Angel Diaz wants to share his passion for karate with students
Philip Zoppi – General Assignment Reporter
Angel Diaz, a freshman on the Southern karate team, has just started fighting karate in the men’s division. He’s already ranked 30th in New England.
Diaz expects to improve upon this ranking as just last week he won a tournament called the Krane Triple Crown National. During his route to first place he beat the 5th ranked fighter in New England by two points.
Karate runs deep in Diaz’s family, as his brother started karate when he was just two years old. Diaz knew from a young age that karate was something he was really passionate about.
“It’s kind of a family thing. When I first started I knew I was going to do it no matter what,” said Diaz.
Diaz finally realized that he may have a very special talent for karate in his junior year of high school. He participated in a tournament that his brother took him to and finished third in the men’s division. This experience showed Diaz what he was really capable of.
“It just showed me that I could really do this,” said Diaz. “I knew this was something I could really excel at now and then senior year everything just came together.”
Diaz wasn’t able to accomplish all of this success alone. His coach and mentor, Todd Deutsch, played a big role in Diaz’s development as a fighter. Deutsch pointed to Diaz’s passion, hard work, and leadership as his best qualities.
“He’s the type of guy that gets everyone revved up at the beginning of class and encourages them to keep going,” said Deutsch. “He’s just always loud and motivated in class which is really good for us.”
Diaz has a lot of respect for Deutsch, not only from being coached by him, but from his background as well. Deutsch actually coached Diaz’s brother while he was at Southern so Diaz has known of Deutsch for a long time.
Diaz attributed a lot of his success at Karate to Deutsch because he’s helped him out in many different areas.
“He has helped me out tremendously,” said Diaz. “My ring smarts have gotten lot better and he’s just gotten me to think different. He completely changed the way I fight.”
Southern actually recruited Diaz when he was just 14 and a freshman in high school. Deutsch is big on recruitment because for Southern it’s hard to find enough talented fighters to make a solid karate team.
Right now the karate team only consists of roughly 10 people. Diaz and Deutsch are always looking for more people to join. Diaz said that this year is a bit of a rebuilding year for the team but they’re hopeful they can improve drastically next year.
Diaz encourages people to join the club because he can help them become better fighters. Diaz hopes that after his fighting career is over he can possibly be an instructor just like his coach, Deutsch.
In fact, Diaz already helps as an instructor at his old high school in Stratford. With school work taking up a good chunk of his time Diaz is not able to be there as much as he would like but he loves doing it.
“My goal is to just share my passion for karate with the kids there,” said Diaz. “I’m in and out with being there because of school but it’s something I really like doing.”
Photo Credit: bluesbby