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About Me

Martial arts journey





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My martial arts journey started over 20 years ago at the age of 9. Perhaps aptly described as being a jack of all trades in the realm of combat, not only was I an MMA fighter at a time shortly before everyone and their mother was one, but I was also a mixed martial artist in the literal sense long before I ever began fighting in a cage. Here's a timeline of how it all started:

2000s - The Genesis of a Lifelong Quest

2003 - Being the largest kid by far in all of my elementary school classes, I wanted to become more athletic, and so I began my martial arts training in Denver, Colorado when I took up a traditional Taekwondo style that was used in both North and South Korea, and later brought to the United States.

2005 - I moved to a different part of the city and started learning my first mix of what would turn out to be multiple styles of Karate - a fusion of Kenpo plus other more traditional Okinawan and Japanese styles - while also taking Taekwondo classes that were being taught at the same location.

2007 - After moving from the US to Europe, and briefly pausing my martial arts training, I was always getting singled out and bullied at school (and before and after), always by groups and many times by groups of older kids, so I began training in a sport Karate style and Japanese kickboxing. I also began training specifically in boxing to focus on my hands, and I soon found it easy to deal with my bullies at the times that things got physical.

2008 - I began to always hear about the efficacy of Thai boxing in combat sports and in a real-life situation, so I took up Muay Thai and was instantly captivated. From there, it became my primary style of focus as I began my Mixed Martial Arts training as well after having been a fan for some time, and that's when I started to learn the grappling arts as well. I moved back to the US and made it a point to continue my MMA training every day after high school with the goal of stepping into the cage one day.

2009 - Wanting to get stronger even though I was very strong for my age, I started powerlifting as a sport in high school and found that I responded very well to lifting weights, gaining a large amount of strength in a very short amount of time. I then began preparing for wrestling season at after school training sessions as the only super heavyweight that was to be on the high school wrestling team, but before it even got to the point of starting to compete, I decided to continue my MMA training instead, which I was doing every day up until that point, when I found out that I wasn't going to be able to do both once the season started.

Early 2010s - The Balance Between Fighter and Martial Artist

2010: At age 16, I gave myself a goal of becoming a champion in combat sports before the age of 30, and soon after, I started training with Freedom Fighters, which became my new MMA team. It is how I met my coach, who I later found out also taught my first Karate instructor since he was my age at the time. In a way, I returned to my roots all the while moving forward.

2011: I had a three-month break from training with my team when I visited Europe for the summer, so to fill my hunger for martial arts, I took some Wing Chun classes there upon hearing they were happening nearby. It is during this time that I also became familiar with the martial arts philosophy of Jeet Kune Do. When I returned to the States, I resumed my MMA training, and I also dabbled in some Shaolin Kung Fu in the free time. It didn't last long because with my goal in mind at the time, Kung Fu was considered too traditional for combat sports. As recommended by Bruce Lee, though, I took what was useful and discarded what was not, and that brief stint led me to start practicing not only the meditative methods of Qigong, but also a Chinese kickboxing style once known as Sanshou, which I was able to study long enough to get comfortable with the whole curriculum of Wushu Sanda, adding it to my kickboxing style before it was time to focus solely on MMA competition and training for my first fight.

2012: The time had finally arrived. I had just graduated and I was set to have my first MMA fight after an opponent had backed out three months earlier while I was still in high school. Nevertheless, I finally had a willing opponent, and it was an experienced opponent in his 30s that had several MMA and kickboxing fights under his belt already. With the lights and the pressure on at the outdoor venue of a couple thousand people in attendance, I knew I was ready because I had been training for that moment for a long time, being that I had to wait for years to turn 18 and compete in the state of Colorado. I heard some of those people talking about how "this school boy is going to get badly hurt" and other similar things, but along with my supporters and others in the crowd, the same people that were talking about how I was about to get knocked out were now cheering for me, watching me be on the delivering end of the knockout as I sealed my victory with a quick counterpunching combination in the first round. Afterwards, I started practicing yoga to supplement my MMA training.

2013: At 19 years old, I moved up to the super heavyweight division on a week's notice, when I took a fight against a 29-year-old fighter that had been preparing for that night's event for some time. I won the fight by unanimous decision and soon after, I became a cornerman for my team.

Mid-2010s to Early 2020s and Present - Education and the Arts

2015-2023: I have made a couple more big moves across the oceans since then, but long story short, I started to focus on my education and earned several university degrees - a Bc. in economics and entrepreneurship from the Pan-European University (PanEuroUni) in 2015, an MBA from the City University of Seattle (CityU) in 2022, and also a Magister's degree from the VSM School of Management that same year - as well as other professional business school degrees - an LL.M. in business law, an MPA (public administration), and an MSc. in marketing all in 2023. Even when the times were at their busiest, I kept practicing my martial arts whenever possible. 

2023: On December 9, I made my comeback to combat sports competition by winning all three of my matches and the 2023 Eastern Visayas No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Openweight Championship to fulfill my goal of becoming champion by the age of 30, with only 17 days left to do so in my twenties.

2024: Currently, I am pursuing a double doctorate - a DBA and a Ph.D. in marketing, while still training my own unique blend of martial arts.