Championing Martial Arts

by Paolo C. Suapengco,
Anton Daniel Bernas wins the gold medal in the 1st International Thang-ta Championship (photo by Georgia Uy, Philippine Arnis Team)

Last September 6-11, 2013, the Philippine Arnis Team competed in the World Martial Arts Festival in Chunju, South Korea. Xavier School’s very own Mr. Anton Daniel Bernas participated in the competition.

While in Xavier School (XS), Mr. Bernas was part of the XS Youth Christian Life Community and the Knights of the Altar. He graduated from XS in 2009, and went on to study college in the Ateneo de Manila University. In his freshman year, he became a member of the Ateneo Arnis Varsity Team, which falls under the umbrella of the Kali Martial Arts Organization. He was first invited to be an official delegate of the Philippine Arnis Team for the World Martial Arts Competition in his senior year of college.

After graduating from college, Mr. Bernas decided to go back to his high school alma mater, Xavier School; he currently teaches sophomore and senior year English. He hopes to promote and bring the national martial art and sport of Arnis to XS, and teach the students one of the most effective and artful self-defense systems that exists.

In the recent World Martial Arts Festival, Mr. Bernas won the gold medal for the Thang-ta Championship, among many other individual and team victories. Below is the official media release of the Philippine Arnis Team, written by Mr. Bernas himself.

photo by Ryan Bermase, Philippine Arnis Team

2013 World Martial Arts Festival – Philippine Arnis

The World Martial Arts Union (WoMAU) once again partnered with UNESCO to host the 2013 World Martial Arts Festival in Chungju, Korea last September 6 – 11. 23 member countries participated in the festival, having 27 martial arts teams in total. As representatives of the Philippines and its own indigenous martial art, Arnis, the Philippine Arnis Team set out to the province of Chungju in order to make their country proud.

As delegates, the team participated in seminars and academic conferences discussing the further promotion and preservation of martial arts across the world. Master Richard Gialogo, delegation head and vice president of WoMAU, participated in a conference among delegation heads where he was re-elected to his vice presidency for another full term. The delegation team, on the other hand, attended the 2013 World Martial Arts Academy International Congress where martial arts scholars gave talks on their efforts to preserve their own martial arts. Master Richard Gialogo was involved in this talk through his academic poster presentation on the industrial aspect of martial arts. Master Richard, with the aid of the the delegation team, also taught a Master’s Class on Arnis where foreign delegates along with festival visitors were given a chance to learn the Philippine’s own martial art.

photo by Hannah Donato, Philippine Arnis Team

As fighters and martial artists, the team competed in various competitions in the festival.

The Philippine Arnis Team competed in the 2nd Chungju Open Martial Spirit Masters Championship. For the double-sword sparring category, Ryan Bermase was awarded a bronze medal for winning 3rd place. For the 5-man team long sword category, Ryan Bermase, Daniel Bernas, Xavier Garcia, Jeff Tan, and Allan Valencia won 4th place.

Next, the team also participated in the 1st International Thang-ta Championship where they came out victorious as the overall champions of the tournament. Beginning with the women’s category, Reg Geli took home the gold medal for the lightweight division; besting Hannah Donato who won 2nd place with a silver medal. Georgia Uy, on the other hand earned a silver medal for her participation in the half lightweight division.

photo by Anton Bernas, Philippine Arnis Team

On the men’s side, participating in the lightweight division were John Donato and Jake Fragrante who won a silver and bronze medal respectively.

The half lightweight division was won by Daniel Bernas who emerged as the gold medalist of the category. For the middleweight division, Jeff Tan and Ryan Bermase took home silver and bronze. Master Richard Gialogo and Master Ryan Gialogo dominated the half heavyweight division by taking the gold and silver medals of the category. Lastly, Allan Valencia successfully earned his spot as a gold medalist for the heavyweight division.

photo by Ryan Bermase, Philippine Arnis Team

Lastly, the festival itself hosted the International Martial Arts Competition. Member teams competed to showcase their own martial arts through exhibitions performed in front of judges, tourists, and the civilian audience.

Winning 3rd place for the single-person weapons demonstration was Master Ryan Gialogo. Winning 5th place for the two-person weapons demonstration were Daniel Bernas and Hannah Donato.

Some mention should also be given to John Donato and Reg Reyes for making it to the top 10 of the empty hand demonstration. The team also made it to the top 10 of the group exhibition category.

The Philippine Arnis team came home proud of their accomplishments and achievements in the 2013 World Martial Arts Festival. Happy to have been part of an event where they got a chance to exercise their pride for the country, they hope to do even better in next year’s festival.

photo by Ryan Bermase, Philippine Arnis Team

photo by Ryan Bermase, Philippine Arnis Team

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