Deane’s Black Belt Academy will not be changing its name, even though Bob Deane is passing his gi and belt on to the next generation.
“People always ask me that,” Joel Kolenchuk, the next master of the academy, said with a laugh.
“Right now I don’t see a reason to.”
It’s a question he says he gets as soon as he tells anyone he’s taking over for Deane. But Kolenchuk has been with the school for 20 years and is very conscious of all the work that has made the place as it is.
“I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for Master Deane,” Kolenchuk said.
“So to be trusted with something this big, something he’s poured his life into, is monumental for me.”
Deane didn’t make the choice lightly either. The school is like his child, he said, and he wanted to make sure that he could trust the person caring for it.
“I had other martial artists wanting to move and take over the school and I couldn’t – Joel was the only choice,” Deane said.
Now that Kolenchuk has taken over, he has felt the extra weight that comes with running the school, with the extra paperwork and the running around it entails.
Each hour on the floor requires two hours in paperwork and miscellaneous, work, Deane said. All the work around the teaching will be the real learning curve for Kolenchuk. But both are confident that he will be able to keep the school running smoothly.
With the extra paperwork and the hours all the new work requires comes some new perks for the new master.
“The most interesting thing is with the little, little kids. They’re new and haven’t been taught by anyone else,” Kolenchuk said.
“They’re 100 per cent my students.”
The new students will see much the same school as the old students did, as Kolenchuk has no plans to make any major changes in the near future. He does, however, intend on keeping the club on the cutting edge of the martial arts world.
“There’s a lot of new and exciting opportunities in the martial arts community right now, and I’d like to keep the club on the cutting edge,” he said.
With that in mind, Kolenchuk is heading down to Kamloops to study up on a new martial art, Teuk Gong Moo Sool, from Jeff Viani, a long time friend to Deane.
The name, and the Tae Kwon Do school it’s attached to has a long history in town, with Bob Deane starting it 30 years ago and nursing it through its infancy to the thriving school it is today.
Though years in the making, the change comes after a lot of soul searching from both of them.
“We’d talked about him becoming a partner in the school last year,” Bob Deane aid.
“We were going to do that, but then he left to pursue other things.”
The discussion came after Kolenchuk had helped out teaching, starting as a volunteer right up until he became a certified instructor, for almost 10 years.
Kolenchuk said he wanted to keep his options open as a variety of options presented themselves to him.
But a new job running the sales department at Ford had him rethinking how he spent his time.
“I could be a really good Tae Kwon Do instructor or a really good car guy or I could be kind of average at both,” Deane said.
“People who know me know I don’t like to be average at anything.”
With the return of Kolenchuk to the fold, Deane made the big decision.
“We decided it was time for me to let go.”
Deane won’t be quitting cold turkey, though; he’ll still teach classes when he has the time, but on a more recreational basis.
Letting the academy go will also, somewhat ironically, allow him more time to practice the sport.
His new lifestyle has given him a freedom that he hasn’t had in 30 years, but it comes with its sacrifices.
“I’m going to miss the kids more than anything. I love being around the kids. I think that’s what’s kept me feeling so young,” he said.
But Deane will be back there, training and enjoying his time.