Editor’s note: This is part one of a three-part series on Federal Way resident’s Lakota Bisaillon’s martial arts journey to China.
There is no challenge too big or too small for Lakota Bisaillon.
The 2016 Todd Beamer High School graduate has faced a number of them: from his father walking out on the family when he was born, to his pediatrician diagnosing him with Asperger’s syndrome and dyslexia. The toughest one of all, however, was when his cousin, who also happened to be Bisaillon’s hero, suffered an accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Despite what seemed to be one insurmountable challenge after another, the one constant always there for Bisaillon was martial arts. He picked it up in 2010 and completely surrendered to the art. He excelled so much he was invited to study Kung Fu at the Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy in China.
Bisaillon left all of the pain, all of the obstacles behind and boarded his plane for China on Jan. 1. He will return home to Federal Way on Sept. 23. The challenges Bisaillon has faced at home have left their share of scars, but the studying and experience he has found in China has helped him heal, he said.
“Since I’ve been here, I’ve really been reborn and found inner piece,” Bisaillon said. “Thanks to all the training and martial arts, being here helped me find what I have been destined for.”
Nothing has come easy from Bisaillon. Most of the surrounding circumstances, such as his early housing arrangements and his conditions, have been out of his control.
It began when when Bisaillon’s father disappeared shortly after he was born. It left him and his mother, Mary Delacruz, struggling to make ends meet. The sudden loss of Bisaillon’s father forced the two to hop from one apartment or trailer park to the next.
As a result, Delacruz had to give up her lucrative career as an animal trainer for major motion pictures in order to focus on raising her son in the best housing environment possible.
“Lakota has been the entire focus of my life since he was born,” Delacruz said. “I became a single mom when he was just 1 years old. I was so crazy about my son, so I tried to focus my working life around him. At that time, having a brand new baby did not mesh at all with my career, so I had to give it up.”
Bisaillon grew up suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, which affected his ability to be social and communicate. He also struggled with school work itself because of dyslexia.
The conditions inspired Delacruz to become a teacher, and they inspired Bisaillon to overcome his challenges by being as social as possible.
He did it through talking to as many other children as he could, no matter how much of a struggle it was. Bisaillon also attended summer camps like Power of Hope, which gave him more of an opportunity to socialize.
Regardless of the early obstacles for both Bisaillon and Delacruz, the one constant they had was each other, and given the gravity of Bisaillon’s struggle of dealing with his cousin’s accident, the two needed each other more than ever.
“When my mom and I were broke when we lived in Kent, we were happy cause we had each other,” Bisaillon said. “We hung around great people when we lived in apartments and trailer parks in Kent. We spiritually and mentally felt rich.”
Part 2 will be featured in the Sept. 15 edition of the Federal Way Mirror sports section. Bisaillon recounts his experience with his cousin’s diving accident, which left him paralyzed.