BGT winner wants to visit Philippines
Filipino-Belgian martial arts athlete Ian Lodens

BGT winner wants to visit Philippines

Rogelio Constantino Medina (The Philippine Star) - June 9, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Together with dancer Natascha Van Es, Filipino-Belgian martial arts athlete Ian Lodens, who is a three-time ju-jitsu world champion, recently won in the Belgium’s Got Talent (BGT).

How he got involved into acro dance is very interesting.

“My girlfriend Natascha had to do a show in school in Brugge. She did not want to do it alone so she asked for my help to do duo with her,” said Ian, who turned 20 last June 5 after a successful ju-jitsu competition in Poland where they won gold and bronze medals.

Luckily, it turned out really good and many people liked what they did together. Then came the BGT opportunity. “That was actually a kind of surprise. I got a message from her (Natascha) that she definitely wanted to compete in the talent show. First, I thought she was joking, so I said, ‘Oh yes, for sure!’ But then she had sent me a Snapchat with a photo in which she clicked on the registration link. Since then the adventure had started,” he recalled.

He added, “The competitors were really nice and friendly and we got along well with most of them. I really had so much fun meeting new people. To be with them in the TV show made it, of course, a little competitive, but we’re friends all the way and that was the most important thing for me — making friends and enjoying the show.”

He said that his ju-jitsu training helped him in competing in BGT. In ju-jitsu one has to be focused on his goals and one’s acro dance needs rhythm. Since he is quite good in this type of Japanese martial art, he can easily learn acro dance, too.

The values of discipline and kindness he learned from his parents, Pascal (a Belgian sports buff who works for the city on the sports fields in Knokke-Heist) and Rebecca (a Filipina who hails from Quezon City).

The Lodens in June 2016 (from left) Ryan, Ray, Ian, Pascal and Rebecca

“My caring and kind-hearted mom came to Belgium as an au-pair years ago, until she met my dad who puts so much time in our sports and helps us pay our trips to competition because we get no support from federation or we hardly find any sponsor. He is strict but he always means it in a good way because deep down he loves us.”

Unfortunately, Ian has never visited the Philippines. The last time his mother visited her homeland was in 1997 when he was not yet born. He is excited to see his mom’s family and relatives so he plans to visit the Philippines early next year, after all the school exams and other commitments.

He is studying in Vives Brugge where he is taking up occupational therapy.

“I’ve always wanted to be an example for others, to help people with their lives and give opportunity to people who didn’t have the chance before. I want to give hope to people who are suffering from bad injuries or physical disorders and to get them back on their feet and give them confidence.”

Ian admitted that he is a silent — and sometimes introvert — person. He usually does not start talking about himself, but he can keep good secrets of his friends and help them. He also tries to help his brothers Ryan (18) and Ray (14) in their school homework. He loves to take care of dogs. He has two male pets, Flash and Q.

Asked if he liked acting, he said, “I definitely feel that acting would be awesome to do, too. I think it’s difficult, but maybe I should give it a try, who knows?”

He likes action movies, and he adores Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham.

He admitted that he is not fluent in Filipino, which, he said, is sad. But he can speak some words and sentences, like Kumusta Ka?, Mabuti, mabuti! and Mahal kita.

His advice to young people?

“If you have a certain goal, don’t let obstacles bring you down. If you want it, you can do it.”

IAN LODENS
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