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