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