SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Stockton native Joane Orbon is a national karate athlete, and has won at every level, except for the Olympic level — which she just so happens to be training for.
Orbon has been fighting all of her life, but it recently took on a new purpose.
“Karate was never thought to go into the Olympics. Before it was ‘I just want to be a world champion.’ Now, it’s ‘I want to be an Olympic,'” Orbon said.
That’s just about all Orban has left to achieve. She’s a 12-time USA National Champion, a continental champion, and was ranked as high as 7th nationally before leaving Team USA to become a part of Team Philippines.
She fights out of and owns her own gym in San Jose.
“My dad saw this as a long-term career for me. He knew that having a business, having something that I’m good at is passion,” Orbon said.
Orbon said she thinks it’s important that this passion-turned-career is something girls see and realize that they can do it too.
“Having a successful athletic career as is and now changing Bay Area and how they view karate, far beyond ‘Karate Kid,’ you can take this however far you want to,” Orbon said.
Orbon left for Olympic training camp in Istanbul on March 17, the final stop before the Olympics — where she will be competing for more than just herself.
“I am representing a lot of people. I am representing underrepresented people and communities all over. I am just a little girl from Stockton who just happened to make it out,” Orban said.