Arnis champions stun world at Hawaii-hosted WEKAF

WEKAF champs and other Pinoy ‘arnisadors’ meet in California to celebrate the victory.

Momentum shifts; momentum glides. Those who run alongside it would certainly emerge into the limelight after having crossed over, as if the ball has been coursed through the pylons on the court, that seems to outrun the intensity of the game. However, not ball but sticks heralded the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) champions at their return to meet CTU President Rosein Ancheta  Jr. on August 6, who  anticipated for the outcome.

Mary Joyce Dabalos, Dexler Bolambao, Oswen Kenret Bautista, Cristhyl Mae Gumajin and Jeffrey Navarrete—all Doce Pares scholars— had sidelined the U.S. for a much bigger goal in life.  Dabalos ,in a phone interview, said she most assuredly would pursue her being an  arnisador apart from finding a job.

As a marketing student she knows exactly what lies ahead.  The boys, meanwhile, who busy themselves in the fields of mechatronics, food preparation and electronics, may have clearly put aside any distractions to excel in class, but surely holding the stick will always be a priority.

Coach Cesario Perez, who unfortunately was not granted the US VISA, filled their minds with three important things to better prepare for the tournament—ambition, motivation, and training.

“Sports … involves making tough decisions… . Risk everything no matter what…train hard, strike hard, pray hard and win easy.  Trainings are there for supremacy.”

Dabalos, for instance, spoke of how it became a necessity for her to win. She has been trained to wield the weapon since high school. Having been hit many times during practice and actual games, she admitted that courage is essential. The arnisador spirit should prevail, as other cultures have come to love the same mindset.

With more than 200 participants, she said it felt great after winning the fight. Categorized in the ’52-58’ weight  requirement, she had had chances to meet ‘eskrimadors’ from U.S.A., Italy, Mexico, China, and Australia, among others—a memory reflective of  such a promotion of the sport that  peaked in ‘high fashion’ for them after clinching the fight with highest honor.

The mandate of the soul is to successfully represent the country with pride.  Abiding by that ultimate end makes the university ever-expectant. With the intensification of ASEAN efforts such that innumerable student mobility opportunities have flooded the university’s web portal, CTU has been at its critical stage where internationalization and the creed of sports strengthen the presence of the PREMIER university in the global village, such that the ASEAN conglomerate of cultures would always have the best impact on any international engagement, this time, proving it outside of the ASEAN region—North America, which is a much bigger stage.

The Hawaii champions are soon to contend in the SEA and Asian games, bearing the pride they have had all along. Attitude, as Coach Perez puts it, should always be maintained, that of being responsible to each other. The ‘eskrimadors’ themselves, as they are also known, have found this niche in this era’s highly competitive climate upon winning the title because of the value upheld not just in Southeast Asia.

Their stay in Los Angeles thereafter in one of the houses owned by another WEKAF member proved more meaningful. It is arnis that brought them together; it is that sport that opened them to the idea of convergence in a divergent reality.

CTU (WEKAF) champs, who savor their stay in California after winning in Hawaii, are looking forward to training for SEA and Asian games.

Significant heights in the lives of these players made CTU Sports Director Nemia Zamora recall those days when they hit SCUAA tournaments, which had added confidence in them. Hawaii now is a ‘done-deal’. Where to next?

A life in the U.S could be a possibility for the recent champions, having seen a good precedence there such that the one who accommodated them in California is another WEKAF player. Who knows what these intersecting lines would bring? Who could tell the magnitude of sports-oriented internationalization agenda that has swept Southeast Asia off its feet.

It’s admirable for them to have acknowledged the role of sports in their lives, given the setup of leaving the country for a foreign soil upon which one seeks to ponder on his everyday purpose in life.

That Dr. Ancheta simply wants global recognition with all these ASEAN activities is an understatement—he hankers for respect from other international HEIs toward what CTU is capable of—marrying the dynamic aspects in any given society. ICPA