NOPE, Edgar Allan T. Paulino has never been a hot shot martial artist when he was younger. He just learned the sport for self-defense. He, however, took the road less traveled and made a career as a trainer and coach of players who later became champions.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

His wards Steve "Red Knight" Grandeza, Rudy "4K Kevkatchi" Tacogue, and Carlo "Red Rock" Laude all hacked out sterling victories in the just-concluded Ultimate Strikers Championships (USC) 5, a Muay Thai competition, at SM Bicutan in Paranaque City.

Jinggoy, as he is fondly called, said he was 14 when he joined the Philippine Moo Duk Kwan.

“I was in high school back then in 1992 when I decided to learn martial art for my own protection since my cousin stabbed me when I was young. I thought I should learn to defend myself 'coz I've got no one to back me up but me. As my mother was then a big fan of Bruce Lee, she introduced me to his movies also. That was amazing!” he reminisced.

The 34-year-old coach said he was grateful to PMDK president Edgardo “Bing” Grandeza for paving him a coaching career.

He said, “Master Bing taught me well how to build champions. He was the one who told me who are the real champions and what it takes to become one.

Discipline... train... Yes! It all comes down to discipline.”

Jinggoy also became a PMDK tournament official since 1992 up to the present. He was appointed as National Muay Thai Kickboxing Council of the Philippines regional director in 2009 by NMTKCP president Emmanuel Sabrine, an international Muay Thai champion.

“My Muay Thai appointment came after my best friend Steve competed in Manila. We were virtual unknowns in the field of Muay Thai back then. But Steve's very impressive win made a statement to the entire Muay Thai community in Manila. They said I'm the Buboy Fernandez of Steve Grandeza. It was my most memorable experience indeed,” he shared.

Fernandez, as we all know, is the trainer of the world's pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.

The 34-year-old bachelor Jinggoy, who is also hands on with their 888 Bakers Choice Distribution family business, recently joined the Blue Lead Tactical Defense Gun Club, Inc.

He said being coach to Steve, a many-time National Moo Duk Kwan Grand champion, is very challenging.

“I always have to catch up with him, making sure everything is in place when he trains. I' talk to him often, too,” he said.

He went on saying, “Being a sport leader is a never ending fulfillment. It's a passion, a life you live.”

He said he makes sure his players are right on track and that they get proper training.

“I really don't think about leaving any legacy for now. I'll just think of my players and do what's best for them,” he said.

He said Davao has the best potential to produce more Muay Thai champions as long as they are instilled discipline that he considers very important.

He also said, “We don't allow anybody to just climb into the ring and kick and punch. They need to train first. I will develop and support more fighters from Davao. Players only need a lot of exposures.”

He cited dedication, leadership and discipline as the key factors of being an effecting sports leader, adding: “In everything you do, may it be in Muay Thai or any other sport, be sure you put your best into it and be happy in what you do.”

Jinggoy and Steve will yet face the biggest fight of their lives when the latter takes a World title shot against a Ghana fighter in Dubai on October 1.

But the ace coach said he is confident his player will live up to expectations. The outcome of Steve's international debut will either make or break the chances of Dabawenyos' invasion abroad in the future.