Hit it right
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON - Paolo F. Belmonte () - September 23, 2005 - 12:00am
Most of my life I’ve been interested in the martial arts. At the age of six or so, I was the youngest member of the beginner’s karate class at the AAK center in Megamall. When I first moved to Xavier, I left karate to join the taekwondo sessions they held once a week. My parents pulled me out of the martial arts upon the advice of the faculty once they started getting reports that people were getting beaten up during recess, unaware that it was not I who had initiated the sparring. As my skills went down and my rivals’ improved, soon it was I with the bruises and the black eyes. Finally, I left Xavier. Waldorf is a peaceful school where the behavior of the students can easily be monitored. Fights are severely frowned upon, and any knowledge of combat is discouraged. The paranoid and bizarre Waldorfian teachers believed in non-aggression, even in self-defense. That means even if you get your ass kicked in a fight you didn’t start, you still shouldn’t defend yourself because you might hurt the poor fellow. A year after I graduated from grade school, I decided to take up Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. I needed a new hobby for the summer. Sadly, the place where I was so eagerly planning to go was closed. In the process of searching for an alternative, I discovered boxing. I found it through my uncle who had recently started going to a boxing gym to keep fit. Terrific, I thought. Boxing seems fun. And so I was introduced to the Elorde Gym along Granada Street.

I get more exercise from boxing than from anything else. A regular workout is divided into rounds of three minutes each with intervals of 30 seconds in between to rest. The workout is something like this: one round of jogging, stretching, two rounds of learning and practicing punch combos against a trainer wielding boxing mitts, four rounds of attempting to properly use a speed ball, two rounds of slugging a punching bag, two more rounds of mitts, a round of skipping on a kindergarten rope, excruciating abdominal training for about 10 minutes, more stretching, and then it’s time to tip the trainer. If you want, you can take an extra break anytime you feel like dropping. Before I went for a vacation in Europe, I’d planned to visit the gym as often as I could. I found the best time to go was at 7:30 a.m., since most people were lazy bums and couldn’t wake up that early. But after a few exhausting consecutive lessons, my training was reduced to two to three times a week. My knuckles developed some well-shaped black-and—blue splotches the first lesson I had, but they went away after a week and didn’t return. My calves, biceps, and shoulders ached terribly. I also slept the best I have in ages. However, when classes started, I took a break since I felt too lazy to wake up early on Saturday mornings, and the afternoons were always packed. I recently resumed my training at the behest of my ever-suffering mother. But boxing assumes that your opponent isn’t going to be punching you below the belt. To counter this, I also take taekwondo training once-a-week with Benj Magsino, formerly a member of the Philippine team. Hopefully soon I’ll try Jeet Kun Do, that Bruce Lee thing, and I’ll be all ready for the next Ultimate Fighting Championships… if all goes as planned, that is. Lots of things could pop up and complicate the issue. Like me not being above 18, for one, but I suppose if I took a bottle of Growee every night after dinner I’d be able to fool every judge as if they were blindfolded. Wish me luck, there. I’ll need it.
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Congratulations to Mr. Danny Beraña for being the 100 th person to text in their Filipino word! As promised, a total of 100 centavos has been loaded to his account.



Your contributions have been read and appreciated. Many thanks to everyone who sent in a Filipino word but failed to win the prize. However, I was very disappointed to have received a total of no less than 16 e-mails containing a poem of Dr. Jose Rizal.

Ang hindi magmahal sa kanyang sariling wika

Daig pa sa hayop at malansang isda,

Kaya ang marapat pagyamaning kusa

Na tulad sa inang tunay na nagpala.

I had no intention of implying that I hated Filipino, only that I wasn’t very good at it. There’s still a lot of room for improvement in my case. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!

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