Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
As a child I always dreamed I’d be an artist by day and a heroine by night; that dream came alive with Tae Kwon Do. Being part of DeSantos Martial Arts, a woman-owned and led dojang, I learned to recognize and harness the power I held within myself. Through the years, this guided me through different roles in the martial arts, from competitive athlete to full-time instructor and in so doing I followed in the steps of my role models.
Outside the Martial Arts, some of my passions include working as a 3D Animator, flying on aerial silks and exploring our beautiful province on my motorcycle. I want my life to be a vibrant tapestry of moments and experiences!
How has sport provided you with new or different opportunities you would not have expected?
Representing Canada with the Wako World Kickboxing Championship in Italy this October has been an experience I have dreamed about since I was 5 years old. National level competitive training was an experience in and of itself, conditioning my body and eating in specific ways to build any 1% improvement possible was truly transformative. The values, lessons learned and the relationships gained through this experience were incomparable.
My favourite part of the championship was connecting with world-class athletes from across Canada and the world.
What is a challenge you faced as an athlete that made you stronger?
The journey to 3rd Dan Black Belt was a major learning experience in my life, it was a pivotal piece which set me on the course to adulthood.
I always worked very hard when it came to my martial arts training; it was my passion and an activity that I excelled in. Yet when the time came to take the 3rd Dan Black Belt test I was turned down. I was shocked and disappointed to hear that I wasn’t “reaching my full potential”, but I continued my training with the next year’s goal in mind.
After a year of revising my goals and taking the time to mature, I realized it was absolutely the right decision to hold me back. Had I been allowed to take the test the previous year, I would have passed with mediocrity and would not have gotten much out of the journey. Taking the time to grow into a leader and really analyze the purpose of my goal, I can now say I do not have any regrets or missed opportunities.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?
I feel fortunate to have joined DeSantos Martial Arts as a young girl. Veronica DeSantos defies the stereotypes of Martial Arts and breathes life to the mosaic community of her school. Having a diverse representation of ethnicity, age, ability, gender and sexual orientation builds acceptance and allows people to find common ground with others they
may otherwise not have the opportunity to. Working and learning together in this inclusive community builds more open-minded individuals who are comfortable working with all kinds of people.
Veronica did not have many women athletes to look up to, even less women of colour. Thanks to her dreams, dedication and relentlessness, I do. By continuing to broaden the boundaries of representation and further reflecting this distinct world that we live in I believe we will have a much more diverse and inclusive world of sport.
5 words that best describe me are:
COMPASSIONATE | ENTHUSIASTIC | ENERGETIC | CREATIVE | DRIVEN