Local karate studio seeks to make a family

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The students of North Attleboro Tang Soo Do. Courtesy photo

For the North Star Reporter

Walking into the North Attleboro Tang Soo Do, located at 8 North Washington St., the first thing a person will notice is a large room with photographs lining the walls and well-used equipment

However, on closer look, one can see the memories being made in the moment as the studio is not only a place for people to practice and learn karate– it’s also a family.

To the members of North Attleboro Tang Soo Do, they have found more than just a space to practice martial arts, they’ve found a second home where they are bonded by more than just their love for karate.

The school is a non-profit studio where everyone who works there does it for their love of karate and the bonds made between students and teachers.

North Attleboro Tang Soo Do initially started in 1996 as part of the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, and has had many homes over the years, until in 2012 where they found their permanent place at 8 North Washington St.

The studio is a collaborative effort run by Jeff Mazzucco, Leo Beaupre and Monja Lacasse. Mazzucco and Beaupre are the lead karate instructors while Lacasse manages the technical aspect of the business.

For Mazzucco, being a karate instructor is his form of community service. When asked why he became an instructor he stated, “I like helping people with anything, and it’s my give back.”

Beaupre didn’t initially want to be a karate instructor, and only did it because the previous owner of the school passed away. However, once he became one he was happy he did it.

“So from there watching students that I taught grow from being white belts to black belts made me really glad I became a karate instructor and now I wouldn’t want to be anything else in the world,” he said.

Lacasse initially found North Attleboro Tang Soo Do through Parks and Rec. At the studio she does a little bit of everything.

“I straighten up and clean the studio, take care of the bills, and a little bit of everything,” she said. “Like if it’s somebody’s black belt promotion I’ll make sure we do a little party for them. I do a lot of little things just to keep the studio going.”

A close bond

What makes North Attleboro Tang Soo Do a special place to all of its members is the karate family they’ve been able to form.

“For me and the instructors here, it’s family,”, Mazzucco said. “It’s not about the money, it’s not about just doing the job, it’s family. We watch kids grow from 4, 5, to going to college, to adults and beyond.”

“North Attleboro Tang Soo Do is like a family,” Beaupre said. “Once somebody starts here, they become part of the family. We treat individuals as our own. Nobody picks on anybody and we’re always here to help each other.”

For Lacasse, she got a unique perspective watching the students grow from a non-karate perspective.

“It helps a lot of students work through not just the karate, but helps their self-esteem and work through personal issues, and that instructors are always there to talk to the students about anything, it could be karate related and non-karate related and they’ll be there,” she stated about the studio. “There lies the family atmosphere because the students feel comfortable with the instructors to be able to talk to them. There were a couple of students that by the time they got done with karate they were different people, there was a lot of improvement, it was really nice to see.”

For students who have been there for years, they also feel what makes the studio stand out is the family atmosphere. Adam Lacasse has been with the studio for 15 years and appreciates the closeness of the members

“Everyone is welcomed and everyone is treated the same way and it’s just easy to get close with one another,” Adam said.

Amy Broadbeck also felt the closeness and family atmosphere as she left briefly to go to college, but later came back.

“Definitely the people here, I would say we’re really like a family here”, she expressed about the studio. “I left when I was in my junior year of high school, I left so I could focus on college and when I graduated college, I came back here it was like I never left, everyone was just so welcoming and everyone was like welcome back to karate.”

Brennan Sankey also left the studio for a period of time, but found that the karate family welcomed him back with open arms.

“North Attleboro Tang Soo Do is family,” Sankey said. “They accepted me with open arms after 10 years of being away and helped me reach black belt and now I wish to do the same alongside them for everyone else aiming to reach that level.”