part 3: I will use the art of Kenpo constructively and defensively to help myself and my fellow man, and never to be abusive or offensive.
Part 3B: I will obey my parents and teachers, because I know this is right.
Part 4: As a dedicated student of the martial arts, I will live by the principles of Black Belt; modesty, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.

Why Karate Instruction Will Benefit Your Child

Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center’s program works hand in hand with a child’s schoolwork, providing improved self-discipline, self- confidence, mental alertness, and goal-setting skills. At Family Martial Arts Center young people are taught that through dedicated, intense work, all worthwhile goals in life are possible. Parents have attributed our program with improved grades as a direct result of the increased achievement motivation, self-direction, and self-confidence provided by the program.

Goal Setting

It is important for each child to learn to set short-term, inter mediate, and long-term goals. At Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center, every child’s goal is the Black Belt. a symbol of excellence in martial arts and an important tool for instructors and parents to use for developing desire, tenacity, and for teaching the importance of follow-through in any activity.

Exam Emphasis On Schoolwork

All young people in the program are required to bring copies of their grades from school, complete parent/teacher intent to promote forms, and complete exam qualification forms prior to testing. All of these support our focus on academic excellence as well as contribute to the family and the community. Len Brassard’s instructors work hand-in-hand with school teachers and parents to insure a well-balanced and focused development process for each child.

Proper Use of Skills

It is constantly stressed to all students that karate skills require them never to be abusive or offensive and are only for use defensively.

Black Belt Characters

Becoming a Black Belt is much more than punches, kicks, and breaking boards. At Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center a Black Belt is earned through years of Character Development and personal growth. To help our younger students understand what it means to become a black belt we created the Black Belt Characters. Here is an introduction of the team:


Modesty is very strong and very skilled. Rather than using his abilities to seek recognition or reward, he uses them to help others achieve their own personal best.

Integrity always stands up for what is right. She always tells the truth and makes honorable choices, even when she is alone. If she says she is going to do something, she does it.

Perseverance is very patient and always achieves any goal he sets for himself. He is determined and will avoid distractions that may get in his way to success.

Self-Control is focused and calm. She never loses her temper or control of her emotions. She is careful not to do or say anything that will hurt herself or others.

Indomitable Spirit is determined to succeed. When others try to tear him down, he never loses sight of the rewards of success. Nothing can stop him from reaching his goals.

Wisdom has had a lifetime of experiences. He has an excellent memory, and takes even better notes. Wisdom is well respected by everyone and loves to share his knowledge with those willing to learn.

See What Our Students Are Saying

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
I started training at Family Martial Arts Center in 2012 at the age of 31. I already had a black belt from a previous karate school. I again earned a white belt and progressed to a black belt. The trainer's helped me to gain confidence and perfect my moves. You will become confident the more you pratice, attend class and give 100% of your time and effort. I have a black belt and I am still going to classes. I am very dedicated to accomplishing what I set my mind to do. I also want to be able to defend my self in all situations.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Perseverance because I want to stick with it to Black Belt and beyond til the the end. Reaching the goal of Black Belt I feel accomplished from what I started. I put self-defense first before you get attacked.


Andrea Thibaudeau September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
When Brandan started at age 3, we weren't sure how he would do or even if he would like it. Watching him grow over the years with your family, the FMAC family till he graduated with his Black Belt we knew it was the right place. The program you offer students and the families is solid, you set great examples of how to treat other and instilling confidence in the students. Brandan developed confidence, felt pride in himself and I could see his excitement when he was able to complete his forms. I am so thankful to FMAC and staff for taking the time with the young ones and helping to shape them as they grow. As Brandan grows older and has new adventures, still figuring out who he is, I know he has learned compassion, how to be a team player and self confidence. The FMAC family will always have a place in my heart.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
There are a couple that come to mind, at times Brandan found it difficult or frustrating when he couldn't remember a form or felt like he couldn't keep up more so when he was younger 4-8yrs old. Perseverance came into action, he learned it was "OK" to fall behind or not being able to keep up, he was encouraged to keep going finish his routine even if he was the last one. Over time he it didn't bother him so much. He had great support and encouragement from staff and his peers. Now at almost 14, he is comfortable with being who he is, he has overcome some difficult trials in his young life and I feel he has gained the knowledge and wisdom to learn how to adjust and persevere with the help and guidance from FMAC, it started there.


Brandan Grossi September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
FMAC stands for family martial arts center, and that is exactly what it is; a family. I started going to FMAC when I was in second grade and now I am a junior in high school and I can honestly say that I have gained a second family. FMAC is a family who not only taught me to defend myself but also to persevere and be comfortable in my own skin. Ever since I joined FMAC I have become a better person. I have learned to treat others the way I would like to be treated, and to always respect others. I used to be a shy person who didn’t get along with others but now after experiencing not only being a student but also a teacher at FMAC, I have learned how to start up conversations and listen to others. In the end FMAC is not only a place to learn martial arts but also develop your character through fun and exciting adventures.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
I have developed a lot of different characteristics but I believe that I have developed perseverance the most through my time with FMAC, and I believe that it is important for kids like me when I started; to work on developing that area of their character because they are going to have to work through difficult obstacles all their lives. They need to learn that they are capable of overcoming the hardest obstacles life can throw at them as long as they have perseverance and can push through those mental obstacles they can do anything they set their minds to.


Brianna Lincks September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
When I started at FMAC when I was six, I had no idea of what a deep impact my time there would have on who I have become today. Ten years later, as I reflect back upon what they have taught me, I realize they are the reason I am so driven to reach goals. Through FMAC, I was not only taught the values of the student creed and how to utilize them to better myself, but also to teach and share them with others. I am very fortunate to have been able to learn valuable life skills and give back to a community as supportive and enthusiastic as FMAC.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Out of all the black belt characters, I definitely feel as though I developed indomitable spirit the most. This shows when I set goals and try my hardest with an unconquerable spirit to achieve them, thanks to the Black Belt Characters. It is crucial for kids to develop this area of character, because it is very important to develop the motivation and spirit to achieve milestones. This will carry over later in life, and help with your self confidence and work ethic.


Brigid Griffin September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
I began training in 1994 at age 48, 2 years after my then 6-year-old son Nicholas began training at the Fitchburg YMCA with Dr. Len. In May 1994, the studio started a “Mother’s Day” program for any studio moms who wanted to try out one 5-week cycle. It looked like a lot of fun, so I jumped at the chance. I entered the Mother’s Day program along with 5-6 other mothers, including Cathy Everbeck, and I was hooked. Nick and I began attending classes together, and we did this together twice a week (at least) until he graduated from high school and left for Army basic training (2003). (To his dismay, he was always one belt behind me after that!) It was deeply satisfying to recite the Student Creed together; that was one of the things that drew us, as Nick’s parents, to this particular program. I discovered some interesting things during that time. The most surprising – and encouraging – was that, as a middle-aged woman (and probably old enough to be grandmother to some of the students I worked out with) – I actually had to give teen-age boys permission to ‘punch’ me. Needless to say, I had no such hesitation with them! But I also learned how to “pull” my punches so as not to hurt my training partners; even though I’m only 4’10”, I was still pretty strong, even surprising to me. Partner courtesy was a big part of the training that I came to really appreciate and apply outside the studio in a variety of ways.

By 2015, Cathy and I were the only ones left from that original mom’s class, and we were both 5th degree black belts. Along the way, I joined the teaching staff for a few years before my work travel schedule made it difficult to maintain my training schedule (I was contracting back at Digital). I still remember practicing Form IV in my hotel room in Rio de Janerio in 1996 while watching the US presidential election returns! Being a teacher was very rewarding and advanced my understanding of “the puzzle.” I filled at least six 3” notebooks over the years with my thoughts and understanding of the 81 techniques and 9 forms that comprise the system. Also along the way, Nick and I committed ourselves to Christ, and I discovered that this opened up a new level of conversation about the puzzle with Dr. Len, as Ed Parker had also been a Christian and his spiritual insights were part of his brilliantly constructed system. I was deeply fascinated and challenged by both the physical and intellectual aspects of the Ed Parker American Kenpo Karate system. As someone who had participated in many “personal growth” programs before beginning karate training with Dr. Len (and before becoming a Christian), I can attest that Dr. Len Brassard is the best teacher I have ever encountered, bar none; his ability to challenge students individually and meet them where they are is exceptional.

Looking back on my training, I can truthfully say that it represented one of the most sustained and most challenging commitments – in many different ways – of my life (up there with my career at Digital, my marriage, and being a Christian). The camaraderie with the other students and teachers, the joy of assisting others to learn, and, most of all, the satisfaction of learning complex moves and understanding how and why they were put together, are memories and experiences I will always cherish. Along the way, I learned patience, respect, and just exactly what it means to have an indomitable spirit. I will always hold the FMAC school in deep respect and appreciation for all I experienced and received there.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Possessing an Indomitable Spirit is surely required to be able to persevere in the presence of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. During my 21 years of training with Dr. Brassard and an ever-changing studio teaching staff, I experienced numerous difficulties, obstacles and discouragement -- some of them in my personal and professional life, occasionally in my karate training. The greatest karate challenge occurred a few months after I committed myself to Christ – 3 years after starting my training, 2 years after joining the teaching staff, and just before my first black belt exam -- and that made a huge difference in how I handled this challenge. At times I felt like giving up, but the determination I’d acquired and demonstrated in learning 81+ techniques and 4 forms enabled me to persevere despite my feelings. I continued to find great meaning and satisfaction in the intellectual and physical challenges of the training, as well as in the camaraderie with other students and teachers. I also discovered I could still respect someone who had hurt me and carry on in our mutual enjoyment and appreciation of Ed Parker’s brilliant system and truly enjoy our interactions. So for me personally, I discovered the qualities of perseverance and indomitable spirit within myself over the years without consciously trying to acquire them. The training provided the environment that allowed this personal growth to happen, along with the personal changes I experienced as a new, and eventually a more mature, Christian. All of the qualities represented by the Black Belt Characters are important for anyone – not just those training in karate – to develop in order to become a responsible, productive member of society. But developing an indomitable spirit that perseveres when faced with challenges is probably the most important quality we need for success in life. The Family Martial Arts Center truly provides opportunities for all these qualities to be developed and acquired – often in spite of ourselves.


Carolyn Abbott September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
In 1991 I enrolled my sons in Karate at FMAC. Two years later I enrolled myself and we all began taking family class together. My son's went on to get 2nd degree black belt and I received 3rd degree. These years provided fun, discipline, encouragement, family values and a wealth of martial arts knowledge like none other! I became a teacher and these people became my family. I can't say enough about FMAC and their professionalism and great learning atmosphere. I highly recommend them for any child or adult.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most in your training?
I feel that was Perseverance was the most developed while training. My training taught me to keep going, set achievable goals and you can attain anything you set your mind to. I have found that this is also very much required in our daily walk of life, So I was able to take what I learned in my training to many other parts of my daily life and become successful by following this principle.


Carrie Harris September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
My first experience with FMAC was as a parent of a special needs child. I was so happy to find a studio where my son would be accepted and challenged, a place which reinforced the values we were teaching at home. Soon after, my daughter also enrolled as a student and eventually became a teacher here as well. She brought me to class during parent appreciation cycle, and from day one I was hooked. Twenty two years later I am still here, still enjoying the camaraderie with good people, benefitting from great exercise, and being challenged by the demands of learning and teaching. Through the years, the studio has been respite for me from the vicissitudes of life and an inspiration to strive to be the best person I can be. I thank FMAC every day for enriching my life so profoundly.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most through your training?
Of the six Black Belt Characters, I would say that I have developed Perseverance the most. I have learned to achieve each long term goal via the attainment of a series of short term goals. I have learned that being a martial artist is a marathon, not a sprint, and a personal challenge, not a competition. I have learned that there will be periods of growth in skill and understanding and also many plateaus, which can be weathered with prioritizing, patience, and focus. And I have learned to find value and joy in small steps in understanding and skill, knowing that perseverance will bring greater progress.


Cathy Everbeck September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
Martial Arts Training at Family Martial Arts Center is all about family. This program taught us self-defense, both physically and mentally. It brought us together when times for us were challenging and helped to create a bond between the two of us that can never be broken. During the the Black Belt candidacy process, my son and I learned the true meaning of Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit. The years we have spent training together have been the building blocks of our success. Without FMAC in our tool box we'd be just like a carpenter without a hammer. The program has been a blessing to us in so many ways. Thank You FMAC!!!

Which Black Belt Character helped Donny the most growing up?
Self-Control. The phrases "Control your self so others don't have to" and "Obey your parents and teacher because you know this is right" have been key verbal tools utilized frequently in my house for Donny and for myself. Self control demonstrates respect for yourself and for others.


Don & Donny Crowley September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
Going through life as a child, and growing into a young adult with Un-diagnosed Sensory Integration Disorder was not easy. My mother, Before my diagnosis tried desperately to find some thing to ground my ever over stimulated body. She tried to find answers that no one in my schools cared to find. She tried to find an activity for me that was not rushed, that was not a group sport with under sensitive team mates, and coaches that didn't understand that no amount of catching practice would help me understand where the ball was, in relation to my hand. Then she found Dr. Len Brassard, A child Physiologist, and a kind, caring man that owned a Kenpo studio. I will always remember my first cab ride and walking through the doors for the first time. I was absolutely terrified. I was never going to be able to do this, I thought as I watched my future instructor, Mr. Troy's arm slice through the air the first time I saw star block set. "I will never get this", I said to him. He explained the upward block to me, and he said it was the most important block. His arm swung and my hand did not go up in time. His closed fist touched my forehead and a tear fell from my eye, It was another thing that " was not for me". Another swing of his arm was coming but this time he guided my other arm and grounded the Confidence in me to try again, my block met his arm and even though he helped, I accomplished it. All night we worked three blocks. I saluted off of the mat that night and knew that the people at this studio cared about me. I knew that Dr. Len Brassard taught his teachers how to care as well, and how to teach, and interact with families from all walks of life. Later In life a diagnosis came, and a plan for extensive amounts of therapy, But I had found everything I needed as far as therapeutic needs go. Support, Encouragement, Physical training, Life Lesson talks, and Character Development are all wonderful, and truly invaluable aspects of the FMAC program. As a student I felt the nurturing surroundings and flourished, in my training and in my own skin. As a teacher, I can say that every pair of uncertain eyes will be met with reassurance, and perseverance. Your child is the reason we come in every night, the reason FMAC carrys on with Kenpo, Because it is not Just karate, It is true compassion in our community.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
When we end the class with our student creed. We are making a promise to salute off the mat and carry on developing our character in every aspect of our life. I began this journey with no idea how to begin, but in wanting so bad to learn, Indomitable Spirit started growing into my spirit naturally with every new daunting tasks completion. As students at FMAC we are given an environment where character and who we are as people are the most important aspects of our training, in this environment growth is truly attainable. Family Martial Arts Center has enabled me to grow, far beyond imagined. And also given means to work on, and attain a truly life changing attribute, Indomitable Spirit


Elizabeth Peters September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
At a young age, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a condition that was not fully understood at the time. I had difficulty with controlling my emotions and couldn't manage my anger well. I also carried a lot of fears; from my fears of lightning (loud, sudden noises), the dark, dogs, and heights, to my fears of trying new things. I was also slower paced in my ability to learn, and teaching me in the conventional way was near impossible. Still, my family believed in my potential.

My chances of being a martial artist looked slim however, as both my mother and I were worried about finding the right school, and about how it would work with my emotional instability. As I grew into my early teens however, by chance I received an invitation from a close friend, who was having his birthday at FMAC. We stepped into their doors for the first time, and got a sense of the atmosphere. After the day of the party, I proceeded with the free trial I was given, and began my training. Our first impressions were positive, and from then on I continued with my training, I was here at last.

I still remember the nervousness I felt when I became a yellow belt, the one thing I was uncertain of was being able to perform in front of a massive audience, with the whole thing being recorded. I overcame it however, when it was finally my turn to stand up, and the rest of the night went by easily. Before I knew it, I was facing new challenges, like when I broke my first brick, after being encouraged by my friend, to when I put on the black uniform and began to pursue sparring and weapons training.

One of the biggest turning points in my development however, was during my intermediate ranks, when Dr. Len was giving one of his talks. He said, "My patient asked me, 'when will I no longer be afraid of lightning?'. I told him, 'Whenever you choose not to be.'" His words were simple, but since then they've left a mark in me. I realized then that what I was training for was something greater than just a childhood aspiration; it was to find my own potential, and learn to overcome the obstacles that I was challenged with.

Finally, I made it into the black belt prep classes, where I began to face some of the biggest learning challenges in my life, as my forms and techniques felt a lot more complicated. Admittedly, part of me wasn't sure if I could keep going, part of me wanted to give up, and I felt overwhelmed. Even still though, I knew I was just going through the same cycle that I had with my previous belts; a difficult start, followed by a strong end. I ended strong, and finally became a Black Belt. It was at this point that I had changed entirely, my uncontrolled anger became more patient and tranquil, I've found the courage to face the fears I've previously had, and I sought to face new and different challenges in life. I no longer hide away when dogs are around, or when there's a storm (Even if I feel a bit nervous at times). I've taken up walking everyday, without minding the sky going dark. But more importantly, I've become better with people. FMAC didn't just make me a black belt, they've transformed me into a better person.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
I can't say any of the characters were unimportant to me, but the one that speaks to me the most would have to be Perseverance, with Self-Control following as a close second. Because of my disorder, it was easy to want to give up when learning something different, and growing up I can remember hearing different things being said to me that were synonymous with Perseverance. In the long run, if I hadn't developed this character, I wouldn't be where I am today, and would likely be, or close to what I was before.


Eric Murphy September 19, 2016

How has Ethan’s training made him into the person he is today?
FMAC has been part of our lives since 2007... and in that time Ethan has made life long friends and family. Besides earning a black belt he has learned lessons and values that he uses in school and at home. Ethan has always been full of energy and karate has taught him self control. We have always been amazed how focused he is when learning or teaching forms. Along with the focus, Ethan has learned to persevere. Not just with karate but at home and with school and sports. He commits himself to accomplishing his goals. Now that Ethan is older and a black belt we are happy that he has not lost his passion for karate. He has found a love for teaching the younger students and he sees himself in some. We are very proud of Ethan for all he has accomplished and thankful to FMAC for contributing to his success!

Which Black Belt Character helped Ethan the most growing up?

Ethan has developed perseverance the most..from a young age Ethan had to work on forms, practice to move up on belts and struggled with focus. This character is important for kids to learn at a young age: work hard and commit to a goal. Even when the goal is difficult you need to commit and plug away at it. When this trait is developed it helps not only in karate but in school and home. Ethan has learned how to identify a goal and what steps it will take to attain it. If an obstacle is in his way he keeps going and finds the supports if he needs it. Ethan showed true perseverance last year with his leg...he was determined to get back and stay on track!! Now with teaching he encourages the kids to focus, push through it and challenges them.


Ethan Chander September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
It was at a school demonstration in the fall time of 1997 that Dr. Len gave his famous "drop your backpack and run away" demonstration. I remember distinctly that shiny red kick shield that he used as a back pack. As I stood in the cafeteria of Crocker Elementary School doing kicks with the entire 1st grade, I gazed up at that stage and instantly knew that I wanted whatever that is in my life. My parents later followed the recommendation of the school (in light of my new diagnosis of ADHD and ODD) and signed me up at FMAC. It was Feb of 1998, that I received my White Belt and my journey began.

After my first class I knew I was right at home. After the first 10 weeks of training I knew that Kenpo was what I wanted to do with my life. I would watch in awe as Dr. Len and Mr. Troy moved with so much power, definitive precision, and control. Their mastery of the art showed me in fine detail what I aspired to be someday. It was when I was 12 years old, as a green belt transitioning into the adult class, that I first noticed the beauty and the magnitude of what I was learning and in my eyes this is when my training truly began.
Beyond the physical aspects to the training what I gained above everything was perspective. In that I developed a sense of character that would prove to be my saving grace in many situations; ultimately molding me into the man that I am today. I eventually came to terms with the said disorders and learned to overcome them. Through growing up with FMAC I gained a solid foundation that I have built my life around. I am fortunate to still be a part of something so great and doing what I love.

It was the Principles of Kenpo that molded the way I process information and handle situations. It was the example of the life that Dr. Len (a true master of the Art) lived that taught/still teaches me how to use my limitations/hardships as opportunities to be something greater than myself. I realized that life is as a Kenpo Technique, rather than attempting to use my training to deal with obstacles, I can trust that the training has given me the tools necessary to find success in the midst of struggle. This is what I have discovered as well as that I have much more to learn. Only now I have my children to pass this tradition on to with the sincere desire to give them the foundation that my mentor Dr. Len has given to me.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Of all the character traits that have been woven into my way of life Indomitable Spirit has been the most important. It is the basis of my faith in everything that I believe in being a sacred part of my journey and contribution to society. Without the strength of my faith I would not be where I am today. It is that faith that pushes me to strive for constant and never-ending improvement.


Jeff Konich September 19, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
I have been a student at FMAC for almost 7 years now. I can still remember the first day I went in to try out my first class. I was extremely nervous, but everyone made me feel welcomed and eager to learn more. Family Martial Arts Center really does make you feel like part of a giant family. I set out on mission to get my black belt. Along the way, I took on more than I thought was possible. I began helping with classes on my way to one day becoming a teacher. By doing this, I have gotten to be the person I am today. I am a role model for the children I teach. A person that I never expected to become. I am confident and proud. I am now about to enter my senior year in high school at the top of my class. I would not have been able to stand where I am today without these amazing people in my life. I am glad to have met them all and glad that they have had such a positive impact on my life. Most of all, I am glad that I now can impact other children's life the way they did for me.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
Definitely Indomitable Spirit. In school, there are many bullies that can destroy your self-confidence. I was bullied when I was younger. Having Indomitable Spirit helped me through school so far. I realized that I am special, and realized I have potential. I ignored the mean comments and eventually they stopped. I stood up for myself, never giving up because I knew things would get better. It has helped me realize that anything is possible, and I can accomplish anything.


Jessica Wyman September 15, 2016

How has Maria’s training made her into the person she is today?
Maria has been a part of the FMAC family for about 4 years now. And I use the word "family" because that is what the atmosphere feels like. Since she began, I have seen her grow into a well rounded, responsible young adult, and I know that her time at FMAC has contributed to that. A child's self-esteem is always a source of anxiety for parents/guardians, and that is one area that Maria has grown into that the whole family is proud of. She also takes home the teachings from the studio and applies them at home. I hear her using the words "Perseverance" and "Integrity" when talking to others and it makes me proud that she is referencing the positive things she has learned at FMAC. Finally, the group of friends that Maria and I have both made are wonderful and cherished relationships. It comforts me to know that she has friends that are being taught and using the same set of life lessons that she is.

Which Black Belt Character helped Maria the most growing up?
I think she has developed in ALL the characters, but I would have to say Modesty is the one that stands out the most for me. Maria has many things to be proud of, she has had perfect attendance in school from first grade on. She always has a high honors report card. She won the Janet Craigen award, as well as many other accomplishments over the years. I think all of those things are from incorporating all of the Black Belt Characters into her life. But I have never seen or heard Maria act in a way that is not Modest. If anything, she usually tries to put other people in the spot light and keep her spot light to a minimum. She will be the first one to help anyone and enjoys seeing other people succeed without taking credit for herself.


Maria Valera September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center was one of the most important aspects of my life for many years from when I was in middle school to my college career. I had never been the most athletic kid growing up, but when I started karate I knew that I found my niche and it was the first activity that I stuck with for years. Memories of my early years with FMAC are a bit fuzzy to me, but what I do remember is how important it really become when I was in high school. I had always been shy and uncomfortable speaking in front of others, so I was surprised when I was asked if I wanted to become an assistant to the teaching staff, but am very happy that I went ahead and tried it out. From there I learned not only more skills with martial arts but also life skills that I still use today. It helped give me the confidence to audition in my high school theater department, something that I was then involved with for four years and helped bring me some of my closest friends. It continued to give me the confidence I needed to assist in teaching a class at my undergraduate school, a class on goat management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This in turn helped me get accepted into veterinary school, which I am currently attending today. Every day in school I learn more and more about how being a veterinarian has just as much to do with working with people as it does with working with animals. From my time with FMAC it has given me the confidence that I will need to be a good doctor and to interact with my future clients. Teaching with FMAC become one of my favorite activities in high school, and I still miss it to this day and wish I was still local so I could work with the school more. I learned that I love working with children and how rewarding it is to teach them new things and to pass on what I had learned. I especially loved seeing the younger students grow up, from karate kids to black belts. Teaching with FMAC was an amazing rewarding experience and I have learned valuable life lessons as well as the physical skills to be a black belt.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
Perseverance has been the most influential of the black belt characters for me personally. When I was younger I did not fully understand what it meant, but it has helped me drastically as an adult. If I did not have FMAC to help teach it to me at a young age, I may not be where I am today. Ever since I was little I have always wanted to be a veterinarian, but I never grasped how difficult it would be to not only get into vet school but to stay in school. This past year was my first year in vet school and I not only was beginning my career as a doctor, but I am doing it in another country away from my family and friends. It has been incredibly difficult, and I almost dropped out at one point. But with the perseverance that FMAC taught to me from when I was young I may have given up already. I did not realize how important everything was that I was being taught, but without my time at FMAC I would not be the person I am today. Even though I unfortunately cannot train at FMAC currently because of school, the lessons they have taught me as a much younger person still help me as an adult today.


Meagan Bilotta September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
My wife heard about this studio called Family Martial Art Center and thought that it would be good for "PJ" Patrick because we both thought he was a very shy kid and kept his head down all the time when anyone wanted to talk to him. Low self esteem. He was three years old at the time. We tried Baseball..Soccer, but that didn't help him make new friends or anything else. She signed him up for class,I was not so sure about it. You can say I was a skeptic. I remember that first class all he was doing was running around on the floor with the Teacher calling his name out to settle down. I thought to my self what a waste of money and time. I have to say after a few weeks and then Months I saw the change in him. Not only he learned Karate he was showing confidence and abilities I never seen from him. Sure he had days he didn't want to go but we thought as parents you make a commitment with something you should stick with it. Once he got to class he was glad he came in. Once he got to Orange belt he wanted to get into the Black Belt Club. Then He was asked By Mr. Len and Dr. Len To be a helper. He was so excited. He slowly moved up the ranks of Storm team ,then Red coat. I was seeing my shy son becoming a fine young man. It was the icing on the cake when he got his Black belt. No small thing but I knew he could do it with FMAC helping him. He's sixteen now and just got his drivers license. Karate has been his been his whole life. FMAC and a little help from Mom and Dad is what made my son a great young man. Thank You FMAC!!

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Perseverance for sure! When ever he had that day he really didn't want to go Robin and I didn't force him to go. We guided him as parents and helped him understand the importance of dedication to something that would eventually be awarding to him. After that he did all the work!!


PJ Newton September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
My favorite thing about FMAC is that it is for everyone. With all the different times and types of classes you can really make your experience whatever you want it to be. Whether it is getting involved with things like weapons training, sparring, and teaching, or just attending weekly classes for some great exercise and to learn self-defense. FMAC is very accommodating to everyone to help them achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
I would say Perseverance because when I first started karate I did not have a whole lot of confidence and even though it was hard at first to volunteer for things, as I stuck with karate my confidence grew.


Rachele Spadafore September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
When I was six years old, my mom signed me up for karate at FMAC. I was a very shy kid, and I hid behind my mom the whole time. The first day I stepped out on the mat, I was completely terrified. But every teacher had encouraged me that everything was going to be okay, and that we were going to have fun. Every time FMAC would move I would tell my mom to please let me stay and keep doing it. That's how much I loved doing karate. Years go by and I realize how much stronger I have become. Because of FMAC, I am not scared of anything, and they help me overcome my shyness. Six years with FMAC has really shaped me into who I am today, and I am very grateful for being a part of it.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Perseverance is what I developed the most because there was times where I would want to just drop everything and quit, but I kept going because it helped me become a better person. I think it's very important that kids like me work on developing perseverance because it is what's going to keep you determined and to achieve the goals you have in life.


Stephanie Luzardo September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
I started taking Kenpo after watching my children during their classes. I enjoyed how the classes were taught by the instructors. I had my chance to try it during FMACs annual parent appreciation cycle. I took classes with my kids and on my own during the adult class and instantly fell in love with learning more. The things we learn on the mat are not just how to defend ourselves, but also how to control our minds and overcome challenges through hard work. I use what I've learned everyday in my life at work or when out in public. My whole family has grown so much by taking martial arts classes at FMAC. They are my second family and will always hold a place in my heart. I've also seen how many people have come through the doors and changed to become better people. Becoming a Black Belt here truly changes you, I believe, into a well rounded person inside and out. This program has helped me become a life long martial artist. My family is truly blessed to have this school in our lives. I have found friends for life here.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most?
Out of all of the Black Belt Characters I believe Perseverance was the one that influenced me the most. The world needs more Perseverance. You have to keep working hard to achieve goals. Things you want need to be earned and with perseverance you can achieve anything. With perseverance you can BECOME a Black Belt.


Steven Cormier September 15, 2016

How has his training made Steven into the person he is today?
FMAC has been such a huge part of my son Steven's life in so many ways, they have shown him perseverance and trying his best to succeed at reaching the goal of receiving his black belt. Steven started at the studio when he was around 5 years old, he attended classes two times a week sometimes more than what was required of him. Dr. Len and Mr. Len and all of the staff at FMAC have been a tremendous influence on Steven throughout his life, showing him that with hard work and patience you can achieve that goal you are trying to reach! And that goal was achieved when he turned 13 he received his black belt and now he will soon be turning 18 years old and is a 2016 graduate from Leominster high school!

Which Black Belt Character helped Steven the most growing up?
I would say that the character that has helped Steven develop into who he is as a person today, would be Perseverance! Where not only had to attend karate class twice a week for the amount of time it took him to achieve on getting his black belt. He also showed perseverance during his high school years especially his Junior and Senior year. He became very anxious about going to school and became physically sick because of not liking it, but he got through it and is now a high school graduate! Because of his perseverance and completing a goal of his to graduate. I think it's important for kids to want to reach a goal and stick with it and with hard work and determination you can set your mind to what you're trying to achieve!


Steven Dasalvo September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
FMAC is not just an average karate studio. Not long after joining, I realized the love and commitment that Dr. Len, Miss Brenda, and every other instructor had for every single one of their students! We were not “Customers” by any stretch….we were “Family”. When my son Kyle was 7 years old, my husband Kevin and I decided to enroll him in karate classes because we felt it would be a very positive way to channel Kyle’s exuberant energy while he gained a valuable skill. I decided that it would probably be a good idea for me to learn karate as well and to do it along side of him. And so our journey began. Not only was it a great way to spend time with my son, but I found every class I participated in was a fantastic way to reduce stress! Whenever I “worked out” I had to concentrate on the techniques and forms I was learning and I totally forgot about my extensive “to-do” list or anything else that was on my mind due to working full time and raising a family. In fact, whenever I felt “stressed out” I immediately knew I “needed” a karate class, and sure enough, after attending a class that night, I returned home totally rejuvenated! After about 6 months, my daughter Ashley started karate classes and was on her way to black belt, too. Eventually, my husband Kevin figured out that since everyone in the family was spending so much time at karate lessons (2-3 lessons per week for all of us – although some were as family classes), that if he wanted to see us he’d better join himself! So, he became the next karate student in the family and absolutely LOVED it! He was hooked just like the rest of us! The four of us continued to take karate lessons, and on April 11, 2003, I graduated with my “Black Belt” and was thrilled beyond words. I celebrated with my family that night, but my happiness was short-lived due to a sudden and unexpected tragedy. My husband Kevin died four days later on April 15th. Dr. Len and Miss Brenda honored my family in two ways then. First, they called to say that Kevin would be given his Black Belt posthumously – that took my breath away! They said he “was” a black belt…he had the character and determination to complete it – he just hadn’t had the time to do it. Secondly, Dr. Len agreed to do the eulogy for Kevin and gave a beautiful tribute to the wonderful man I loved. After Kevin’s death, the support my children and I received from the FMAC community amazed me. I will never forget their love and generosity. It gave me the strength I needed to persevere and continue with classes. It gave my daughter the strength she needed to persevere to get her black belt six months later. I earned my red coat at the same time.
I thank God so much that He put this loving group of people in my life – the wonderful people of the FAMILY Martial Arts Center.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most through your training?

Without a doubt, “perseverance” is what I thought most about while I was working toward earning my black belt, especially during the final three days of very demanding testing and then during the graduation ceremony! However, the meaning of perseverance really hit home when my husband, Kevin died and I had to dig down deep to find the strength to persevere and continue with karate even though I was grieving and taking care of my two children and also closing Kevin’s photography business. Also, at that time my daughter, Ashley, was 6 months away from earning her black belt, and it took great courage and determination to persevere to attain her goal. I believe the strength God gave both of us to persevere has become a way of life for us. In fact, I purchased a painting by Thomas Kinkade (The Painter of Light) entitled “Perseverance” and it hangs in my living room. It’s meaning to me is indescribable.

Today whenever I face a difficult challenge, I think back about my days of working toward my black belt. Each time, I dig down deep in my soul to find the strength I need to “persevere” through whatever I am facing! If not for the Family Martial Arts Center and the Brassard family, I’m not sure I would have gained this valuable gift!


Sue Wilson September 15, 2016

How has your training made you into the person you are today?
At school, I was a very shy, but bright student. I often had problems with anxiety. “Tummy-aches” and visits to the nurse to escape class were common because I was a afraid of my new school. My classwork suffered and my grades were no longer showing my potential. This work ethic was constantly up and down, depending on how I felt about an assignment or project, but my test grades never fell below 80’s. I didn’t like school very much. I started going to Family Martial Arts Center the same time I started fifth grade. At first, I was consumed with anxiety. I was very scared of going to a new place and trying something new. However, after several classes of experiencing teachers with gentle patience and enthusiasm, I started smiling more. Going to karate made me very excited to learn new things with depth. My progress with my character development was shaky, but always uphill. What especially helped were the many character development talks at karate. By the time I got to middle school, I had started helping to teach at FMAC on the STORM team. With this new responsibility, I began working harder in school. What started off as procrastinating and dread for upcoming assignments became careful planning to get them done before their due date. By the time I finished middle school, I was a straight-A student getting ready for all honors classes in High School and preparing for my black belt. In addition to my school work getting done, my anxiety levels dropped drastically, giving me confidence to deal with many things I had before found uncomfortable. Becoming a black belt and becoming a teacher taught me patience to deal with other people properly and maturity to consider how others felt about things. Now, I am almost a Junior in High School. I created my own club, tutor my classmates, and have a 3.8 GPA. Nearly 6 years at Family Martial Arts Center has definitely impacted who I have become as a person. It's a disciplined yet kind and patient environment where kids not only learn to improve their martial arts skill, but grow as a person and feel safe doing so while having fun.

Which Black Belt Character helped you the most growing up?
Perseverance has impacted me the most; if I didn't like something or ran into an obstacle, I didn't stick with it even though I wanted to meet the end. It's really important for kids to learn this so they can reach a form of success. No matter what you do, you're gonna hit a rough patch and you can't just stop because something didn't go right.


Taylor Fedele September 15, 2016

How has Vincent’s training made him into the person he is today?
As our son, Vincent A. Champa, ventures into the next level of his academic career, it remains abundantly clear that his years of martial arts study at Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center have played an important role in both his personal and academic successes. While Vinny began his journey in Kenpo Karate at a very young age, and such a new experience can be both frightening and intimidating for a young child, Dr. Len, Mr. Len, and the staff at the Studio extended a warm and comforting welcome. Within a mere few weeks, Vinny felt “part of the family”. Throughout his years at FMAC, from white belt to second-degree black belt, Vinny not only learned the dynamics of Kenpo karate and the mechanisms of self-defense, but life lessons that helped him develop from a child into a healthy, productive adult, including a sense of confidence, empathy, perseverance to strive for one’s goals, and an overall altruistic attitude towards his fellow man. These lessons carried with him not only during his time at the studio, but extended well beyond and into adulthood, and for that, we, as parents, remain eternally grateful.As our son, Vincent A. Champa, ventures into the next level of his academic career, it remains abundantly clear that his years of martial arts study at Len Brassard’s Family Martial Arts Center have played an important role in both his personal and academic successes. While Vinny began his journey in Kenpo Karate at a very young age, and such a new experience can be both frightening and intimidating for a young child, Dr. Len, Mr. Len, and the staff at the Studio extended a warm and comforting welcome. Within a mere few weeks, Vinny felt “part of the family”. Throughout his years at FMAC, from white belt to second-degree black belt, Vinny not only learned the dynamics of Kenpo karate and the mechanisms of self-defense, but life lessons that helped him develop from a child into a healthy, productive adult, including a sense of confidence, empathy, perseverance to strive for one’s goals, and an overall altruistic attitude towards his fellow man. These lessons carried with him not only during his time at the studio, but extended well beyond and into adulthood, and for that, we, as parents, remain eternally grateful.

Which Black Belt Character helped Vincent the most growing up?
Perseverance, particularly in the face of adversity, is a learned behavior. Human nature typically leads one down the “road of least resistance” - which is not always the BEST option. Children learn to persevere through encouragement – be it at home, at school, or in this case, from extracurricular activities. It is tough to see your kid struggle, but you have to respect a young kid that opts NOT to take the path of least resistance, (even when his parents would likely agree to let him do so.) The kid never gives up!


Vincent Champa September 15, 2016