Baguio-Based MMA and Muay Thai Team Bridging the Gap to Build Future Champions
Take a stool and observe one of Coach Christian Gazmin’s grappling or MMA classes. Handling a packed night class, the retired US Marine’s voice is loud and clear. Then you remember that this is Baguio, and you’re almost sure that a future world champion could be right there listening intently.
“Efficiency and hard work go hand in hand. We drill a lot so the techniques become second nature. We make sure the holes in our game are recognized and addressed.” Emphasizing the basics, Coach Christian, or Coach Cricket as he is fondly called, makes sure every technique is drilled perfectly down to the smallest detail before moving on to the next.
This great attention to detail, along with experience and sheer skill, is perhaps what got Coach Brent Velasco the coaching chores for the Muay Thai national team once again. Coach Brent is, of course, a three-time world Muay Thai champion and the founder of Team Torogi, the Muay Thai-based MMA team that merged with Gazmin’s Tribal Submission to form this new formidable team.
Theirs is a tightly knit unit. “We don’t leave anyone behind and make sure the mission is always completed,” says the US Marine. In such a short time, the team has gained national recognition, and more importantly, the respect of other teams.
But for the members of this merger, respect starts from within. Jessdan Dela Pena, a professional fighter and himself an MMA coach, is all praises for their mentors, especially Coach Christian who picked him up at a low point in his life.”Binigyan niya po ako ng tirahan at work dito sa Baguio para makasuporta ako sa pamilya ko kahit nag-eensayo. Full support siya mula sa food, vitamins, hanggang sa damit.”
According to him, Coach Christian doesn’t demand anything from them other than hard work and dedication. No fees of any kind, no cuts on their professional fight purse, no nothing. They just need to go out there, represent the team well, and win or lose, show respect to their opponent and be thankful for their teammates.
Some of their notable fighters include Kieff Mangusan, Michael Fangki, Alvin Velasco, Franklin Donglay, and Lito Adiwang, who now trains with AKA Thailand.
Asked about their future plans, Coach Christian has this to say: “Future plans are for the future. We concentrate on the present. What we do now will perhaps determine where we will be in the future. We stick to the basics first, then we evolve and produce top-caliber fighters that can stand with the best of the best. We will be up there!”
TEAM TOROGI TRIBAL SUBMISSION
Baguio Convention Center, Baguio City
Head Coach: Christian “Coach Cricket” Gazmin
Head Striking Coach/Fighter: Brent “Golden Boy” Velasco
Senior Active Fighters:
Lito Adiwang, Kieff Mangusan, Michael Fangki, Alvin Velasco, Franklin Donglay, Edmundo Velasco, Jenelyn Olsim, Jerry Olsim, Mark Sumalag, John Farnican, Maricel Subang, Ismael Bandiwan, Kenneth Banasan, Gabriel Andres
Mark “Sexymundo” Raymundo is a copywriter and an amateur fighter with a perfect record of 21-0. Nah, he’s just a copywriter.
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