Since November, thirteen Lifeskills students at Windermere have had the chance to learn Taekwondo from a black belt master.
The experience was made possible by their teacher Tamara Maxim, a Lifeskills teacher at Windermere Secondary, who says she works hard to design unique class experiences for her students. Last November, she was able to introduce the Taekwondo session thanks to the volunteerism of Darius Andaya.
Andaya, the father of one of Maxim's students, volunteers his time twice a month to teach Taekwondo to the class. Andaya has a fourth degree black belt and has been teaching at a Taekwondo school since the 1990s. His elder son, Manuel, is a second degree black belt and recently took fifth place in 2013 World Junior Taekwondo in Spain.
Andaya believes that Taekwondo is a therapy for both mind and body. During the class, he taught his students new techniques for punching, kicking and blocking. Whenever a student made a beautiful straight punch or a front snap kick, the gym was full of applause from teachers and peers.
"I'm so proud of the students," Maxim said. "People often underestimate the potential of these kids. But I witness with my own eyes how amazing they can be."
Andaya says Taekwondo is proven to be effective in improving limb-brain coordination, especially for Lifeskills students. However, the purpose for arranging this Taekwondo session is not just to teach coordination and self-defence skills, but also to boost the self-esteem of the students.
"Usually in the first 10 minutes, few kids are able to respond correctly to my instructions. But as you can see, only after half an hour's practice, most of them are able to follow the pace and make the right movements. Students are happy for what they have achieved." Andaya said, "This is the greatness of Taekwondo."