The number of adult leadership students available to tie belts is increasing. And one of those students is getting ready to take the next step, Level 1 instructor certification: blue-belt Enrico Corsaro.
Mr. Corsaro was introduced to Oakmont Martial Arts through his step-daughter, Grace Coleman. As he watched Grace in class, he realized this was something he wanted to pursue for himself. “Once Grace started, I was watching her and seeing how much fun she was having, I saw the way the instructors worked with her and I wanted to learn more,” he said. “So I asked about getting involved. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid but the schools were never as organized. Once I started, it felt like home.”
His own training underway, it wasn’t long until Mr. Corsaro went looking for more. He joined the leadership program and obtained his red collar, becoming a Trainee Instructor, which allowed him to be more involved with classes. “I always loved teaching and working and helping with others. It seemed like a lot of fun to work with the kids here,” he said. “Also, I always look for ways to further myself and I love taekwondo so this seemed like a good way to further myself. Once I started, I developed a passion for it.”
Becoming an instructor also offered another opportunity. “I wanted to compete for the state championship,” he said. His most recent tournament appearance was in February at the Sewickley White Tiger tournament. He took first in forms and weapons, as well as placing for sparring and combat weapons.
Outside the tournament ring, Mr. Corsaro enjoys his work as an instructor. Seeing the youth students excel is one of the best aspects. “(The best part is) seeing all the smiles on the kids’ faces and how much fun they’re having. And teaching them something and having them follow through,” he said.
That doesn’t mean instructing doesn’t have challenges. But Mr. Corsaro meets these challenges with a positive attitude. The hardest part is changing his approach to account for student differences. “Being a new instructor, I don’t have the same experience as my colleagues,” he said. “So I guess (the challenge is) adapting the instruction to every kid because every kid is different.”
Being a state champion is hardly Mr. Corsaro’s only goal. “Overall, my goal is to be a Black Belt,” he said. “For instructing, I want to strive every day to reflect the goals of the school. I want to earn my Level 3 certification and the first step in that is earning Level 1.”
To help offset the cost of his Level 1 certification camp, there will be a team combat sparring event at the in-school Class C tournament later this month. Teams of three students, camo belt and above (youth and adult) can register. The event was Mr. Corsaro’s idea as a fun way to raise the money for certification. “I was originally going to do it as regular team sparring, but talking with Ms. Graff and Mr. Weston it seemed like it would be more fair for the kids to do combat,” he said. “And I enjoy combat sparring a lot, so I thought it would be great for the students to get more involved with it.”
One thing is sure, Mr. Corsaro has found a taekwondo “home” at Oakmont Martial Arts. Whether in class, instructing, or in competition, his enthusiasm and dedication are readily apparent. And he is thoroughly enjoying the entire experience.
“I’ve been here for over a year now, and it’s felt great,” he said. “It feels like home. Everybody is so encouraging. It’s one happy family and it’s nice to be a part of an organization that has a good plan for their business. It’s good to see how much Ms. Graff and Mr. Weston enjoy it and it makes me want to be a part of it. I want to take the encouragement I’ve gotten over the year and give it back to students by getting my Level 1 certification.”
Good luck, sir!
A software technical writer by day, Mary Sutton is the mother of two teens and has been making her living with words for over ten years. She is the author of the Hero’s Sword middle-grade fantasy series, writing as M.E. Sutton, and The Laurel Highlands Mysteries police-procedural series, writing as Liz Milliron. Visit her online at www.marysuttonauthor.com.