Matching Skill with that Uragon Attitude
The goal is to visit teams from different regions across the country. After visiting Team Tribal Torogi in Baguio, I headed to Bicol, particularly Daraga, Albay, where one team is proving to be a dominant force in the local circuit.
In case you’re wondering: Lion’s Den Bicol Top Team does not build their game around the shootfighting style popularized by Ken Shamrock. While they emphasize the importance of bare-bones toughness, Lion’s Den acknowledges that attitude is king.
The team works their balls off and hones their skills to match their authentic Uragon grit. Under head coach Dante Madrideo, Lion’s Den has sent fighters to the URCC, PXC, King of the Cage, AFC, and now, Eruption.
It was at Eruption in Ibalong where I witnessed first-hand how Lion’s Den fighters claw their way from one victory to another. I was particularly impressed with the slick grappling of Herbert Locre and the veteran smarts of Elias Duran Sapo. Of course, this is the same team where ONE strawweight Jeremy Miado got his headstart and developed his craft. That itself is a testament to the level of training this gym offers.
Under Able Hands
More than anything, coach Dante is a motivator. He knows that leading by example is a sure way to ignite the fire in his students. “Ang importante sa leader, marunong mag-motivate,” he said. “Dapat din ikaw mismo ay motivated. Kapag nakita nilang masipag at naglalaro rin yung trainer, namo-motivate sila lalo.”
I listened intently as Coach Dante, who also trained under Team Lakay and Biagtan Muaythai, told me and his students the importance of discipline and humility: “Dapat pinakikinggan mo ang coach. Dapat marunong kang sumunod. Kahit gaano ka kagaling at kahit tinatalo mo na ang coach mo, hindi dapat lumalaki ang ulo.”
Consumed by MMA
Like many a fight team, Lion’s Den is a group of hard workers who found mixed martial arts for different reasons. Without knowing it, the sport has taken over their lives. Some members went on to become professional fighters; one is now a school instructor for wushu and wrestling; and others became trainers themselves who have put up Lion’s Den branches in different areas in Bicol.
Before we parted ways, Coach Dante said something that will probably be etched in his students’ minds for fights to come: “Nagpapasalamat ako sa lahat ng members. Kahit naghihirap tayo, nandito pa rin tayo. Kahit medyo masakit sa katawan, nandyan pa rin tayo – lumalaban, nasasaktan. Dumadaan ang kahirapan, pero nandito pa rin ang buong team. On my part, sila ang isa sa pinakamalaking motivation ko para ipagpatuloy ang grupo.”
Lion’s Den Bicol Top Team
Founder/Head Coach: Dante Madrideo
Aladin Galicia Ariel Linchuco
Jade Li Jonas Jovellana
Maki Regondola Elias Duran Sapo
Jeremy Miado Elias Duran Sapo
Herbert Locre Jupiter Lora
Jayson Margallo Benedicto Ayque
Jun Gallano Jacis Macasinag
Nino Mondejar Marco Jose Kaiba
Emmanuel Duran Sundie Moran
Naning Moran Crispin Rabanera
Benetton Muni Crisanto Luar
Richard Ludovice Jason Moyano
Adrian Narvaez Louie Nasol
3,000 unlimited sessions for one month
200 per session for non-members
100 for group class every Sunday (stay a little longer after training and you can join their boodle fight!)
For more information, visit Lion’s Den MMA Bicol Top Team.
Daraga, Polangui, Camalig, Legazpi City
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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