Meggie Ochoa combats rape with Jiu-jitsu

For Meggie Ochoa the best offense is good defense — the Jiu-Jitsu way

Meggie Ochoa combats rape with Jiu-jitsu

REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay (The Philippine Star) - February 27, 2018 - 12:00am

Meggie Ochoa is three-time world champion in jiu-jitsu, but earning medals for the country wasn’t enough. She wanted to make a difference in the life of others and seems to have found her calling.

Philippine Star: How was 2017 for you?

Meggie Ochoa: Actually, 2017 wasn’t really all success, ’cause it was actually the first year that I lost in the world championship! From 2014 to ’16 I got gold consecutively. I got promoted to purple, then 2017, I actually got bronze.

So it’s the first time I experienced defeat in the world championship but that defeat gave me so much clarity and answers to many of my questions.

It then led to the victory in the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games, and that was the time that I was able to clearly see what motivated me as a person, as an athlete, and that’s to just glorify God, and that thought was what drove me.

To be honest I was not even thinking about victory, I was thinking I just want to glorify God, and it came out to be a gold medal.

Talk about the advocacy that you have.

It started in 2015 after I came home from the World Championships. I was asking, “What is this all for and why am I doing this?”

I love the Philippines, I want to do it for the country, but who am I helping when I fight? Right?

One day I saw this article on CNN, about this girl. She was 12 years old then and some 20-year-old guy fooled her and basically the article said that she was raped 43,200 times from 12 to 16 years old. The guy was actually a pimp so she was recruited to become a child prostitute.

I researched more about the issue and it was like God really put this burden in my heart. I met a few people that believed in the same advocacy. It became clear that all of this was part of God’s plan.

It was October 2016 when I proposed a project for this home called Safe Haven, a community center and children’s home for kids who’ve been abandoned, neglected and abused. It was different kinds of cases but I was really leaning towards sexually abused kids ’cause that’s really the burden that God put in my heart. It was our entire women’s team that helped out.

We came up with a system on how to teach jiu-jitsu to children who have undergone trauma. There’s contact in jiu-jitsu so you can’t outright teach them. They’re very wary of contact in the beginning, so you have to come up with a system to be able to introduce it properly.

December 2016 we started teaching them: we started with six girls, then eventually they became comfortable with it. The boys soon joined, so we had 12 students.

In September 2017, they started competing. In almost every tournament, all of them got medals. It was amazing.

When you are a child and you go through trauma, you tend to just give up on life. These kids have fighting spirit. The medals, those are just consolation prizes. What I’m happy to see is them not giving up; they don’t stop until the referee says to stop. The parents of the home have seen significant improvements with these kids and it’s only the beginning. I want to build awareness in a wider audience.

You believe jiu-jitsu is for us Filipinos. Why?

Yes, definitely! It’s only in the past two years we’ve had national team, and we have won so many medals already!

In the Indoor Games, we won two golds, and they were both from jiu-jitsu! It doesn’t focus on strength and power, it’s really technique: it’s your brain that you use whatever kind of body type you have — you can use it to maximize your potential in this sport.

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