Taekwondo instructor fighting cancer is honored by his students

October 23, 2015

Montano's students gathered outside of his house to demonstrate their support for him in his fight against cancer.

Taekwondo master instructor Barney Montano of Colorado is fighting something that cannot possibly be defeated by any amount of moves he’s learned through his extensive training in martial arts. Montano is battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer that’s left him confined to his home under hospice care. But that doesn’t mean he’s alone in all of this.

Martial arts community
The taekwondo community members in and around the Denver area recognize how much of a leader Montano has been for all of his students, according to the local CBS Denver station. As a sign of respect, martial arts athletes of all ages and experience levels performed the 24 patterns that come standard with taekwondo. Bob Martin, one of Montano’s students, explained the reason behind the display.

“Just as a demonstration for him to lift his spirits and make him feel a little better,” Martin told the source.

This serves as yet another example of the potential for martial arts to bring members of the communities together, especially in the face of adversity. Some of the students in attendance have reached levels of taekwondo well past black belt, but began their taekwondo careers as white belts under the instruction of Montano.

Taekwondo master
Montano is not only a respected part of his community, but he is also an esteemed member of the taekwondo population. In fact, he earned his seventh-degree black belt in 2013 at the age of 69, according to Denver NBC affiliate KUSA. He has had the opportunity to travel across the world as a student and competitor in the martial art of taekwondo. But he’s been teaching in Colorado for more than four decades.

He began to teach taekwondo after his daughter Rebecca expressed a desire to learn all about it. She was around 10 years old and had just seen the film “The Karate Kid” for the first time. It was her idea to organize the tribute for her father and hero.

“In taekwondo, one of our tenets is indomitable spirit,” Rebecca told the source. “And my dad hasn’t given up, and he’s my hero, and I had no idea he was everybody else’s too.”

Montano was forced to stop practicing taekwondo about two months after the cancer diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean it won’t continue to be a part of his life. His students will be there for their instructor every step of the way.