Cape Coral karate teen forming his path to success
Andrew West/

As Ben Diaz goes through his kata, or forms, it’s the sounds that catch one’s attention, like a flag flapping in the wind.

It’s the sound of the gi, or robe, being stretched as Diaz moves his body rapidly.

His arms and hands making contact with his chest.

His foot sliding on the mat as he goes through his routine.

And you’d swear you could hear him punching air.

Diaz, 18, has worked to refine these moves for the past 15 years. That’s right, the Cape Coral resident started karate at Kurokawa Martial Arts – his mother Carmen’s martial arts school – when he was 3.

By 3 ½ he earned his first belt.

Since then, Diaz has racked up black belts in karate – which includes kumite (sparring) and kata – and kobudo (weapons). He also has accumulated a boat load of medals from high finishes in state, regional and national competitions.

“I want to get better and be on top,” he said. “When I don’t, I focus on it.”

‘Miracle’ baby

It’s been quite a journey for the Diazes.

A 1981 graduate of Florida State, Carmen Diaz taught Spanish at what was formerly known as Suncoast Middle School and North Fort Myers High before teaching adult education.

She then moved to Los Angeles in 1994 where she was involved in the ministry and started a karate school.

In 1999, a friend of hers had adopted a little boy – Ben’s brother. When the adoption agency asked if the friend if she’d be…