Wushu Insights by Mark Sangiao

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After having the POC-PSC National Wushu Championship 2013 held last May 28-31, 2013 at the San Andres Sports Complex in Malate, Manila; the Wushu Federation Philippines is going to be busy again these coming months in preparation for the next big event in Asian Wushu.

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The Philippines is going to host the 7th Asian Junior Wushu Championship to be held at the Makati Coliseum, Makati, Philippines on August 8-11, 2013. This event is going to be attended by Wushu participants from 21 different countries all over Asia.  The Asian Junior Wushu Championship is a competition held every two years and there will be two events in the competition: Taolu and Sanda.

Wushu is both an exhibition and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. It was developed in China. The term wushu is Chinese for “martial arts”. “Wu” means military or martial and “Shu” means art. Taolu and Sanda are the two disciplines of competitive wushu.

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Taolu are the forms and involve martial arts pattern and manoeuvres for which competitors are judged and given points according to specific rules. The forms comprise basic movements such as stances, kicks, punches, balances, jumps, sweeps and throws based on aggregate categories of traditional Chinese martial arts styles and can be changed for competitions to highlight one’s strengths.

One famous celebrity that most people know who practiced Taolu is Jet Li. At the age of 8, he began learning wushu. At the age of 11, Jet Li won his first national championship and as a result, he travelled to more than 45 countries as part of Beijing Wushu Team. In 1974, he became the All-Around National Wushu Champion, a title he held for the five consecutive years.

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He retired from wushu at the age of 19 and went through acting martial arts films which include some of the greatest martial arts films of all times such as the Shaolin Temple, Kiss of a Dragon, Romeo and Juliet, ONE, Hero, Fearless and others. But one can never forget him playing Wong Fei-hung in the two sequels of Once Upon a time in China, where he played the legendary hero who fights against foreigners in this 19th century tale.

Sanda on the other hand, which is also called Sanshou, is a modern fighting method and sport influenced by traditional Chinese boxing,  Chinese wrestling methods and other Chinese grappling techniques. It has all the combat aspects of wushu. Sanda appears much like kickboxing or muay thai, but includes some wrestling techniques.

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This is what we practice. This is what we master. Not everyone knows that Sanda is an all-around combative sport, because it involves striking and wrestling techniques. So all we have to do is add more knowledge from other disciplines to enhance the combinations. We have to add up western wrestling techniques, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese judo and other specialties from different martial arts which originated from other countries. But basically, wushu almost has it all except the grappling aspect.

In connection with Sanda or Sanshou competitions, I am again proud to announce the success of Benjie Rivera, one of a members of the Philippine National Team who is from Baguio and Benguet. He won the Chinese Fighting Championship against his Turkish opponent which was held in Shaanxi, Xian, China last June 14 to 16, 2013. Two out of our five members from the Wushu Philippine National Team won over their opponents. Another win was by Francis Solis from Ilo-ilo defeating his Chinese foe. Jessie Aligaga, Dembert Arcita and Jean Claude Saclag unfortunately all lost to their Chinese opponents.

Photos of Filipino Wushu Fighters who won in the recent

Photos of Filipino Wushu Fighters who won in the recent Chinese Fighting Championship

This win adds to the Wushu-Sanshou record of wins given by our fellow Cordillerans such Mark Eddiva, Eduard Folayang, Rexel Nganhayna, Rolly Chulhang, Jerome Calica, Jerome Lumabas, Roger Chulhang, Jason Domingo, Ronald Bingwaoel, Benito Amado, Michael Humiding, Joel Nganhayna, Joseph Pasiwat, Dare Malecdan, George Lusadan, Erik Kelly,  Mario Bey-agan, Ricky Luken, Mariane Mariano, Rhea May Rifani, Jennifer Lagilag, Dolly Andres and yours truly, among others, who are World, Asian and SEA games medalists.

With all these information, I hope to have shared some of the important insights for our readers to understand more about wushu. We wish to continue letting everybody know about this sport and one of our commitments as Wushu International Judge and Coach and as members of the Wushu Federation Philippines, is to produce quality athletes who can compete among all the best in the sport not only in the country but in Asia and the world. This is what we are training for, aside of course for MMA. This is why we have scholars. To put wushu on the map of competitive sports. This is one reason why we have our Team Lakay Wushu-Xanda and MMA Eliminations and Championships. We hope to produce competitive and quality athletes before we let them step-up to higher competitions.

Our next Team Lakay Wushu Xanda and MMA Championship is going to be on November. So we prepare our athletes for this. Athletes from other gyms from all around the Philippines are welcome to submit their participants if they want to take part in this event. We welcome them to come have a healthy competition with us. As I always say, this is for the benefit of the athletes and for the promotion of the sport and we join everyone who has the same advocacy and dream as ours.

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Train With The Best By Mark Sangiao

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As we open another chapter of our life as fighters and as a team, we take advantage of this time of the year to start and learn new things to add up to our arsenal in continuing to become the best of what we can be. As we wait of our next endeavors and challenges, we use this time to start learning new techniques while continuing to develop what we already have and sharing it to others who are interested in learning them for themselves and at the same time gaining additional knowledge from those who are already experts in other fields. We take steps little by little and try to explore what is best for us.

 With the opening of some opportunities and invitations from some individuals to share and exchange knowledge with them, we do not hesitate to do so. First, one of our Team Lakay Champions, Honorio Banario, who is the former ONE FC Featherweight Champion and the current URCC Lightweight Champion, is now in Malaysia to cross-train with T-REX Muay Thai and MMA Studio located in Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. Mr. Gavin Tan, the CEO of the said gym, invited him to cross-train along with their top caliber instructors of MMA, Muay Thai and Wrestling for one month. With this, we intend to gain, share and interact with different types of disciplines, different types of people and different kind of environment. We hope this move will be successful as we also want our other fighters to follow or do the same at other gyms or organizations, because we believe this is one way of learning – Exploration with sharing.

We are at a chapter where we try to see if what works best for us at our own limitations. We want to make moves one step at a time and hope to have the best results that we can have. Now, speaking of these steps, we are also welcoming this week a former Cyprus wrestling coach to come at our gym in Baguio City and La Trinidad to train and share with us his expertise in this discipline. We will have him train and teach our fighters every weekend for one month then we will see what’s going to happen next. We hope with all these, we will be able to be more developed, gain more knowledge, and add to our skills in becoming complete, well-rounded fighters.  Because we will never cease to learn, we hope to achieve more in life by continuing to learn more things.

 As we go on with the gaining of additional insights and techniques, one of our aims is also to share what we already have. We came up with a new program wherein our fans, students, and members have the chance to train with our Team Lakay champions. We have Eduard Folayang, Kevin Belingon, Rey Docyogen, Dave Galera, Crisanto Pitpitunge, Mark Eddiva and Geje Eustaquio available to train those who are willing to be taught by these fighters who are considered to be among the best MMA fighters in the Philippines. They are available to train and teach at any of our Team Lakay gyms. Our Central Gym is located at 3rd Floor of Auyong Bldg, Kayang Street, Baguio City and at our Lakay La Trinidad Gym located at 2nd floor of Caoili Building, at Pine Valley Plaza, Km. 4, La Trinidad, Benguet.

So if you are interested in training with the best and to experience high-altitude training, you are always welcome to visit us at any of our gyms. This is a great opportunity for the fans to have an experience to train with the champions, as well as our regular coaches who are also champions in the making. We hope to share with our fans and students the experiences, the techniques and the attitudes of how to become a champion and as we always share our team motto, we believe that a champion is not born, he is made by the right people such as the coaches and trainers with the proper knowledge and with the people who can teach the proper attitude, background, experience and motivation. Every day in the gym we live by this motto, because indeed, Champions are not born, they are made.

Martial Arts Recollection By Mark Sangiao

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With the recent conclusion of the Team Lakay 13th Grappler’s Cup which was held last June 12, 2013, one of the most important day in Filipino history because we celebrated the Independence Day of our great country. We can say that it has been successful for the fact that different gyms, including those from as far as Cavite and La Union, participated in the said event. We also had the venue on a different atmosphere letting the participants have a different experience since we had it held at a roof top of one of the buildings in Pine Valley Plaza, La Trinidad, Benguet. Being different from our usual venues like school gymnasiums and beach resorts, we had it held at such venue to establish a high-altitude competition. However, it is one of the goals of Team Lakay to rotate the locations of its Grappler’s Cup competitions to let the participants experience different kinds of environment.

Having organized 13 Grappler’s Cups already, it has established Team Lakay as organizer of such events and it is our vision to continue promoting it for the development of the ground game of our fighters and members, as well as the other participants from different gyms all around Cordilleras and different parts of the Philippines, as it is getting bigger and bigger. It is also the goal of Team Lakay in organizing these kind of programs to put on a stage for them to expose themselves to more competitions before they get to compete in bigger and tougher events.

But what is grappling by the way? Grappling refers to techniques, movements, and counters applied to an opponent in order to gain a physical advantage, such as takedowns, proper positioning, mounting, submitting or locking, escaping, and controlling your opponent. However, grappling does not include striking.

Grappling is a technique which has been developed even in the earlier times of our history. I will not discuss here the history of Grappling or Jiu Jitsu and Wrestling, but to give you a brief background of how it went to where it is right now.

In our local region, when we were kids, we used to play what we call “Ginnabbo”, the local term for judo and wrestling. The Kankana-eys call it “Damá”, while the Ifugaos call it “Bultong”. This type of sport has already been here in our place even before we were born. It was a type of recreation for our forefathers. I even experienced it playing “Ginnabbo” on the wide, vacant grassland near our home. Like that of playing the kite and hide and seek, we played  “kinnudtar” or kicking each other, “innubba” or carrying another on one’s back as a team while kicking or striking other opponents.

Nowadays, I don’t think a lot of the children have experienced this; all they experience now is that if they want to play wresting, they have to go to the gym to practice this sport. For us it was not even a sport, it was a form of recreation.

But with the development of the sport in other countries especially in Japan, Brazil, UAE and in the United States of America, the techniques have become more formalized and improved. There are a lot of techniques that you have to master before getting into this kind of sport and eventually join in competitions.

Now, I would like also to dedicate this piece to our national hero , Dr. Jose Rizal, in memory of his birthday on the 19th of June. He was also a martial arts practitioner and being a martial artist himself, he had known how to properly use the disciplines he knew in proper and peaceful manner. This is one great character that I’ve liked about him, aside from being intelligent and talented; he had not made use of his knowledge of martial arts to form a revolution. Even having been knowledgeable in different disciplines such as judo, wrestling, arnis, fencing, shooting and others, he had not used this to gain independence from our invaders. He still managed to put into writing all his thoughts to gain independence in a peaceful manner. But if needed to apply what he knew, he will do it. That is martial arts; it is only applied when it is needed, like self-defense and during healthy competitions.

Martial Arts are not supposed to be used to start a physical encounter and street fights; or to show to anyone that he is strong and powerful; or to intimidate or bully others. Instead, we should use this art to settle disputes and misunderstandings in a peaceful way- like what it was used to be. It has been embraced by law enforcement officials worldwide and continues to be the foundation for many specialized system used by police especially in countries like Japan. This is the way of martial arts. But nowadays, aside from bringing peace it also is a form of entertainment, a way of disciplining one’s self, and a way of bringing honor and pride to one’s country by representing his or her country in international competitions. This is what we intend to achieve, to bring peace to our countrymen, by becoming ambassadors of peace, as well as to give honor and pride to our country and family. This is what we do, this is who we are.

Team Lakay, Stronger and Better We Rise! :By Mark Sangiao

oishi

It was another disappointing night for Team Lakay last Saturday night at the ONE FC 9: Rise to Power. It was even worse than the last event that we had been to.

Again, we went home frustrated, disappointed, dismayed and heart-broken. We lost, not just one but all of our fights. But as for me and our team, we thought some of our fighters should have won that night. At least we should have made our supporters proud, even if we did not win it all, we should have won some, especially if it was clear that we really deserve those wins. We thought that we disappointed the whole country. We apologize to the people who believed in us for not getting the wins. But we thank them for being there to support us.

However, this is not the end of everything, instead, it is just the beginning. The start of a new chapter of our lives as a team and as fighters. We were tested as to up to what point we are capable of. We are considered as the best in the country, these fighters are the best among the best and yet these happened. Questions arise in our mind and some answers came up too. A lot of facts were given, but one thing is for sure, that the Philippine MMA is still young compared to other countries especially Japan.

Japan has been in the fight business for so many years. When the UFC held its first event on November of 1993 in the U.S, Japan back in that year have already doing a lot of local MMA shows. In other words, before UFC, Bellator, Strikeforce, ONE FC, URCC and PXC came into the scene, Japanese MMA is already having a blast. In my opinion, Japan, it is even where MMA was born, it is where some of the greatest MMA fighters made their name, and it is where the greatest in MMA memories were captured. Now, as the western MMA came, it’s when the downfall of Asian MMA happened, or maybe not the downfall, but the decline due to some conflicts with the organizers, the politics inside it and the increase of even more innovations from other minds who are engaged in this kind of business.

Nevertheless, MMA in Asia, especially in Japan has not died, it was always there, it was just there, while others are so intense in the promotion and in their popularity, Japan never stopped producing some of the best fighters in the world.

The younger generations of fighters from Japan were students, sons and, children of the greatest fighters and teachers of MMA or Martial Arts in their country. With the evolution of techniques and other disciplines, they kept their young ones in Martial Arts schools, aside from bringing them in regular educational schools.

Now the Philippines has reached a point of another chapter; the realization of where we are at right now. Our assessment? Philippine MMA is still so young. Of course we see a lot of MMA gyms popping out right now all over the country. But we have to develop well-rounded gyms, camps and teams.

After the event, many saw our weaknesses; everybody became experts in this field by saying a lot of things. We had our game plans; we went to the event without the so called “zero-knowledge” in grappling, take-downs, or wrestling. Yes these are our weaknesses, but we can’t say that we don’t have knowledge about it. Experts can be the one to attest to that, they are the ones who can see what we lack. And yes, we admit and accept that we still have a lot to improve. But these are the best, so what’s good here is that it is not only us who learned from this experience. Other gyms and teams should also learn from these. In order to be the best, you have to beat the best. And as they say, you are not called to be a great fighter if you have not fought the best.

You can never learn your weaknesses unless you have not dealt with the strongest.

The bottom line is we are still young and the best is yet to come. Give us more time and you will see the best in us yet. As I always say, these experiences are all lessons to learn from. Like in life, as we grow older, we become wiser, we become better, we become what we intend to be, especially if we are willing to learn and apply these lessons in order to reach whatever our ultimate goal is.

These are all part of the game-winning, losing, criticisms, praises, challenges, laughter, tears, pain and relief. Without these, fighting is nothing. The most important thing is that we strive to become better in every experience that we have until we achieve excellence. We don’t claim perfection; we’d rather go for excellence.

We would like to thank the following for supporting and assisting us during the ONE FC: Rise to Power event: Havokk Clothing Company, Hayabusa Philippines, Head Hunting Heritage, Tiong San Department Store, Calajo Restaurant, Catering and Bakery, 50’s Diner, Tatak Maharlikano, Jun and Rosy Car Sales, Vicious Circle, Goshen Land, Atty. Dante Bagsan, Dr. Dave Taclobao, Arch. Lehman Cosalan, Gov. Nestor Fongwan, Cong, Teddy Baguilat, Jr., Jone Lapicto, Patrick Mariano, Marlyn Tafaleng, Jethro Chungalao, Ariel Corpuz, Franklin Pagnas, Cacay Baltazar, our trainers, training partners and all the others who had been there with us before, during and after the fights.

On behalf of the team, I would like to thank all our supporters, families, relatives and friends for believing in us and for being with us all throughout.

Most of all To God Be the Glory and Praises. Team Lakay will rise again Better and Stronger!

Matago tago tako am-in. Mabuhay tayong lahat!

TOGETHER WE WILL RISE TO POWER By Mark “The Machine” Sangiao

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It was a very disappointing night for Team Lakay last Saturday night at the PXC 37 event. It was one of the worst nights for the team. We went home frustrated. Our shoulders were down. There were questions in our minds. We had our hearts broken. We were not victorious.

It could have been a night of the opposite feelings. For most of our fights in the past, we usually go home successful, that even if we have not won all our fights, we have won at least one of the fights and it was a bitter-sweet feeling.

But that night was different. It was difficult. We felt that everything was fallen into pieces. It felt like we let a lot of people down. These were the feelings which we are not used to. Feelings we don’t like to feel.

But as we reach home in Baguio City, the coolness of the breeze seems like eased everything, at least the heat of our head and the pain in our hearts. After a while, we tend to accept everything.

Now, I can talk, I can share; now I can say that’s just part of the game. It was what it was. What has done has been done. We have to move on. We sat down, talked together after the fights and evaluate what had happened. It was different when all has been reviewed and assessed. When everyone has given their words of encouragement, we start to move on again.

Indeed, it was all part of the game. In a competition, especially in sports, it’s either we win or lose. If we win, it’s better, if we lose, we learn. As real and professional fighters, we have to get back on our feet and move on. Fighting is also a learning experience. It happens to every fighter.

As I have said to someone who questioned our performances before, I gave him this answer: “NO great Champion has a perfect or zero-loss record”. They all, at some point in their life, had lost their battles, learned, moved on and became one of the greatest of all time. The important thing is that, we fought, we did our best, we stood up and we move forward, applying what we have learned and become the best with all these lessons.

One thing which is great here is that, it was not just the one who fought who learned, it was the whole team. What one has experienced inside the cage, everybody in the team experienced it with him. The feelings that the fighter felt, the team feels with him (victorious or defeated). Then we all get up together for our future fights.

Now, after all that has happened, with the lessons and challenges we have with us, we have to focus on our upcoming fights in the coming week. First, we have the Philippine National Games, Wushu National Championships on May 27 to June 02, 2013 in Manila, Philippines. Thirteen (13) from Baguio Wushu Sanshou Team and 11 from Benguet Wushu Sanshou Team will be participating in the said event. We all train and prepare them further for the said event, together with their brothers at Team Lakay (mostly also a member of the team), they train with the Champions. This is the development of the grassroots level of the team. The experiences and trainings hone them to be future Wushu and MMA Champions. It is one of the visions of Team Lakay to develop a pool of talented athletes from the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Philippines. This event is also in preparation for the Asian Junior Wushu Championship sometime in August wherein the Philippines is going to be the host country.

Second, on May 31st, Team Lakay will be invading Manila for the biggest MMA event in the Philippines yet, the ONE Fighting Championship: Rise to Power. Five Team Lakay warriors are going to be having their toughest fights of their careers. Honorio “The Rock” Banario will be defending his ONE FC Featherweight title for the first time against Japan’s veteran fighter, Koji Oishi for the main event of the night.

Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon will be facing Masakatsu Ueda for the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix finals wherein the winner will have the chance to fight for the title later on this year.

Eduard “Landslide” Folayang will be fighting against Iranian Kamal Shalorus who is a high-level wrestler who also had fought in the WEC and UFC.

Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen will be going against Japanese Shooto Champion, Yasuhiro Urishitani.

The fifth Team Lakay fighter on this card is Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio. He will be facing off with the american and fighting from Phuket Top Team, Andrew Leone. It’s definitely a big load for them fighting in front of their fellow Filipino fans in their homeland. But it’s not going to be exhausting since they enjoy what they do; it’s their passion fighting either in or outside the country. Instead, it gives them pride and honor to represent the country. Many say the pressure is on them, since hopes and expectations are on their shoulders. But for as long as they’ll do their best, with the aim to be victorious, they know their countrymen will be proud of them. Team Lakay fighters don’t like to let their supporters down. Whenever our fans are watching us fighting, it adds fuel to our fighters to perform at their best and energizes them to showcase their full potential.

The prayers and faith of our fighters, together with that of our countrymen (being a prayerful country) will knock on God’s door and answer them.

With these, we don’t claim that this is our fight alone; this is the fight of the whole nation. So, together with our Team Lakay fighters, we dedicate all these fights to all of our supporters. As early as now, we would like to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts. We hope and pray that we will all succeed come May 31st at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Philippines. Please be there with us and together we will rise to power!

Mark Sangiao Is Preparing His Pupils For The Biggest Fights Of Their Careers

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In the past few years, Team Lakay has been a major force in Asian MMA scene, especially in Philippine MMA. They are one of the reasons why Philippines is the hot bed for MMA in Asia today.

Team Lakay is the home of MMA champs such as ONE FC featherweight world king Honorio “The Rock” Banario, who is also the current URCC lightweight title holder. The Baguio-based MMA fight team is also the residence of PXC world bantamweight champion Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge, URCC welterweight champion and Martial Combat Superfight title holder, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, URCC flyweight champion, Kevin “Silencer” Belingon and the longtime URCC flyweight title holder, “The Punisher” Rey Docyogen.

If there is one man who is responsible for producing such great fighters, that would be none other than Team Lakay’s head coach, former URCC bantamweight champion, and former SEA Games Gold Medalist, Mark “The Machine” Sangiao.

Sangiao is a long-established martial arts practitioner. From kickboxing to taekwondo, judo to Brazilian jiu jitsu, Sangiao is truly, the pioneer of MMA in his home town Baguio City and arguably one of the people who brought MMA in the Philippines into a whole new level.

Sangiao knows how to build champions, he knows how exactly a fighter should train and eat because he is a former fighter himself; he understands the point of view of every fighter who trains at his gym.

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Team Lakay’s journey on top continues as they prepare for the biggest fights of their MMA careers. Mark Sangiao is getting his fighters ready for two of the most anticipated mixed martial arts events not only in the Philippines, but in whole Asia, as 8 of his best pupils will compete in PXC 37 and ONE FC 9 ‘Riste to Power’. Both events will be headlined by two Team Lakay world champions.

First up, PXC 37, happening on May 18th at The Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, Philippines, as the current champion Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge makes his first-ever title defense against the undefeated and ground specialist from Japan, Michinori Tanaka. Also, two of Team Lakay’s young fighters, Troy “The Hunter” Bantiag and Jerome Wanawan will make their appearances at the said PXC event. Bantiag will go up against Guam’s Trevin Jones, while Jerome Wanawan looks to comeback to his winning ways against a very talented fighter from San Pedro, Laguna, Ernesto Montilla Jr.

After PXC 37, the mammoth ONE FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ is up next for the Baguio-based fight team. The current ONE FC world featherweight champion from Team Lakay, Honorio “The Rock” Banario will also make his first title defense against a seasoned veteran in Koji Oishi of Japan.

Four more well-recognized Team Lakay fighters will make their toughest fights so far as Eduard “Landslide” Folayang faces WEC and UFC vet, Kamal “Prince of Persia” Shalorous, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon battles grappling wizard Masakatsu Ueda for the Bantamweight GP Finals, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen takes on former UFC fighter, Yasuhiro Urushitani and “The Gravity” Geje Eustaquio is finally back inside the ONE FC cage against his toughest opponent to date, Phuket Top Team’s Andrew Leone.

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Mark Sangiao’s pushing his fighters to the limit to prepare them for tough battles against some of the big names in Asian MMA today. Team lakay fighters are known for their excellent condition, power and rigorous training regimen. Mark is assured that his boys are ready come fight night due to a very much-improved training that his fighters are doing for the big events coming up,

“They are doing great. The training leveled up compared to the last ones because they are training together and they know that they have their own big fights to win.”

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Getting a fighter ready for a big event is a very difficult taks to do. But from Mark Sangiao’s standpoint, as long as you and your fighters work together, nothing is impossible,

“No, it’s not hard to train them because we really work as a team and brought in some additional coaches who specializes in boxing and Muay Thai. Also, we have our own Sanshou background that we can add well with some wrestling techniques. We also added some extra time on our grappling. But all in all, training our guys here isn’t too difficult.”

Aside from bringing in coaches who specializes in Boxing and Muay Thai, Sangiao also arranged additional outdoor training for his fighters and added extra hour to every practice just to make sure that they are well prepared when they go to battle,

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“We adjusted our time of practice; we extended our training hours. Also, in this training camp, we only not focused ourselves inside the gym and having uphill sprints, we also added some extra training at Teacher’s Camp here in Baguio City for strength and conditioning.  So those are some of the adjustments that we made for this camp.”

All of Team Lakay fighters that will compete at PXC 37 and ONE FC 9 are matched up against world-class grapplers. It is evident from their past fights that whenever a grappler fights a Lakay fighter, it is either that grappler’s going to give the Lakay fighter a tough fight or submit him.

But as we all know, the game is continuously evolving so as the fighters. Lakay fighters, through their setbacks against ground specialists, gave them a serious motivation to train harder and focus more on sharpening their grappling skills.

First on Mark Sangiao’s list is Crisanto Pitpitunge’s title defense against Michinori Tanaka, who we all aware of being such a deadly fighter whenever he’s on the ground. Sangiao has been working on improving Pitpitunge’s take down defense and how to escape from various submission holds. Also, in PXC 37, Troy Bantiag will face Trevin Jones, a fighter who has a very intimidating wrestling game and serious punching power. Jerome Wanawan will make his first appearance of the year as he comes off a humbling loss against Eugene Toquero last year,

“Crisanto’s training is great. We know that Tanaka’s well-trained on the ground and has very decent grappling skills. That’s why we trained Crisanto’s take down defense and focused more on his grappling because we know Tanaka will try to take him down, so we also practiced various submission escapes.”

“Troy and Jerome also are doing great. They are very positive the whole training because they really want to win their fights. Another great thing about this camp is that everyone is helping each other to improve. They are forcing everyone to sharpen their skills and aim to level their skills up together. They will be ready on May 18th for PXC 37.” Sangiao added.

After PXC 37, ONE FC 9 ‘Rise to Power’ is next as Honorio Banario defends his title against Oishi, Belingon battles Ueda for the GP finals, Docyogen faces former UFC fighter, Urushitani and Eustaquio to lock horns with Leone.

Banario captured the title against Eric Kelly on February 2, 2013, at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Now that he is going to defend his belt for the first time, fighting in front of his home crowd adds up to the pressure. It is a tough task to fight world-class fighters in your backyard, but Sangiao is confident that Banario and the rest of his fighters will be 110% ready on May 31,

“Honorio’s training is phenomenal, especially that Eduard is fresh from the U.S and has some great techniques with him that he can impart to his training partner, Honorio. He really wants to retain his title and I am happy to see him doing all his best in every training session we have.”

“With regards to Oishi’s ground skills, I saw some of his fights and the truth is, he is not really that fighter who loves to take the fight to the ground. I watched some videos of him and he also likes to strike. I am pretty sure that this fight is going to be electrifying. My prediction for this match up is that thousands of fans will be on the edge of their seats. But just in case Oishi will take Honorio down, we are ready for that; Honorio can beat Oishi at his own game.”

Fresh off his TKO victor over Thanh Vu last April 5th in ONE FC 8, Belingon’s next assignment is to beat a fellow GP finalist, Masakatsu Ueda.

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Belingon is an extraordinary fighter. He comes to every fight with a lot of surprises. Whenever he steps inside the cage, he is a different man, a much-improved fighter every time he fights. He will face another high-level grappler in Ueda for the ONE FC Bantamweight GP Finals,

“Ueda is very refined on the ground, but Kevin obviously has a significant advantage in the striking department. If Ueda will take Kevin down, I’m positive that with the much improved grappling skills of Kevin, he can keep up very well with the Japanese’s game. Kevin is getting better and better every fight. So I know he will soon be a contender to the ONE FC Bantamweight title.”

After 7 weeks of refining his ground game in the U.S, the poster boy of Team Lakay, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang is back and hopes to beat Kamal Shalorous using his much-improved ground game. Sangiao believes that Folayang’s U.S trip was a huge eye-opener for the reigning URCC welterweight champion to train harder to improve his wrestling and jiu jitsu game,

Photo Credit: Anton Tabuena

Photo Credit: Anton Tabuena

“We cannot say that in just 7 weeks of his training in the U.S, we can see a well-versed Eduard Folayang on the ground. But at least, he absorbed some important techniques that he can use in his future fights. His U.S trip was a great eye-opener for him to work harder to refine his grappling.”

Shalorous has been in the UFC and fought some of the best in the world, which makes him a real threat to Eduard Folayang. But Mark saw something about Shalarous game that Eduard can take advantage of and he believes that his pupil will win the fight,

“We watched some of Shalarous fights and we saw something that Eduard can capitalize on. I cannot reveal what it is, but I think Eduard is much faster and technical than him. I know he can beat Shalorous. But if Eduard can do it via KO or TKO, much better.”

When asked if his boys are ready for PXC 37 and ONE FC 9,

“Of course, they are good to go. But as of now, we are very cautious about them not getting any injuries as the fight day approaches very fast. That’s the only concern we have right now.”

Being a coach, adviser, provider and a second father to his fighters, aside from making their dreams come true; one great thing about handling these fighters in Sangiao’s assessment is changing those fighters to become a better person,

“That’s one of the great things about this sport. We’re dealing different personalities and change them for the better. For me, even if sometimes I am not around during practices, I know they will do their part as a fighter. I know they will do what is right whenever they’re in the gym, even though sometimes my eyes are not monitoring them. Because I am always telling them that you will not be a champion unless you train like one.”

When asked on who are the naughtiest Team Lakay fighters,

“I would say Rey (Docyogen) and Honorio (Banario). (Laughs) Unlike their other team mates, those two are the loudest people everytime we train; they always make their team mates laugh. Also, Troy (Bantiag), maybe it’s because of his age, but he sometimes doesn’t take things seriously, but I understand that. He still got a long way to go.”

Last year, through his personal Facebook account, Sangiao asked a question to his fans on whether they like to see him back in action inside the ring/cage. It was obvious in the comment thread that a lot of fans and friends want him to go back and fight. But due to his tight schedule preparing his fighters to various gigantic MMA events around Asia, it seems like he really hang up his gloves and focused himself on handling his fighters and setting up local MMA and grappling tournaments,

“We already discussed about that matter, but as much as I’d like to go back into fighting, with the tasks I have as the head coach of the team; organizing some local shows like Team Lakay Championship and Team Lakay Grapplers’ Cup, it is really rational for me to not fight anymore. It’s not that my body cannot do it anymore, it’s just my schedule is so tight that I cannot train hard because I have more important things to do like those I’ve mentioned a while ago. So right now, that is my focus, coaching and organizing our events.”

When asked on what advice he can give to those coaches who look up to him,

“For me, to be able to stay hungry in the sport, is they need to check their passion for this sport. Then they need to look at the future of MMA in our country. If they want to be successful in this sport, all they need to do is focus and get real serious about it.”

“I am always saying about this to other coaches – we need to have healthy competitions among us. If we have events here in Baguio, they are welcome to join us. If they do have events in their own provinces, we are glad to join and help them. Let us just take away that traditional mentality of comparing each other’s abilities; we need to have a healthy competition. We need to learn from each other for the benefit of the sport. Here at Team Lakay, we are willing to invite them to join our events. We set aside our pride because we know that we also need the knowledge of Muay Thai practictioners, Wrestlers and Jiu Jitsu, for us to be a well-rounded.” Sangiao added.

Uniting MMA In Asia By Mark “The Machine” Sangiao

coach mark

The ONE FC Network has provided the different gyms and fighters all around Asia great opportunities and has contributed to the amazing growth rate of Asian MMA due to its vision of creating a network with common goal of great competitiveness and healthy partnership of the different promotions all over the Asian region.

Attending the ONE Asia MMA Summit 2013 is one of the most memorable experiences that I ever had. Being in the summit for the second time is such an honor for me. I had the chance of meeting some of the great people in the Mixed Martial Arts world, the heads  of the different promotions in Asia, fighters, coaches, gym owners, Sports and MMA journalists, sponsors and the siblings of the considered the “godfather” of Mixed Martial Arts, Bruce Lee.

As I sat in a room on the 46th floor of the Tower 1 of the amazing Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on the second night of the 3-day event, I pondered. I was so pumped-up that I can’t sleep having the thoughts of what had been for the full day. The day was full of incredible information and inspirations from the different speakers and panellists discussing the future of Asian MMA. There was the speech of the former UFC Middleweight Champion, Rich Franklin, sharing his experiences of how he became a fighter, and a champion from being a simple school teacher. Renzo Gracie, got the attention of the audience with his humorous style of telling his experiences and thoughts. Chatri Sityodtong, the founder of Evolve MMA, talked about the development of MMA in Asia. Speakers from Tune Talk, You Tube, Sherdog, New York Times, Fox Sports and other big names gave their own thoughts about how MMA in Asia will make it great by all working together.

But what impressed me the most was when the owner and CEO of the ONE FC, Mr. Victor Cui delivered his speech. We were all inspired by the way he envisions the future of Asian MMA by uniting some of the biggest MMA Promotions in Asia, gyms, sponsors and including the media industry. He shared his thoughts and concepts about Winning -Together. Basically, this is the aim of the network. “Winning means we all rise together” and “Together means sometimes you have to put away your own skill sets and ego to work together to accomplish something great”.  He then further ended his talk by saying that with all these accomplishments, there are still a lot of things to be achieved. And the amazing thing he said is that “we are just getting started”.

Having said this, I was inspired by this aim of the network by doing it in our local area in the Northern part of the Philippines. Organizing all of our local gyms and small MMA organizations to come together to agree to helping each other by supporting each other’s events and local fighters.

For Team Lakay, this Synergy of the ONE FC Network has provided great opportunity for our Team Lakay fighters to showcase their skills in an international level. Of course, we greatly appreciate and are thankful to URCC, with Alvin Aguilar as its founder, and his URCC Partners, because being the first and longest MMA Promotion in the Philippines, it is where we started and we hope to continue this good partnership with them.

Furthermore, the ONE FC Network has done so much to Team Lakay by challenging us more to level up with our training and preparation. We have enhanced our Outdoor Training Program as well as improved our Gym Training Program so it becomes a complete facility for Mixed Martial Arts and not only for Wushu or for just a few discipline.

With this, we have come to develop well-rounded fighters and prepare them for a higher level of competition. We have lessons from our past fights and fighting in the international arena through the ONE Fighting Championship. It has given us more challenges to prove ourselves even better. With these challenges, we have come to realize our mistakes and weaknesses and have come to improve and develop our skills more and as a result, we now have from Team Lakay, Honorio Banario as the first ONE FC Featherweight Champion. And we also hope and dream to have more champions in Kevin Belingon, who will be fighting for the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix finals, which is a few steps more to the Title. We also have of course, Eduard Folayang, Rey Docyogen and Geje Eustaquio who will be fighting on the next ONE FC event in Manila on May 31st at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.

On behalf of Team Lakay, I therefore would like to thank the officers, organizers, promoters, sponsors and members of the ONE FC Network by giving this opportunity to us. We are greatly honoured and privileged to be part of this great Network and we join hand in hand with them in our goal of making it big in this world that we all love.

Mark “The Machine” Sangiao’s Reflection On URCC ‘Unrivaled’ and Team Lakay Championship 7

coach mark

A JOYOUS WEEKEND FOR THE MMA FANS

By: Mark Sangiao

It was a joyous weekend for Mixed Martial Arts fans in the Cordilleras specifically the fans from Baguio City. First good news was the win of Team Lakay’s Dave “The Scarecrow” Galera over Team Deftac’s Red Romero via a Referee Stoppage due to Ground and Pound and captured the URCC (Universal Reality Combat Championship) Interim Bantamweight Championship Title last April 27th at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. This is the fifth Championship Title held by Team Lakay fighters in the initiator and longest running MMA Promotion in the Philippines, the URCC. Team Lakay has been dominant in the 5 divisions of the said Promotion, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang as the Welterweight Champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario as the URCC Lightweight Champion (and also the ONE FC Featherweight Champion), Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon as the undefeated Champion of the URCC Flyweight Champion and Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen as the king of the URCC Pinweight Division. The URCC Bantamweight Belt is now back to the hands of Team Lakay and hoping to stay with this team for a long time. As the title of the latest event of URCC, we intend to stay UNRIVALED.

At the same event, Edmund Velasco from Team Torogi, who also comes from the Cordilleras, won over the former URCC Champion, Angelito Manguray from Davao, via Technical Knock-out due to strikes in the second round.

Simultaneously, the Team Lakay Championship 7 was held at the Baguio Convention Center last Saturday, April 27th. Here, local fans from Baguio City and its nearby municipalities got to watch the event live. The main MMA bout was fought between Team Lakay’s Rising fighter, who is starting to make a name in the MMA world, Stephen “The Sniper” Loman and Carlo Laurel from Fight Works MMA in Laguna. Laurel almost got Loman in a Triangle submission attempt but Loman managed to escape, then Laurel tried another submission attempt via armbar but because of Loman’s incomparable strength and grappling knowledge has escaped to dominate Laurel via striking for the rest of the rounds and won a unanimous decision.

At the second of the MMA bouts, John Cris Corton also won via a unanimous decision over another Fightworks MMA fighter Venson Delopere.

One of the younger brothers of Honorio Banario, the ONE FC Featherweight Champion, Harold Banario competed against Muay Boran’s Johnny Bitaga for the main event of the Wushu Xanda event. Banario dominated the rounds and won a unanimous decision from the judges. Also a unanimous decision was given to Lakay Central Gym’s Rizalino Olivar over Roy Dumar of the UB Sanshou Team.

Danny Kingad from Lakay La Trinidad Gym and Jaime Langwawey from Lakay Central Gym both won via referee stoppage over Glen Fawagan (UB Sanshou Team) and Markelly Chale (UB Sanshou Team) respectively.

The referee stopped the fight between Lakay’s Delfin Nawen and Wilner “Tafungao” Lizardo (Mongoose Team, Bontoc) as Nawen’s right arm got injured during the fight and gave the win to Lizardo.

Joshua Pacio from Lakay San Fernando Gym and Eleazar “Pretty Boy” Mi-ing gave the fans an entertaining fight by giving it their all until Pacio hit Mi-ing with a roundhouse kick to the thigh which gave Pacio an impressive win via a TKO.

The controversial draw decision from the judges beatween Ronel Capan (Lakay San Fernando) and Erick Aban (Muay Boran) made the audience react with the decision.

A unanimous decision from the event judges was given for Edison Dangla (Lakay Central Gym) who fought against UB Sanshou Team’s Steward Osting for the opening bout of the evening.

Overall, it was a great night for the fans aside from that controversial draw decision for Capan and Aban. I feel the responsibility of explaining to the fans and spectators as the Head Judge of the event to explain the decision. As the head judge of the event, I have the right to give the final decision, however, I respect the decision of the three judges, since we have invited them to judge the fights. We have full confidence that they will give the right decision. We have not seen what they have seen near the ring during the fight, although majority of the audience thought Aban should have won that bout. I could have decided what the majority have expected but I thought to be professional and respect the decision of the judges whom we believe are credible, otherwise, we should not have invited judges and decide it ourselves.

We would not want any bias decision and I don’t want to think it that way. As I have said, we don’t know what the judges have seen during the fights. This happens, even in the bigger and more popular promotions that we know. As they always say, as a fighter, give all your best and as much as possible, do not leave it to the hands of the judges. But I understand, based on our experience with the team, even if we want to finish a fight, sometimes, it is easier said than done.

Before I end, I would like to thank those who have sponsored the event and made it a considerably successful event: COLT 45, Atty. Nick Aliping and BIDA, Tiongsan Department Store, ALIM Party list, Tech Hour Computer Store, Personalized by Pat & Rick, Paintball Republic, 50’s Diner and Lagalag Outdoor Explorer. Likewise, to all those who contributed one way or another, we appreciate your efforts and support. And of course to the MMA fans, who came and watched the event, Thank You Very Much! See you on our next Team Lakay Championship event!

MMA and Combative Sports Capital of the Philippines

mark sangiao

By: Mark “The Machine” Sangiao

With the increasing awareness and interest in Mixed Martial Arts or MMA, of the people from the Philippines, especially in the northern part as that of the Cordillera Administrative Region and its nearby provinces, MMA gyms and competitions are popping out like mushrooms. With this, it has been advantageous to the students of the sport and its enthusiasts since there will be more reasons for them to prepare and train harder aside from of course, attaining self-discipline, athleticism, health and wellness as well as the aim of obtaining the right knowledge and skills of self-defense which is applicable for today’s peace and order situation in the country.

As the leader of Team Lakay, I dream of the Cordilleras as being the Martial Arts Capital of the Philippines. By this, helping the tourism of the region by attracting visitors from other places to come watch and participate in combative sports competitions as well as inviting them to visit and experience what it feels like to train with MMA gyms and teams here in the highlands. The more gyms, the more competitions, the more fighters and the more enthusiasts, the better. With the goal of self-discipline, healthy competition and entertainment all in one, Cordilleras will be considered to be the “Home of Champions”.

Home of Champions indeed, as we have already started producing champions and dream of more to come. We hope to inspire other gyms to follow our footsteps and together making the people from the Cordilleras and the Filipinos in general proud.

Having said these, with the leadership of Team Lakay and having been in the business for some years already, for producing champions has now started promoting competitions, with already 6 MMA and Wushu Xanda Eliminations and 12 Grapplers’ Cups, is now moving forward with its 7th installment of series by having its Team Lakay Championship. It has leveled up by moving from an Elimination event into a Championship event and now having a larger venue at the Baguio Convention Center to accommodate more fans and spectators.

With the fast growth of MMA in the world with the UFC being considered by many as the Olympics of MMA, it is a dream of every MMA fighter to fight in that arena which is not a far and difficult dream to reach. And with the following of One Fighting Championship, PXC, DREAM, Road FC, Legend FC, URCC and King of the Cage and other international promotions now invading Asia, it won’t be long; that the Philippines will hold Championship Titles from these different MMA promotions and be recognized as the best among the best.

But before reaching that dream, it is the goal of Team Lakay in organizing such local events to train, develop and produce fighter and to provide experience and exposures for them by letting them fight in the local events before letting them compete in the national and international competitions. This has been proven already by the Titles now being held by One FC Featherweight Champion and URCC Lightweight Champion, Honorio “The Rock” Banario, PXC Bantamweight Champion, Crisanto “The Slugger” Pitpitunge, URCC Welterweight Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, URCC Flyweight Champion, Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon, URCC Pinweight Champion, Rey “The Punisher” Docyogen and other more rising MMA stars.

Team Lakay Championship is therefore a great stepping stone for future champions to reach their dreams. This event will bring aspiring future champions to showcase their skills and to be discovered. Fans from around Baguio City and its nearby municipalities will get to see live entertainment of exciting fights which is to be delivered by fighters of 8 matches in Wushu Xanda and 2 matches in MMA. Participants are from as fas as Manila, La Union, Mt. Province, Benguet and Baguio City.

Team Lakay Championship is going to be held at the Baguio Convention Center on April 27, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Fans will witness live action and at the end of the night, after satisfaction of watching great fights and cheering on their bets, fans will get to see, meet and greet the future as well as the present MMA champions all in one night!