Biz Beat: Karate school aims to build up character in its students |

Biz Beat: Karate school aims to build up character in its students

Sara Thompson

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune Echos of the Spirit teaches students the Kenpo style of karate and works on building discipline, character and self-esteem as well.

A new school on the South Shore offers lessons in martial arts – and in life as well.

Echos of the Spirit, a Kenpo Karate school, opened in May with the intention of benefiting the community.

“It all started with love and a lot of hope,” said Ralph Castellanos, senior master and founder of the school.

The school instructs students on the physical and mental aspects of Kenpo Karate.

“It’s not about learning how to fight,” Castellanos said. “It’s learning not to fight.”

Besides teaching the physical movements, the training also helps students with their self-esteem, character and discipline. Castellanos said these lessons can help students with their future.

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Castellanos said learning and practicing martial arts is one of the best things he has done in his life.

“The bottom line is, we’re helping people be better,” Castellanos said.

Part of that journey is helping people become aware of their surroundings. “Ninety-nine percent of people don’t know they have toes on their feet,” Castellanos said.

Castellanos starts a class by having students focus on their breathing so they can center themselves and block out noise from their lives.

The ultimate goal is to prepare students for what lies ahead of them. They will be tested all of their lives, and those tests only get harder, Castellanos said.

Echos of the Spirit is on the third floor of Kingsbury Station, next to the Exxon Mobile gas station on Kingsbury Grade. It’s open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (775) 588-3322.

If you’re looking for a July 4 barbecue this weekend but don’t want to host one at your place, head on over to Steamers Bar & Grill.

Steamers will be serving barbecue dishes in its backyard all weekend. An expansion project allowing customers to use the yard wrapped up June 1, owner Kelly Sheehan said.

Now, the restaurant’s backyard can seat 100 people comfortably, and last week it was packed, Sheehan said.

With the addition of the barbecue, the menu will have tri-tip sandwiches, barbecue pork, hamburgers, hot dogs and specials every day.

Sheehan said the cooks were trying all sorts of rib recipes.

“I’ve eaten more ribs in the last month than my whole life,” Sheehan said.

But don’t worry: Saturday tacos still will be available during the weekend barbecue celebration.

The restaurant is at 2236 Lake Tahoe Blvd., across from Kings Trading Post. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. all week, while the bar stays open until 2 a.m. For more information, call (530) 541-8818.

– Have information on your business that you’d like to share? Contact reporter Sara Thompson at (530) 542-8009 or