Shana Pasapa, a single mother of two, has become a top-ranked martial arts fighter in Saskatchewan with determination and hard work.
Pasapa has won multiple medals competing in Jiu-Jitsu and frequently wins at major tournaments of the sport.
Jiu-Jitsu began as a recreational interest for Pasapa a few years ago. Despite a busy schedule working at a warehouse during the day and taking care of two young boys, Pasapa has found enough time to train and excel in the sport.
"Everybody has hard times but things will definitely get better if you choose to make them better," Pasapa said. "We choose our future. If we want a better life, then it can happen. We just gotta make it happen."
Pasapa said she hopes other young women will note her achievements and see that they can be successful too, no matter what their situation is. She also hopes to show young men, including her sons, the value in finding something to be passionate and positive about.
"I want to show them that the choices that I make are going to be the outcome of my future," she said.
Pasapa has already earned praise from her trainer, AJ Scales from Complete Martial Arts and Fitness, who said she is capable of competing against men in the sport.
"They may be sweating on you and putting all their weight on you and it's hard to overcome that," Scales said of the challenge. "[But] with Shana's perseverance and wanting and willing to learn the martial art, she's overcome that and learned to love it."
Pasapa's achievements have also caught the attention of Neechie Gear and she is a sponsored role-model athlete for the clothing line.
Her long-term goal is to start her own training classes for women.
"It's just taking control," Pasapa said of her accomplishments. "Grabbing your life. Just doing that."