Learn­ing from a master

Pre­ci­sion Taek­wondo Academy wel­comes Ash­ley Cas­taneda for seminar

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

The stu­dents of Pre­ci­sion Taek­wondo Academy in Spa­niard’s Bay had a visit from an ex­pe­ri­enced teacher late last month.

Multi-time na­tional cham­pion Master Ash­ley Cas­taneda brought his unique brand of the mar­tial art to the gym for a three-day seminar. There he worked with stu­dents, spoke with par­ents and made sure ev­ery­one in­volved got the most out of the week­end.

“The stu­dents re­ally wanted to learn,” he said. “I’m there with help­ful in­for­ma­tion.”

The Colom­bian-born Mon­tre­aller has been prac­tic­ing taek­wondo since 1980. In that time, he has cap­tured nu­mer­ous ti­tles in Que­bec and around the globe. These ex­pe­ri­ences have helped mold the ways he teaches the sport.

“It is about learn­ing to do things dif­fer­ently,” said Cas­taneda. “Not all chil­dren can adapt to one way of teach­ing. You have to do things dif­fer­ently.”

While he was in town, the master made sure to meet with par­ents. Dur­ing these meet­ings, he out­lined his plans for the week­end.

“The par­ents are im­por­tant,” he said. “I want them to be com­fort­able with what I am teach­ing. It makes it a lot eas­ier.”

Any time there is a new face in the gym, there can be some hes­i­ta­tion amongst stu­dents as they get used to hav­ing a new teacher, even for a short pe­riod of time. As the week­end pro­gressed, Cas­taneda could see the stu­dents com­ing around and by the last day, they were throw­ing them­selves head­long into the train­ing.

“The kids had a blast,” said Pre­ci­sion head in­struc­tor Scott Bartlett. “They re­ally had a blast get­ting in there with (Master Cas­taneda).”

“I love when I see a child want to fin­ish the pro­gram,” said Cas­taneda. “They re­ally wanted to learn. It was ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic. The chil­dren wanted to go.” Rein­vig­o­rat­ing the gym Since the visit of Master Cas­taneda, Bartlett has no­ticed an uptick in the energy of his stu­dents when they’re be­ing put through their paces at Pre­ci­sion.

They’re mov­ing faster and kick­ing harder as they put the tech­niques taught to them by the master to good use. The stu- dents who may have needed that ex­tra push are now push­ing some of the other kids to be bet­ter.

“I’ve no­ticed a great deal of new energy and a new pas­sion in the gym,” said Bartlett. “His visit re-in­vig­o­rated the kids.”

“They’re very suc­cess­ful,” noted Cas­taneda. “I’m glad I could be a part of it.” Coaches need a push too When stu­dents are start­ing to lag in the gym, it falls on the coach to make sure they’re pick­ing them­selves up and bring­ing the nec­es­sary ef­fort to be suc­cess­ful.

But, there are times when the coach needs a lit­tle kick in the hind parts in or­der to keep them fo­cused on teach­ing.

The burnout usu­ally comes when you’re strug­gling to teach a cer­tain tech­nique. That’s where a per­son like Cas­taneda comes in.

He’s able to lend his ex­per­tise and per­haps can help solve the coaches’ puz­zle.

“I can only teach it so many ways,” said Bartlett. “He can show a dif­fer­ent way of do­ing it and you can see that the kids get some­thing. That helps me as a coach.”

Any time you can have a high level in­struc­tor like Cas­taneda en­ter your gym, it is a good thing. He brings new tech­niques, new ways of teach­ing and new at­ti­tude that your gym may have been lack­ing be­fore.

“When I teach, it is with pas­sion,” he said. “I sweat with the stu­dents and I train with them. Ac­tu­ally train­ing and sweat­ing, that is the key.”

Bartlett rec­og­nizes the pos­i­tive in­flu­ence Cas­taneda’s pres­ence will have on his club and he hopes to bring the master back when he has a chance.

“It re­ally helps us grow as a club,” said Bartlett.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Master Ash­ley Cas­taneda (right) works with a young stu­dent dur­ing a seminar at the Pre­ci­sion Taek­wondo Academy in Spa­niard’s Bay last month.

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