TACLOBAN CITY- Roderick Yape first tried taekwondo back in his high school years in 1995 and eventually got hooked on it.Then, he married his co-taekwondo player in college and have two children who are now national taekwondo winners.
“I feel happy because we have the same interest so we always go together in every taekwondo activities,” says Yape who is currently teaching at the Kananga National High School in Kananga, Leyte.
“I’m passionate about martial art since I was a kid. Before I tried taekwondo, I was also trained in alamid, sikaran, and suntok sikad,” says Yape while thanking his taekwondo trainer Jed Lerios of the Leyte Normal University (LNU), this city.
Alamid (bob cat), sikaran (kick), and suntok (punch) are elements of Philippine martial arts.
After he got trained in taekwondo, Yape also started teaching the sport to others in 2002.
“I’ve been teaching taekwondo for 16 years. I’m Third Dan Black Belt in taekwondo,” adds Yape who is set to be promoted to Fourth Dan Black Belt (master) this year.
In Korean martial arts, the Ninth Dan (Black Belt Degree) or grand master is considered the highest degree of certification normally given or achieved by a living person in a taekwondo system, while the 10th Dan Black Belt is an honorary or is given posthumously to a 9th Dan Black Belt holder who spends a life-long dedication to the art of taekwondo.
At 38, this talented yet unassuming martial artist is also a licensed national referee, national instructor, and member of the board of the Eastern Visayas regional management committee on taekwondo.
His wife, Joyce Ann, 39, is also a teacher and a Second Dan Black Belt licensed national referee and national instructor.
The two first met at LNU and were always together in training and sports competitions.
Their 15-year-old daughter, Stella Nicole, is now a Second Dan Black Belt and member of the national taekwondo team training pool, while their 13-year-old son, Jeus Gabriel Derick, is First Dan Black Belt in taekwondo.
“But I see to it that my children do not skip classes so they excel also in academics,” Yape says.
“Parents should encourage their children to join sports and support them all the way. Being into sports is not enough, the support of the parents is crucial for them to develop in their own fields. Children also learn values and virtues in sports like humility, respect, courage, sportsmanship, diligence, and perseverance,” he adds.
Unlike others, the Yape family normally spends their weekend together for taekwondo training schedules.
“We almost have no rest time because even Saturdays are used for training. And we can’t go home after work immediately because we have training schedules,” says the taekwondo parent.
Yet this also paid off as Yape’s children continue to harvest medals during sports competitions from school, division, regional and national levels–like in the prestigious 2018 Carlos Palanca Jr. National Taekwondo Championships and in the Palarong Pambansa, the country’s top annual multi-sport event participated by student-athletes across 17 regions.
In this year’s Palarong Pambansa held in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Yape’s children won the silver medal in mix pair as rank two out of 17 performers and got a rank three for bronze in individual poomsae (taekwondo’s defined pattern of attack-defense motions) category out of 17 performers.
Yape says they are “lucky enough” to win during the event, noting that most of the competing players are members of the Philippine taekwondo team.
“We’re very happy because this is the first time that we won as a pair, as siblings. We’re also proud of our medals because the officials in our town in Kananga are very supportive to us,” says Stella Nicole, who likes to be a doctor or accountant someday.
“We’re happy because our training has paid off. Above all, we’ve made papa and mama very happy,” adds Jeus Gabriel Derick, whose dream is to become an engineer.
Yape hopes to compete in Korea this July and in other national competitions in preparation for the next Eastern Visayas Regional Athletic Association (EVRAA) meet in Ormoc City and Palaro Pambansa in Davao City.
He also expressed his gratitude to the local government of Kananga thru Mayor Rowena Codilla and her husband-Vice Mayor Elmer Codilla, along with their school officer-in-charge Dalisay Pellero, retired school principal Catalino Sabanal Jr., and education officials in Leyte division, for their “untiring” support during their competition.
As summer vacation still lingers on, the Yape family, just like others, is also having fun, kicking together to promote taekwondo sport through summer clinic at their school in Kananga.