BAGUIO CITY — Team Lakay’s legacy continues to unfold as they embark on an ambitious journey to seek and sculpt the next generation of world-class fighters.
Since March this year, the ‘Future Champion Kids Training’ program, one of the project of Cong. Eric Go Yap who acts as team manager and head coach Mark Sangiao, has attracted 15 aspiring kids age nine- to 12–year–old eager to embrace the world of mixed martial arts.
With an emphasis on MMA, boxing, and an array of martial arts skills, these youngsters have committed themselves to a daily rigorous training regimen for free, aiming to become the future champions of the sport.
“What makes this initiative stand out is the unique foundation upon which it’s built. Every enrolled child, without prior knowledge or experience in martial arts, enters the program on an equal footing, creating a level playing field for all. This approach underscores Team Lakay’s belief in raw talent and untapped potential waiting to be harnessed,” said Mr. Sangiao.
The young protégés, ranging in age and backgrounds, are immersed in a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses various disciplines, including striking, grappling, and conditioning. Under the guidance of Team Lakay’s seasoned coaches, these kids have been steadily honing their skills, inching closer to their dreams of becoming elite fighters.
A key element of the training is the monthly assessments, a pivotal tool used to gauge the progress and growth of these budding athletes. Through these evaluations, trainers are able to track the development of each child, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and areas that require more attention.
“The commitment and dedication shown by these young talents are truly inspiring. They come in with open minds and a hunger to learn,” added Sangiao. “We are here not just to build fighters but also to instill discipline, respect, and resilience in these kids. These qualities are as important as the physical skills they acquire.”
The program’s goal goes beyond creating champions inside the ring. It aspires to shape well-rounded individuals who embody the values of sportsmanship and perseverance and not just about raising winners but also nurturing character and leadership.
Mr. Sangiao added everyday, these kids are not just learning the techniques but also imbibing the ethos of martial arts — the values of discipline, respect, and determination. They are being sculpted not only as athletes but as role models for the future generation.
“By investing in the grassroots, they are sowing the seeds for a future crop of world-class athletes who might one day carry the torch and bring glory to their nation,” Mr. Sangiao quipped.
Mr. Sangiao said as the months roll on, the program’s success is not merely measured by wins in the ring but by the transformation these kids undergo, the camaraderie they build, and the indomitable spirit they cultivate and the journey towards becoming a champion is not solely about the destination but the evolution of the individual along the way. — Artemio A. Dumlao