CULTURAL POTPOURRI| Davao’s Inspiring Young Judokas

“IT IS VERY seldom that you have Jiujitsu/Judo tournaments held in Davao City. I want to popularize the Japanese martial arts of Jiujitsu and Judo especially among the children. My own kids, Sydney and Chino, are passionate about the sport. As we have learned from our PE teachers since our elementary days, sports is a good intervention in transforming our citizens into becoming productive individuals who are disciplined, law abiding, socially aware, morally well ingrained, and conscious of leading a healthy lifestyle. It cannot be denied that engaging in any form of sports while young develops the physical as well as intellectual faculties of the child. It builds self-confidence and self-esteem in children as well,” says Davao’s respected judo/jiujitsu sensei, Paolo Tancontian, of the Holiday Gym Judo/Jiujitsu Club.

“I would much prefer to have my children training in judo/jiujitsu than letting them waste their valuable time playing computer games or wandering around in malls. I feel fortunate of joining the Holiday Gym which provides a good venue for training the younger jiujitsu and judo players of Davao. It is, in this way, that I pay my tribute to the Davao masters who started Jiujitsu and Judo in the Mindanao region,” reveals Paolo sensei.

“My fellow judokas and I are doing all our best to reach out to more young students. We visit schools to introduce the sports and conduct live demonstrations; and hold tournaments even in malls as our advocacy for the love of judo and jiujitsu. The truth of the matter is that we don’t have a national competition program designed for in-school and out-of-school children (ages 15 and younger). It is unfortunate that the Philippine Government is denying this sector the opportunity to develop the athletic skills of the youth required in developing future sports champions for the country. Children below 15 years old, considered the formative stage for budding athletes, comprise a big portion of our ever increasing population. This is the very sector which offers a wide array of athletic potentials waiting to be discovered, tapped and developed. This is why I am supportive of the Batang Pinoy program. It was launched, precisely, to address the need for a national competitive sports program focussing on the youth of the land,” the judoka master explains.

Thanks to the Tancontians and the Davao judokas of various clubs, parents of young judokas of Davao City have bonded together. They’ve been supporting the promotion of this martial arts form especially among the youth of today who are afflicted with high doses of narcissism, materialism and high technology addiction.

It is admirable to see the young judokas of the Holiday Gym, led by Sydney and Chino Tancontian, training under the strict supervision of Paolo sensei. Each one is armed with such passion, discipline, and determination at such a young age. For how would you explain their diligence in attending two-hour trainings in the gym held every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the week. Come competition time and these young judokas undergo rigid training seven days a week.

Serving as inspiration for the young judokas are gold medallists Sydney and Chino Tancontian, the well-brought up children of Paolo sensei and his charming Manileña wife, Janet Sy-Tancontian.

The 16-year-old Sydney, who loves to be showbiz fashionable, started her judo training with her father at eight years old; and immediately won gold in a Brazilian Jiujitsu competition held at the NCCC Mall of Davao. After her first medal in 2007, she has lost count of her winnings in more than 50 judo/jiujitsu competitions she has participated in. The Davao Central Chinese High School Athlete of the Year (2013) awardee was a Batang Pinoy National Champion (2014) in Wrestling and a gold medallist in Judo in competitions held in Camarines Sur. The previous year, she also won gold medals in the judo and wrestling categories in the Batang Pinoy Mindanao Competition. Sydney won the Best Athlete Award (2012) in the Jagsport International Championship held in Singapore where she also won a Silver Medal competing against male judokas. Upon her return to Davao City, Mayor Inday Sara Duterte and Vice Mayor Rody Roa Duterte presented her with the City’s Sports Award in Judo. In the same year, Sydney also became an awardee of the So Kim Cheng Sports Citation and the Davao Central Chinese High School Achievement Awards.

The young judoka, who loves prettifying herself for judo bouts, is presently a scholar of the Davao Central High School (formerly the Davao Chinese School). “My goal is to be able to compete as an official judoka of the Philippine team just like my father. I love competing because it allows me to visit different places, meet new friends, and learn new lessons in every bout whether I win or loose. I am encouraging more young girls to get into judo training either for self-defence or competition. I hope to continue the Tancontians’ humble legacy in judo and jiujitsu in Davao City. Best of all, I want my parents to be really proud of me in everything that I do. I thank God for giving me a supportive family; and for blessing us with special people who also feel proud and happy for us with every achievement we make.”

Well, the Tancontian couple is definitely proud of Sydney for her hard work, determination and discipline.  The Tancontians’ most unforgettable experience, however, was when Sydney was proclaimed the Best Athlete in the international judo tournament held in Singapore in November, 2012, after winning several medals. She was only 13 years old then.

On the other hand, Chino, who so envied his sister’s winnings, also started training at eight years of age. He won his first gold medal at the Pan-Asian Brazilian Jiujitsu International Tournament held in Manila in 2010. The young Chinito manages to balance his judo classes with his academic classes as a scholar of the Davao Wisdom Academy. In the Jagsport International Championship (2012) held in Singapore, Chino won gold medals in the 13-year-old wrestling competition and in the 13-year-old mixed boys and girls judo category. This Davao Wisdom Academy Sports Awardee (2012) was also a So Kim Cheng Sports Citation Awardee in Jiujitsu in 2012; and the Dutertes’ Sports Awardee for Judo, Jiujitsu and Wrestling in 2013. In 2014, Chino won a gold medal in wrestling and a silver medal in judo in the Batang Pinoy 2014 held in Camarines Sur.

The Tancontians should be commended for working hard in popularizing the Japanese martial arts of judo and jiujitsu in Davao City. The program they have managed to establish in the City for the youth is truly admirable. Indeed, the hard work in propagating the ancient Japanese martial arts is finally getting some well-deserved attention.

Thank you, Dariel and Cathy Quiogue, for the beautiful pictures of Sydney and Chino Tancontian.



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