The only career diplomat to hold a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. When I was in college, a good friend told me I was a Major in Wrestling and a Minor in Fencing.

Our degree didn’t have any majors or minors, but she couldn’t have been more right.

A Lifelong Martial Artist: MMA, Judo, Wrestling & Other Grappling Sports

Mixed Martial Arts – I always found there was something honorable about a fair man to man fight.

Me in a professional MMA fight
Me in a professional MMA fight

I came into the sport of MMA as a grappler. I started learning Judo when I was fourteen years old. I picked up wrestling when I was in my junior year in college in 2002 or 2003.

Like every MMA athlete it was my dream to one day become a UFC champion.

I think I had my first MMA fight in 2003. I even used to be on a reality TV show The Real Pinoy Fighter where I was up for the championship but I was disqualified due to health reasons. The last fight I had was right before joining the Foreign Service in 2008. In fact, I even had my oath taking as a foreign service officer in crutches.

I used to fight under the Philippine MMA Team SPRAWL, which is an acronym for Select Pro-Fights from the Amateur Wrestling League. The ranks of Team SPRAWL’s fighters used to be mostly wrestlers, some of whom trained with the Philippine National Wrestling Team.

I still try train in MMA once a week.

MMA is sport that I love. I contribute a lot and help run a website for people who have full-time jobs but still train in MMA like me.

I’ll admit I don’t watch MMA so much now-a-days, so forgive me if I miss the latest UFC, but training in MMA is part of my life. For me, it’s a way of life.

Me declared the winner of an MMA fight
I being declared the winner of an MMA fight

By the way, the Real Pinoy Fighter TV show way back in 2006 has a cool music theme video. Check it out.

I love grappling sports. I’ve been playing grappling sports since I was fourteen when I first stepped into the Ateneo High School Judo Club. I’ve played wrestling, both Greco and Freestyle, Judo, Submission Wrestling, and BJJ both gi and no gi and MMA if you can consider it a grappling sport. My teammates and I used to grapple for hours on end.

Here are a couple of videos of me grappling posted by a teammate with some French guy in Chongqing, China. It was in a gym in Chongqing University that I will never forget because at night they would close off most of the gym so there would be no bathroom. Holy F**K.

Update (April 20, 2020): I just realized the YouTube channel where I had videos of me grappling this French guys in Chongqing University in China was taken down. I originally posted two videos of me grappling. I’ve been grappling for years I don’t right now have any videos of me grappling anymore. Darn. Kids, remember to save videos of yourself playing sports. You won’t be young forever. Unless you want to follow the advice of Gautama Siddhartha Buddha and turn away from ego and vanity and forget you were once a bad*ss grappler.

Update (Sept. 1, 2020): Found some 2013-2015 videos of me grappling on my hard drive. Stitched them together to make a short video which you can see above.

Fencing – A Game of Physical Chess

I entered the University of the Philippines as a varsity Fencing player in 2001 and I continued to fence for my university until 2006. This sport, elegantly called by some as “Physical Chess” rightfully deserves this moniker. Someone who is serious in fencing will quickly find out that fencing is a game of quick wit, logic and planning more than it is of speed or strength.

The modern sport of Fencing that we know today, or Olympic Fencing, is made up of three distinct events or ‘weapons’: Foil, Sabre, and Épée. I was able to play all three sports. Towards the end of my years as a fencer for my university I concentrated Épée.

In the sport of Fencing you can play as an individual event (where you race to 15 points) or team event where four players (three main players and one substitute) take turns playing against each other until you get 45 points.

The best result I got was a silver medal in the Individual Épée event in collegiate fencing (I lost to a national team player).

While there is no Fencing club in the city I live in now (Chongqing, China), I don’t want to stop fencing. Fencing is a sport that you can continue to play even when you grow old. I’m sure there will come a time I won’t find getting battered in the MMA fighting cage so fun anymore. And I can only sustain so many hard wrestling takedowns as I become more advanced in age. Fencing is more of a mental game than a physical one – it’s a form of physical chess.

I plan to keep Fencing as long as I can walk.

Update: Yes, there are a couple of Fencing clubs in Chongqing. You just have to know where to look

Fencing Video Recipe
Directions: Fire up iMovie. Download a couple of pictures and videos from your iPhone. Throw in a few free jingles. Apply cheesy picture effects. Shake well and serve.

I’m in the black pants. It’s been a decade, give or take, since I really fenced. A couple of really downright sloppy touché. A couple of good ones. The story behind this is I mentioned in a meeting with some gov’t officials in Chongqing that I couldn’t find any fencing clubs in Chongqing sometime this year and I hadn’t fenced in a decade. They ended up bringing me to two.