“There will always be bad times, but that is when you have to prove you are better than that!”
A similar event happened to your parents when you were 7: they had a business that was going well, but lost it; even though they went through bad times, they moved on together. Do you think that helped you face bad times such as the one in Mexico?
Of course! My parents did not come from wealthy families, so they worked hard to achieve things. My mum had no money to go by bus, so she would walk to her training classes. The same with my dad. They struggled day after day, and so they taught me and my sister. There will always be bad times, but that is when you have to prove you are better than that! Having the support of my parents gives me peace. Whether I win or lose, they always tell me how proud of me they are. There will always be jealous people, but I pay no attention to them because I only care about the opinion of people that love me and want me to be better.
How important is it that parents support not only the athlete but the person themself!
Yes, it is. There are not better friends that my parents… However, since I was 8 years old, they have never got involved in my training.
And now, in your dojo (academy), you train kids from 3 years old.
Yes, it is impressive to see how much they improve…
Today is a working day, it is 10 am and group of people is getting drunk around the corner. It is highly necessary to give children an alternative to that reality, is it not?
Definitely. I wake up every morning at 5 am to go training and they are already there. It is normal for children to see them, but it is necessary for them to know what is good and bad, to know that practicing sports gives you a better quality of life, especially martial arts! They make you disciplined and help you grow up and see life in a different way.
A champion can be born in any neighbourhood.
That is true… Good karate experts come from small neighbourhoods. They are pretty skilful, we only have to train them.
What is the best thing that San Martín de Porres has given you?
My students ⸺most of them are from San Martín⸺ and their great mums. I feel they love me. That is why I want them to trust me not only as a coach but also as a friend. I have known my coach Roberto Reyna, who is a sport psychologist, since I was 8 years old. He is like a second father to me and my dad knows it. That bond makes you a better athlete and a better person.
You said, “I’ve been a national champion eleven times, and that does not fulfil me”
Since I was little, my coach told me, “I train you not only to be the best in Peru or South America but for something bigger than that”. That is why when I participate in South American or Pan-American championships, I do not think about winning gold medals, but having fun and doing my best.
What is your goal?
Be one of the best in the world. That is what I have in mind… The rest will come by itself.