Newbie taekwondo jin hospitalized after sparring arrangement with black belter

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Newbie taekwondo jin hospitalized after sparring arrangement with black belter
File photo shows a taekwondo jin
Unsplash / Released

MANILA, Philippines — A 17-year-old female taekwondo jin has been hospitalized due to her injuries after her coach allegedly set her up to spar with a male black belter.

Based on a report from GMA News's 24 Oras on Tuesday, the victim, a yellow belter in taekwondo, was placed in a sparring session against a heavier and taller opponent at a school in Bulacan back in February.

The female victim received several punches and kicks from his male opponent, according to the video shown in the news report, which resulted in her sustaining bruises and a swollen face after the sparring session.

“Muntikan na po ako mamatay dahil sa bugbog. Binugbog ako na wala akong laban. 'Di ko kaya lumaban wala ako magawa sa sarili ko kasi pinartner ako sa lalaki na mas mabigat sa akin 70 kilos, black belter pa. Kakasimula ko lang po,” she said in a GMA News interview. 

(I almost died because of the beating. I was beaten up without a fighting chance. I couldn't fight back, I couldn't do anything to myself because I was partnered with a man who is heavier than me by 70 kilos, and he's also a black belter. I just started.)

The victim's family, however, alleged that the coach intentionally set up the unfair sparring match out of jealousy

“Sinadya po dahil may gusto siya sa anak ko. Meron daw pong biglang inaakap siya, inaakbayan, tapos inaaya siya kumain sa labas, magkape nang sila lang dalawa. Sabi ko 'di na normal yun,” the victim's mother said in a GMA News interview. 

(He deliberately arranged for that because he had feelings for my daughter. She told us that her coach would sometimes hug her or ask her out. I told myself that is not normal.)

In taekwondo, a yellow belt signifies a novice student, whereas a black belt represents a high level of proficiency in the martial art.

In other martial arts, a black belt can also be considered as a coach or an expert depending on the degree of the black belt. 

Even with protective gear during sparring, such as in other martial arts, taekwondo jins still endure bruises or occasional injuries due to the rapid and dynamic nature of punching and kicking involved in the sport.

It should also be noted that body protection during sparring sessions is not intended to eliminate the possibility of injuries, but rather to minimize the chances of sustaining them.

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Nathan Espino, a martial arts instructor across various schools in Metro Manila since 2007, explained that when black belts spar with newcomers or yellow belts, the focus should be on enhancing fundamentals like reaction time without applying excessive force.

“At that level of disparity in training, the senior should be holding back and acting more like a one-on-one coach, or sinasanay sa reaction time but not the force,” Espino said in an interview with Philstar.com

(At that level of disparity in training, the senior should be holding back and acting more like a one-on-one coach, focusing on training reaction time but not using full force.)

“Generally the yellow belts are just at the start of being able to control their techniques, so their lack of finesse means their attacks and defense are less effective,” he added. 

Regarding the discrepancy in weight divisions, Espino emphasized the importance of grouping martial artists by weight during sparring sessions, as weight directly correlates with the power delivered in each strike.

“Heavier opponents means they deliver more power, and combined with a black belt skill level means they deliver that more effectively,” he said. 

In a statement, the school president of Jesus Is Lord Colleges Foundation Inc., where the victim and the coach are affiliated, stated that they are investigating the incident and assured that they will hold accountable whoever is responsible.

“Let me be unequivocally clear: abusive behavior has no place within our institution. Our dear parents trust us to serve their children with professionalism, dignity, and care. We will not tolerate any violation of that trust. The safety of our precious students is our utmost priority,” Wenifreda R. Templonuevo, the school president of Jesus Is Lord Colleges Foundation Inc. said in a statement.

In a separate statement issued by the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA), the organization said that they initiated their “primary investigation” concerning the incident.

According to the GMA News report, the victim's family has filed charges against the coach under the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act.

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