Mason DiLeta has been training at Prince Rupert Taekwondo and Martial Arts Centre since he was five-years-old. Now

Mason DiLeta has been training at Prince Rupert Taekwondo and Martial Arts Centre since he was five-years-old. Now

VIDEO and Story: Rupert’s martial artist

Mason DiLeta has been practicing taekwondo in Prince Rupert since he was five years old.



No one messes with Mason DiLeta anymore.

The Prince Rupert taekwondo star used to be mocked for his choice of sport, but that doesn’t happen these days.

“Not ever since I got my black belt,” he said with a smile.

DiLeta, who has been taking taekwondo at Prince Rupert Taekwondo and Martial Arts Centre since he was five-years-old, got his black belt when he was 10. That’s when things shifted into high gear for him.

“If you’re in taekwondo and you get your black belt, it’s the greatest feeling. Then you know you can actually express yourself in other classes,” he said at the Second Avenue studio one Monday evening.

Before then, people would tell DiLeta that taekwondo was lame and not a real sport. After all, it isn’t basketball or hockey, two of Rupert’s favourite sports.

But their words didn’t faze the now-14-year-old, who is in Grade 9 at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS).

For him, it’s a way of clearing his mind.

“It’s something I can just relax myself from, empty my mind and just focus on. That’s why I’m really passionate about taekwondo,” DiLeta said.

But his sport is different than traditional ones in that it requires total devotion. He said taekwondo demands a devotion of both mind and muscle.

Right now, DiLeta is a step below junior master — which he isn’t eligible to test for until Grade 12. But he’s well on his way to meet some of his future goals, which include keeping on with the sport for years to come.

“I want to open up my own school because there’s lots of kids that do not get to go to taekwondo and I want to make that a reality for them,” he said. “I don’t want kids to just sit around. Honestly, in these type of days, kids get really lazy.”

DiLeta wants his school to motivate kids to get out more and stay active. Where he opens up his school depends on where life takes him. It could be Prince Rupert, it could be Vancouver, it could be Tokyo — he doesn’t know yet, but he has his eye on his future.

Besides opening up his own school, DiLeta isn’t specific on any taekwondo goals he hopes to achieve. Of course, he needs to become a master still, but he is more focused on personal improvement.

“I want to achieve my personal best, what I actually want to strive for. I want to achieve the highest I can be, I want to be the best me I can,” he said.

Taekwondo has seeped into every aspect of DiLeta’s world. The martial art has taught him so much about life, like that it’s okay to be outgoing, among other things.

“You have to really respect everyone else because you can’t be just individually disciplined. You have to listen to other people and you actually have to obey your parents. As much as people don’t like to hear that, you actually have to do that,” he said.

Something DiLeta did struggle with about taekwondo in his early years of practicing was its repetitiveness. Before achieving his black belt, a lot of the kicks and moves were so similar. It was a big obstacle for him, because he didn’t want to keep doing the same thing.

“Master Paul (Bozman) variated the stuff that we did, so we did more fun stuff like chicken fights. That really kept me going,” DiLeta said.

Chicken fights are when two athletes go on one leg and have to try and push each other down.

Taekwondo isn’t the only sport DiLeta practices. He is also on the CHSS soccer team that went to provincials this season. The two sports go hand-in-hand.

“Taekwondo has definitely helped me with soccer because a lot of kids, when they play soccer, are naturally right-footed. In taekwondo, we practice with both feet so I was naturally left-footed. That helped me a lot,” DiLeta said.

The martial art has also helped him with his reaction time. Going to Burnaby with the soccer team for provincials was a good experience for him.

“It was really fun. It was intense, but not too intense. We were against older kids and we were a junior team so it was hard because I’m one of the smallest people there but it was really fun and it was a good experience,” he said.

But DiLeta’s focus is taekwondo. He encourages younger kids to join.

“We have lots of examples here for people to look up to. I know a couple kids at the younger classes look up to me and I kind of strive for them,” he said.

The Rupert teen knows he wouldn’t be where he is without the support of his parents and grandparents. That’s why he feels so strongly about respecting your parents.

“I remember times when I just felt like I didn’t want to go to taekwondo anymore. I didn’t want to be there but my grandma and my grandpa just pushed me to keep going and going because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”

 

Just Posted

BC Ferries has announced the welcoming back onboard of recreational travellers on June 15 after the provincial travel restrictions were lifted. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)
BC Ferries welcomes back recreational passengers

The ferries corp will relax mask-wearing in outdoor spaces

Nic Pirillo received $1,000 Youth WORK Apprenticeship Award presented to him by Erik Brooke and Catlin Chandler of Broadwater Industries, in front of the boat Pirillo built in his free time using newly acquired skills. (Photo: supplied)
Learning and earning with apprenticeship

Nic Pirillo graduated in 2020 and was awarded the Youth WORK Trades award

According to the BC Centre of Disease Control epidemiology mapping from May 30 to June 5, there was an increase of one case in the Prince Rupert area after a three-week stability of no new cases. (Image: supplied BC CDC)
Prince Rupert second dose vaccination clinic to run from June 14 to July 9

Volunteers needed for P.R. immunization clinic, recipients must register and cases back up to one

Capt. Portugal was getting into the festive spirit out working for the City of Prince Rupert and celebrating Seafest 2021, on June 12. During regular business hours Capt. Portugal is known as David Costa. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Searching out fun in the sun for Seafest 44

Families and friends can participate in weekend COVID-19 friendly activities

Seafest is underway with a sunfest theme from June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert. Alex Hoogendorn vice president of Prince Rupert Special Events is creating sunny times making feature for the decorating contest with his son Caleb Hoogendorn on June 4. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Seafest 44 plans a sunfest June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert

All events in festival are COVID-19 safe, social distancing and health protocols approved by N.H.A.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read