ABOUT 200-Baguio jins from the city's finest do jangs (gym) invade the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila Sunday to participate in the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) National Poomsae Championships.
Poomsae in Taekwondo lingo means "forms". It is the equivalent of the "kata" in Karate.
"Indeed, perspiration saves blood," said coach Arnold Oglayon of the Baguio Defenders Taekwondo Do Jang (BDTDJ) as he troubleshoots his army of babes for the last time Friday, a good 24-hours before the buses arrive.
"We've been in weeks of preparation that would rather lose one man to repetitive dancing, than lose more to hard battle," he added.
Joining BDTDJ jins in representing Baguio are their counterparts from the Ultimate Fitness Center - Art Haven (UFC-AH), Gilbert Balancar Gym (GB), and Bravehearts Gym (BHG).
In 2009, Cavite's More than Medals Do Jang racked up 14 golds for the overall pennant. UFC (11 golds) and the Baguio Defenders (10 golds) finished second and third, respectively.
Oglayon said the city could have easily snatched first place for Baguio and the Cordilleras.
However, with the sheer size of the city's delegation, the coaches decided it would be more of a challenge to have a "Baguio vs. Baguio" in the final stages of competition.
"We had Baguio teams A, B, C and D to ensure we could bag more medals and provide stiffer competition for our kids as a means of prepping them up for bigger tournaments here and abroad," Oglayon said.
Participants in poomsae are required to finish their routines under specified time limits. Proper movements in kicking, punching, blocking, and thrusting against imaginary opponents shall then be meticulously considered in scoring until the best of the best in doing "war dances" wrought by masters are named.
Events are divided into the individual standard, team standard, and team freestyle synchronized poomsae.
There are three brackets per event: children (up to 13 years old); juniors (14 to 17 years old); and seniors (18 years old and above).
Twelve regions in the entire archipelago are expected to compete which include the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Cordillera, the Caraga Region, and the National Capital Region.
"We will not promise Baguio and the Cordi highlands we will land first place this year," Oglayon said.
"One thing is for sure though," he said. "Our kids are hungrier this time around to bring honor to our city, our region." (Isagani Liporada)