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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Limpag: Marital arts

NOPE, it’s not a typo and yes, I’m talking about the martial arts scene in Cebu. What is it with egos and martial arts that both don’t seem to go together? Any martial arts or martial art-based sports seem to be plagued by infighting and factionalism.

It’s true for taekwondo, karatedo, and arnis but in the case of arnis, decades of ill will have been resolved when they stopped trying to get each other’s throats.

And, it seems, the latest martial arts to suffer marital woes is jiu jitsu, and I just learned that the Cebu scene is rocked by infighting and factionalism.
That’s a sad thing because the sport is being billed as the next best-kept sport secret and should the national athletes perform well, the sport could be
one of the priority sports that will get major funding from the Philippine Sports Commission.

And where would that leave a fractured jiu jitsu community in Cebu?

Brazilian jiu jitsu will be making its debut in the Asian Games this year and members of the three-year-old Jiu-Jitsu Federation of the Philippines (JJFP) think it could be an Olympic sport as early as 2024, making it another sport where the country will have a realistic chance of winning a medal. The others, of course, are boxing and taekwondo.

Let’s face it, it will bring pride to the nation to see Gilas Pilipinas compete in the Olympics but if you want to be realistic, it is in individual events where athletes are divided into categories that we have a chance--boxing and taekwondo.

Both sports have massive grassroots programs where the best of the best are whittled down and become Olympians.

For jiu jitsu in Cebu to get to there, well, I hope the local community can brush aside their differences for the sake of the sport. I’m not taking any sides in their conflict; I just hope that their disagreements won’t hamper the sport in Cebu.

It is something, too, that the JJFP believes because to form the best national team, you have to have the best players represent the country.

“We can’t force teams to join us if they don’t know how to join. So we’re open. In fact, we waived the membership fee for teams this year, because we wanted to have all teams included in the previous national team selections. Because the only way you’re going to form a powerful and undisputed (team), with best players to represent us is if everyone joins our selections (through) the Federation,” JJFP secretary general TJ Sulit said.

I hope someone will light the peace pipe in this marital split.
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