Divana Sandoval Success Story
Divana Sandoval is a child athlete.
A short introduction to yourself?
My name is Divana Sandoval, I’m 10 yrs. old, I’m Mexican/American and live in California. I’m small & fierce, but always up for a BIG challenge! I love God, animal lover, love nature, and sports. I love spending time with my parents/family and being able to help others. I’m shy but I’m approachable.
How did you develop your fondness for your sport and at what age did you start learning karate?
My dad loves martial arts and practices Karate when he was younger. He would tell me stories about when he competed and it sounded exciting! There was an opportunity to check out a local gym and they offered Jiu-jitsu, Boxing & Muay Thai. I tried all classes and fell in love with martial arts just like my daddy. I was a little more than 6 1/2 yrs. old when I started and right away I was moved up to the Jiu-jitsu advanced class. I was going up against boys and girls older & heavier. I believe that’s what made me the competitor I’m today.
What is your style and what rank do you currently hold in?
My style is whatever is brought on the mat by my opponents. I can either play on top or bottom; however, I do love to use pressure. I’m strong and can easily use my strength or get technical. I’m currently a solid yellow belt, which I feel I earned with discipline, dedication and handwork.
What do you like Kata or Kumite more?
I prefer Kumite. I feel that it’s important to be able to practice what you’re learning and sharpen your skills. Practising technique is where it starts, however when you go one on the one you get to practice and expand your knowledge.
Do you have a favourite Sensei?
I don’t have a favourite Sensei because I’ve learned from different teachers. They have all been a blessing in my life and have thought me so much. I’m very appreciative of each one of them.
How did you get into this position and how did your journey in this sport go?
I’m a very dedicated and disciplined athlete. I love showing up to practice every day and putting in the work that’s required plus more. I don’t like shortcuts. I believe this has helped me get into the position I’m in. My journey has had bumps because you can’t win them all. I’m currently a 2019 & 2020 Pan Kids Champion. 2018 & 2019 Sports Jiu-jitsu International Federation Champion in Gi & No Gi and currently 2nd place overall in this league. 2018 & 2019 Jiu-jitsu World League Season Champion. I also have many 1st places, along with some 2nd & 3rd.
Do you take sports as a profession or is it just a hobby?
I can now say jiu-jitsu, wrestling, Muay Thai and MMA, in general, is a way of life and consider it a profession. My life revolves around the gym and I love it. My parents own the gym where I train and facilitates my training.
What challenges have you faced in getting to where you are now? You can also share any injury story.
Being promoted at such a young age to grey & yellow belt was challenging for a while because there wasn’t anybody in my category, which led to usually having to go up in age and weight. I consider it a plus cause it’s made me who I’m.
What motivates you most about your profession as an athlete?
All the hard work, dedication, leadership, and being able to help coach the jiu-jitsu minis class. As well as when I’m at tournaments and other athletes ask to take pictures with me. That motivates me because I feel that they can see my dedication on the mats and it inspires them. I feel that I’m an inspiration to other kids and that brings pride as an athlete.
Do you have anything you want everyone to learn?
I feel that winners adjust and train harder and correct the issues and losers make excuses.
What tournament or match you have won are you most proud of and why?
I’m proud of all my tournaments win or lose they are all a victory.
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