Meet Mario. Mario trained with Grandmaster Orange at Sidekicks Martial Arts Academy, when he was a kid, starting at five years old. Now he is grown up, and his kids are training at Sidekicks. Mario said, “I always knew that if I had kids, I would want them to attend Sidekicks too. And now they do.”
Mario’s dad made him go to the classes, even when it got hard and he wanted to quit. Sometimes Mario would cry because it was so hard and Master Orange was tough on the students. After classes Mario frequently told his dad he wanted to quit.
But his dad would say, “Stop your whining and and get back in there.”
Mario’s dad made his kids commit to finishing things they started, including taekwondo.
They became motivated to get their black belts. Because their dad said that much is expected of them.
Mario comments that kids are lot softer these days, and they get a lot more leeway. “Back then,” Mario says, “Mr. Orange was strict. He was hard on us, and he was mean.”
“Being late meant that you had to run around the block when everyone was watching. Or do ten pushups on the spot. Whatever it took to show us the importance of being on time.”
Now his sons are green belts at Sidekicks.
When Mario trained it was at the Sidekicks location in Chula Vista which was open back in 1988. At the time, Master Orange was only a 4th Degree Black Belt. There was also a camouflage belt before green belt. And an orange belt. (We are looking for a pic from the archives of Mario receiving a belt promotion.)
In those days, Mario recalls, “We used to compete and go to tournaments in Potomac Park. It was way different then. We had no soft floor mats in the studio, just carpet.”
Now Mario owns a professional painting company and he works with his uncle. Mario’s painting company is Mario Aguirre Paints and they do excellent work!