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