ART IN MOTION
TAEKWONDO Poomsae is “the Korean Martial Art style of conduct which expresses directly or indirectly mental and physical refinements as well as the principles of offense and defense resulting from cultivation of Taekwondo spirit and techniques”. Poomsae is now a UAAP and NCAA sport that fuses both art and skill on the mat, literally translated as ‘forms’ which translates to poomsae being more of a performance.
As Angelica Gaw, (currently one of De La Salle’s best and brightest on the mat) would put it as “the combination of philosophies and basic movements like defense and offense in which participants present a series or combination of kicks, punches, blocks, strikes, or any other forms of offense and defense movements in the form of an art.”
Such a sport needs dedication and commitment; some traits best exemplified by the women of the current De La Salle University and College of Saint Benilde’s Poomsae Teams. As two time defending champions, these ladies are the living definition of discipline, hard work, and perseverance. Having different backgrounds, Angelica Gaw, Paulene Bautista, Rinna Babanto, Julien Andal, Iana Chua, and Cathy Rodriguez, have come together on the mat to share their experience coming into this sport.
Being a student athlete isn’t an easy life and these ladies can attest to it. Just like Kyorugi, the more popular form of Taekwondo which involved sparring, Poomsae takes a whole deal of commitment and passion for your sport to be where they are right now. It takes the same deal of discipline they show on the mat to keep up with their academics as they manage their life inside their schools.
“Sometimes I have to sacrifice my time with friends so that I could rest and prepare for training the next morning. In addition to that, I constantly remind myself about what I want to achieve both in academics and sport so I can keep my focus and discipline.” Cathy Rodriguez, a product of Paref Woodrose School, shared when asked about how she balances it all.
Besides this, their training regimen is no
joke either. Paulene Bautista shared that they had to do a minimum of 500 squats followed by 10 reps of knuckle push-ups during every training. “It’s kind of a routine to us actually. But seriously, conditioning our mind and body is the most essential part in playing taekwondo-poomsae.” They train four times a week then every day for two months coming into competitions with as a team with their national and international multi-titled Poomsae player and coach, Jean Pierre Sabido.
One of the hardships, these ladies had to face was arranging their rigorous training schedule with their conflicting personal and school life. Rinna Babanto, the 3rd year AB-SPM student and the DLSU Taekwondo Poomsae team captain, shared how hard it was for her and her team when it came to the hours they had to spend training on the mat. “We do need to adjust since we have different schedules in and out of classes and trainings.” She also recounted how they almost couldn’t compete in the UAAP due to “lack of members” as they needed at least 6 players to eligible in the coming season. “Since there were just 5 of us left in the team, one of the biggest challenges we faced was the lack of players.”
Never the less though, these ladies persevered and worked through their hardships as team. Even though they come from two different schools, the ladies of the Poomsae Team come together as one unit and support one another throughout their experience. Like a second family, these women train together, bond together, and are there for each other both on and off the mat. “We support each other during matches by being there for them when they compete and also cheering their name and schools name together for we are a team.” Sophomore student Iana Chua stated when asked how they supported one another during competitions.
Coming into the upcoming season, the CSB Poomsae team have big shoes to fill going in as two-peat champions. never the less, these ladies are not afraid to rise to the challenge as they continue to push themselves and go beyond their limits.
Their expectations are set as they aim to defend their title and become better as
both individuals and as a team on the mat. When asked, CSB HRM student Julien Andal shared her sentiment on the matter, stating that, “we expect to be better in the upcoming seasons and to maintain our women’s team 2-peat championship and improve our men’s team performance”
Taekwondo Poomsae requires both dedication and discipline; a balance of both mind and body, poomsae requires both mental fortitude and peak physical condition in order to achieve the successes these women have accomplished. It is a commitment and a passion where some have entered not knowing what to expect.
CSB Architecture senior student Paulene did not expect to be in poomsae but thought she would continue sparring. “But then, I’ve realized I love forms and techniques so I started training in poomsae. It’s a decision I’ve never regretted.” While Rinna entered this sport wanting to simply learn how to defend herself but found her other passion, art, in the forms in poomsae, “Since I love arts, I also found it in poomsae where it shows a different kind of selfdefense; the art of breaking boards and also the forms that needs to be executed with style and meditation compared to the sparring which is all physical contact and earning points.”
Regardless of pomp or circumstance, these ladies have found both a passion and a family in Taekwondo Poomsae and are geared up to take the competition by storm.