While not as advertised perhaps as its national teams for basketball and soccer, the Philippines also has a formidable stable of athletes competing in the martial arts. Expected disciplines in which the country is represented include karate, judo, taekwondo, wushu. But there are also competitors for less generally known forms such as pencak silat and jiu-jitsu/jujutsu, the Japanese grappling system from which judo is derived. The older jiu-jitsu discipline adds to the familiar judo throwing and pinning techniques with joint locks and even strikes. So uncommonly heard is jiu-jitsu that the news of a Filipina winning the world championship for it made the national news.
CNN Philippines has it that the 2018 World Jujutsu Championship in Malmo, Sweden was dominated by the Philippines for the first time in its history of competition. This achievement was accomplished by Meggie Ochoa, 28 years old, who can be considered well prepared to throw down with the best in the world due to prior victories in other jiu-jitsu tournaments around the world this year; and evenly spaced so that she could rest and train before the next contest too.
In the final match of the Jujutsu World Championship, Ochoa, competing in the women’s senior 49-kilogram weight division, made history in that particular tournament when she bested Ni Ni Vicky Hoang of Canada, in a brief encounter that ended in a decisive 2-0 win for the Philippine contender. With that, Ochoa made a hat trick of accolades, being the first Asian to win the gold medal in the Jujutsu World Championship (ironic considering the origin of the martial art in question), the first from the Philippines, and definitely the first Filipina on top of that.
Meggie Ochoa was in peak condition going into the world championship of her martial art, thanks to two jujutsu tournaments prior. She first saw major action last March at the Jiu-jitsu World Tour in London, where she also won a gold medal. Come August, Ochoa was part of the Philippine contingent for the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. This time around she nabbed a bronze. For all these triumphs Ochoa was given accolades by the Ju-jitsu Federation of the Philippines, the country’s national sports association for jiu-jitsu representing 50 distinct clubs, and a regular member of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Image courtesy of Cosmo PH