SHAD DE GUZMAN
- FIST Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)
Veteran martial artist and freestyle fighter who hailed from Tiger City, Manila. Responsible for co-pioneering Professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in the Philippines. A basic graphic artist, website developer, and trainer at Elorde Sports Center. Interests: Christianity, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Vale Tudo, Combatives, Stick & Knife Fighting, Strength & Conditioning, Sports Injuries, Forensic Science, Human Anatomy, Psychology, Biology, Entomology, Paleontology, Computers, Movies, Music, Video Editing, Website Developing, Fishing, Photography, Journalism, Survival, Weaponry, Welding, Choppers, and Pizza!
Martial Arts Influence
I basically grew up from the mid '80s, from a not so normal childhood. (grins) But besides Bruce Lee being my major influence in martial arts, along with many other personalities, TMNT, Dragon Ball-Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, Tekken, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and a lot of Japanese Sentai were also to blame. (laughs) I was known as "Ninja" back in high school where I used to perform martial arts. My most memorable demo was during our HS Intramurals Awarding Ceremony at the gym.
But seriously, growing up admiring people around me also became my downfall, since I aspire and admire their good traits as martial artists, their bad habits in life also made an influence on me as well. Now, I'm the type of person who is more self-aware with my own identity. A true martial artist is not just because you are a very good fighter, but you should also be a good person as a whole. So my advice to rookies is that never use the flaws of your icons as an excuse to emulate them or to always follow the path they take. You always have a choice, so you get to decide which is right or wrong, because you are the man of your own identity. Do not get confused, because it's plain and simple ... God made us all unique.
As a kid, I fought a few times on the street, (laughs) but they were all childish brawls due to stupid reasons. I've done a lot of stupid things growing up, but I'm not an evil person. As a teenager, I fought many times in the amateur level and won many bouts in a row, fighting was my main outlet and coping method for my personal issues in life, and although I've won many times, I eventually lost due to lack of interest and proper training. The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) through the Philippine Full-Contact & Self-Defense Federation (PFCSDF) Inc. under Grandmaster Jonathan "June" Makiling Abaya sanctioned us, and I was National Champion for two (2) consecutive years under the Bantamweight Category. I once dreamt of fighting professional, but I guess it was never meant to be, as my license being a Professional MMA Matchmaker during my younger years hindered me from doing so, I guess it wasn't my purpose, so I kept fighting in the amateur level. Now, I just teach basic MMA and give guidance to my students, so that they don't make the same mistakes I've made and avoid the consequences. My only regret is that I should have focused more on my "spiritual" being, rather than just focusing on my "intellectual" and "physical" aspects.
Ranks & Titles
As a young enthusiast practicing traditional martial arts, I've honestly asked myself plenty of times if I really deserved the ranks & titles that I've acquired over the past years, which I was really honored and grateful. We've adapted the belt system back then in FIST, because as a school club, I wanted us to have a type of curriculum to systemize our organization. We were a Kung Fu/Kickboxing Club back then. But eventually, we've reformatted to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) during the early 2000s.
Having been inducted in an International Martial Arts Hall of Fame would seem to be enough, but I felt it's just a stage of hierarchy of my needs towards self-actualization, and I truly believe in myself that I'm not deserving. I know my own flaws and weaknesses, and I'd rather get promoted the right way through hard work and perseverance. I'm not an anti-social, but to be accepted by society is really not that significant for me. What is society? A set of values, a set of rules, regulations, and traditions, is it not? Who has the right to set the norm? Even religion, law, and order are overrated, and we are all in need of help, but there is no greater help than self-help through our Lord Jesus Christ, so everything begins within ourselves, but we must never rely on ourselves firsthand, for God's will is much greater than ours.
During my early years in traditional martial arts, my sister showed me a video of the early UFCs, I was so fascinated by it, but my loyalty before was with my previous art that is Jendo that was somewhat like Jeet Kune Do since I admire Bruce Lee growing up as a kid. We didn't have any sticks back then to be recognized as a Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), but we did however cross-trained with other arts and integrated it with our own. Most of the training was from Wushu. I then realized eventually way before the MMA documentaries that what Bruce Lee did back then was actually Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) in its infancy stage. He spread his philosophies about martial arts throughout his movies; if you watch his final fight with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the movie "Game of Death," and also his match with Sammo Hung in the movie "Enter the Dragon," you'll see what I mean.
In my journey, I also met Team Hammer House in USA, along with the local community who influenced me more in the sport of MMA. I'm really grateful with my roots and all, but we all someday have to learn how to stand on our own with self-respect to find the answers for ourselves and become self-reliant ... to grow our own roots. This is what I teach my students, for them to accept what is useful to further develop themselves and become more independent ... but with respect for oneself and others.
I fought once in a URCC Qualifier, but I got my ass kicked by Dare Malecdan of Wushu due to lack of conditioning and skills. Prior to the URCC Qualifier, I attended a Jiu-Jitsu Seminar at Quezon City that was conducted by Master John Ouano on the exact same date, and then I headed out to the URCC Qualifier at Makati City. The rational person would have not done what I did, but I gave my word on both camps, I just didn't expect that both events were going to be held on the same date. Besides the rain and long drive, I was already feeling stressed and fatigued before the fight. I don't like giving excuses, but I guess it is what it is. During URCC-02 "Night of Champions," I was supposed to fight Raffy Garcia of DEFTAC, but I had medical issues, or because I just have very poor cardio, hence, I forfeited regretting that I could have fought either way. So for that fight, and even if the fight didn't happen, I accept my defeat for I have already lost. Lesson learned, and life goes on.
I guess all things in life really does happen for a reason, I was first appointed as a Pro-MMA Referee during URCC-03 "Siege at the Fort." One memorable experience that I have as a Pro-MMA Referee was the match between Glenn "The Slam Man" Sumanoy and Manuel "Cobra" Silvano, where Cobra got caught in an arm bar submission and told me "Kaya pa, kaya pa," that he was still capable of enduring the arm bar and didn't want me to stop the fight, I should have stopped the fight regardless if he complained afterwards, because in a split second his arm hyperextended, but Cobra was well-taken cared of afterwards. I've also officiated Mark Sangiao's MMA debut fight in URCC, where later on I gave him the moniker "The Machine," and he fought Arnel "The Annihilator" Arancina whom I can say is the most underrated local Pro-MMA fighter up-to-date. Arnel arrived in Manila alongside with Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquaio, and is the type of fighter who is always prepared even in a very short notice. I last matched Arnel Arancina last URCC-X and won against Andrew Benibe whom I drafted from the MMA Reality Show "Real Pinoy Fighter (RPF)." Going back eventually after URCC-03 "Siege at the Fort," I received a personal phone call from Mr. Alvin Aguilar asking me if I could take charge as the next Matchmaker for the URCC. I honorably accepted the position and prepared myself for the huge responsibility that lies ahead of me. But I honestly didn't expect on how MMA was in its infancy stage here in the Philippines, so basically, I helped out with URCC's policies and came up with systems like a Roster System, Title System, Judging System, Payment System, and Superfight to further improve URCC.
Back then, you've no idea the things we all went through on every event, the promoters, the production, and especially the fighters, it's no joke or laughing matter, because the blood, sweat, and tears are for real. All of our effort has never been about self-interest, because it was always about teamwork down to the last working staff. Each and everyone have a vital role. We were like army ants promoting local martial artists and MMA. The URCC and Alvin Aguilar have opened a lot of doors and opportunities for all of us, and we are all really grateful. We were all pioneers. Years ago, I was also the one who suggested that there's no longer a need for Ring Control Officials to reset the fighters in the middle to avoid falling off the ring, and we've also adapted the "Yellow-Red Card System" from Pride FC that was suggested by Mr. Fritz Rodriguez. The URCC development progress was gradual, but nonetheless improving and successful, and mainly it was because of the teamwork and collaboration. The Superfight match was also my idea and my last contribution to URCC when I resigned as Matchmaker after URCC-X. It began with Caloy "Bad Boy" Baduria vs. Frank "The Crank" Camacho last URCC-XI "Redemption" under my successor as URCC Matchmaker Mr. Carlo Canta, and I think it was because they were having difficulty to match-up the two, so I suggested the Superfight idea when Alvin & Carlo contacted me. I've adapted the original Superfight idea from the early UFCs, and it's traditionally called a "Catch Weight." Also, I did some local & international interviews for MMA and maintained URCC's website. Now and then, I always have a mindset that in everything that I do ... well done is always better than well said.
Resignation & Retirement
I had to finish my remaining years in college taking up Psychology, so that my daughter would learn on how important education really is. My wife is a Nursing Graduate and became a Clinical Instructor. Besides my parents, another person who made me realize on how important to finish education was my Godfather and former Games & Amusements Board (GAB) Boxing Division Chief, Mr. Emmanuel Flores. Prior to my resignation, I trained my successor before I left URCC that we all worked so hard for, and that I'm really privileged to have worked with the people behind it. My family is both my strength and weakness, and I owe a lot to my wife, daughter, relatives, and friends ... especially to our Almighty God.
I used to believe in Karma, Luck, and Astrology or whatnot because of false beliefs, but when God came in to my life when I needed Him most, everything made sense again, and I was cleansed. Let us not forget that He is a jealous God, and that no man can serve two masters. I've read somewhere that Karma is just about "Cause and Effect." That if you do good things, then good things will happen to you, and if you do bad things, then bad things will happen to you. It is somewhat similar with what you reap is what you sow, but it's totally different because Karma requires "Reincarnation," whereas in Christianity it doesn't. Christianity teaches that we all have done bad things, and we all deserve punishment. We cannot atone for our misdeeds by trying to do good deeds. Salvation and eternal life (The Reward) is only found through our Lord Jesus Christ. No person is more or less deserving of the reward. Christianity believes in "Grace," not "Karma." They are two (2) completely contradictory ideas, and you cannot logically believe in both. Karma says you get the reward or punishment that you deserve, but in Grace, you get the reward even if you deserve the punishment. So, stop relying on luck and false beliefs, because only through our Lord Jesus Christ you are saved, but faith without works ... is dead.
Currently, everyday for me is a struggle, especially on my spiritual being. I mean we all have sinned, and nobody can claim perfection, and he who does not turn away from sin is destined for damnation, but he who sins then repents even if he falls down many times and keeps moving forward is destined for revelation. The analogy would be that sinners who chooses sin as a way of life are like people who chooses to drown from sin and shall die, but those people that are drowning from sin and chooses to struggle and swim for air (Jesus Christ) shall live. Before your time comes, ask yourself ... have you made your peace with God? When was the last time you talked to Him? Many of us have resentments on a lot of things, and often we take things for granted, never thankful for the blessings that we have, and sometimes our foolish pride hinders us from forgiveness. We're so angry at the world and ourselves that we find contentment from blaming others and not looking on our own flaws. We should all stop justifying our sins and ask for forgiveness from God. It's not too late, because He forgives, He accepts ... He saves.
Past, Present, & Future
Although the past was a real struggle, being treated like dirt by people almost your age, knowing you can't do anything about it but just bare and grin. Then it was followed by family deaths in a year. But that's life and we all have to move on and keep moving forward, because death is not to be feared, but only an unlived life without God. The only thing I don't regret up to this day during my hiatus is that I got to spend a lot of time with my family and myself. Faced my own demons and comprehended my purpose on who and what I am ... to uphold my responsibilities in life. I also got the chance to focus on my other passions as well which are motorcycles. So the BS that came along with it was worth it. What I've noticed back then was that to others ... martial arts is just a fad, a way to get accepted in a social group, but to us ... martial arts is a way of life.
Someday, I dream of having my own Non-Professional MMA event, nothing big, I just want to keep promoting local MMA and perhaps to earn some income as well besides teaching basic MMA, website developing, and video editing. But whatever plan God has for me, I shall follow. Personally, the sacrifices I've made, people inside and outside this industry know my capabilities and how I work, and because of that, there are also a lot of disadvantages, but I'm not blaming other people for my own mistakes. All I'm saying is ... I'm asking for forgiveness to everyone I've hurt along the way. We all should realize that if we all still keep pulling each other down, then none of us would really be on top.
Keep moving forward and God speed! Value your real friends and set your priorities in life straight, never sell your soul for fame and fortune, and always give respect to your roots. Well done is always better than well said. To win without honor is defeat, but to lose with dignity is still victory, and that the only true reward is not the validation of others ... but self-respect.
To God be the glory!