Clad in his body armor, he prepares for battle, a battle where he wields a flexible weapon, a padded stick.
John Kenneth Pameroyan, 23, a resident of Aureliana, Patnongon, Antique who takes up Bachelor of Science in Criminology at University of Antique (UA), is one of the few who considers arnis close to his heart.
Arnis, also called Kali or Eskrima, is a term for the deadly traditional martial arts of the Philippines.
Traces of historical evidence reveal that this manly art of self defense involves the use of both barehands and weaponary arts.
To other people, this sport is often stereotyped as a weird, loud and an exaggerated way of combatting.
Yet, there are few who understands the essence of arnis, which imposes different arts (theater, dance, etc.)
Ever since, John dreamt to be a student athlete (in arnis) and be able to compete in national competitions in order for him to apply and share his learnings to the athletes of Antique.
Recently, he came back to the Regional SCUAA, but not as a student athlete – now, as a student trainer for UA.
He started to discover his capabilities in arnis way back in 2011 in his junior year in highschool. Since he was little, he was a victim of bullying and that triggered his interest to join the arnis training.
With that foundation, being able to learn the basics of the sport, he continued to join in various competitions such as in Dinagyang, Sibalom (Yaminganay) and Capiz in order for him to improve his craft.
“Nagsakit buot ko kato kang naghmbal si tatay nga di lang ko kuno anay mag intra kay pierde man kuno pirme. pero kay gusto ko lang tana daad mag improve kaugalingon ko, amo to hambal ko, Sige lang tay, di ka lang maggastos kanakon, ako bahala sa kaugalingon ko. Kay kung gusto mo ang sangka bagay,kung gusto mo lab uton, lab uton kag malab-ot mo gid ri-a,” John narrated.
Despite the struggles he encountered during his journey as an arnis player before, he eventually learned something – to be more disciplined, to be respectful and able to teach these values to his student athletes as well as how to balance their schooling and other activities such as sports.