Category Archives: Taekwondo

Black Belt

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Rg,MM and Me with Shin Nosuke Suzuki

I remember being the butt of jokes because of my height. I am barely five feet. Since I can’t do much about my God given measurement, I might as well become strong and improve my asset-my strength. Height is might but being small also has benefits. When my brother forgot his ID and wasn’t allowed to enter the school, I simply crawled under the gate and gave mine. He was allowed to enter; while I simply crawled back inside-unnoticed.

When High School was ending, I figured how to improve my lot.  Everyone else towered above me. Feeling a sense of insecurity, I joined TaeKwonDo. Back to the time when Bruce Lee was popular even twenty years after his untimely death, I was finally “in”.

I chose Taekwondo because it is very fancy and resembled Bruce’s Kung fu.  Further, you rarely find an authentic Chinese Martial Arts School unless you live in Chinatown.

During my white belt days, I stood out not because of my form but because I kicked hard. I was very fortunate to train under the Olympian Bronze Medalist, Stephen Fernandez.

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Back to the Basic Side Kick

When I finally gained my black belt, I felt invincible, and yes, TALLER.  You see, I am so fortunate to be born in a family where martial arts was much revered and required. Considering that I am now a black belter, I occupied the front row, closer to the Master.

When I entered law school, butt and head kicking days had to be archived, in the meantime.  The days that followed were thought provoking and more sedentary. I gained legal knowledge and POUNDS.  I remember the laws, but completely forgot my TKD forms. I even lost half of my sense of humor.

Twenty three years after I became a black belter, I came back (Well, I had to find a bigger dobok[1]  and run around the oval for two weeks straight to  shed unwanted fats earned during law school).   At the TKD Central Gym, the children were taller and faster. How does a forty year old lawyer spar with teenagers who have longer legs and at the prime of their youth?  Simple. Being small, I get closer and kick higher so their legs would not hit my little frame. After a week’s training, the coach lauded my old school moves.[2] You see, being a black belt does not mean it’s the ultimate level, there are several degrees/dans to reach. In order to be promoted to a higher degree, you have to break more boards and spar with several black belters as well. This is a very formidable task because age and height are never considered during promotion.

This is not just about me. It’s all about my sons too. You see, they recently became black belts too. Two years of hard training finally paid off.  The happy part is we three get to occupy the front row.

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Coach Ric giving instructions.

When asked if something inside them changed, my eldest replied, Mom, I think I will become more popular. Let’s see.

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RG, Shinosuke Suzuki and Miguel with Coach Ric Canlas taken on June 28,2016.
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Miguel, Shinosuke and Ruben wid Coach Ric, taken in June 2014.

[1] Dobok means Tae Kwon Do uniform.

[2] Old school meaning fancier more Bruce Lee like kicks which include turning head kicks.

The Importance Of Taekwondo By RG Guinolbay


Silver Medalist, 2015 Inter-chapter competition held at Gotamco Elementary School Pasay
Me as a Silver Medalist in the Kyorugi Sparring  Competition during the 2015 Inter-chapter competition held at Gotamco Elementary School Pasay


Intro:I know that some of you don’t do Taekwondo. I know that some of you do not even know what it is. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which dates back to Silla Dynasty in Korea. Taekwondo,when translated in  English, means “The way of the foot and the fist.”

There are a lot of reasons why Taekwondo is important. Firstly, it teaches discipline.Next,it can make your body and mind stronger and healthier. Further, you get to be with famous celebrities.  Here are some of my pictures  with famous Taekwondo people:

This is my teammate Manuel Mesina. He is my favorite sparring mate.
The author, RG Guinolbay, at the left with Manuel Mesina 2015 Milo poster boy and Miguel Guinolbay
The author, RG Guinolbay, at the left with 2015 Milo poster boy Manuel Mesina (at the center) and Miguel Guinolbay.
This is me with 6th Dan Blackbelt Monsour de Rosario, taken during my Birthday.
This is me with 6th Dan Blackbelt Monsour del Rosario,  and my brother MM Guinolbay, taken during my Birthday.
 RG Guinolbay with JApoy Lizardo, also Milo boy
RG Guinolbay with Japoy Lizardo, also a Milo boy. This picture was taken during my birthday in 2014.

Another importance of Taekwondo is that you get to make new friends, learn techniques from them. But the most important of all, is that you get to be with your family.

This is a picture of my Mom and MM my brother, taken in August 2015 when I won two bronze medals 
My Family inlcuding Tito Ramon and cousin Monique
My Family including Tito Ramon (wearing black) and cousin Monique. Tito Ramon recently won a silver medal during the 2015 National Taekwondo Poomse Competition.

The Indomitable Spirit of RG and MM Guinolbay


At age 4, my first born Ruben Guinolbay II (RG) was very hyperactive and exceptionally articulate. His pre-school teachers suggested that I consult a developmental pediatrician to find out if he has a medical condition.  Heeding the advice of the teachers, I decided to consult a dev-ped who informed me that there was nothing wrong with RG.  However, the doctor noticed that RG, like me, was hyperactive. The doctor claimed that considering RG’s age, he might eventually outgrow his hyperactivity .

In February 2011, my younger son, Mariano Miguel Guinolbay (MM) was rushed to the hospital for a surprisingly high blood pressure of 160/100.   He was very overweight and half of his face appeared disfigured. Upon the suggestion of the pediatrician who noticed MM’s irregular behavioral patterns, I visited Dr. Agnes Falcotelo who diagnosed MM with mild autism and RG with Asperger’s Syndrome, also within the Autism Spectrum.

This is Miguel with his Daddy taken on December 25 2011. MM  was years old.
This is RG when he was four years old.
MM and RG at the gate
RG and MM in August 2010. This picture was taken at their Grand parents’ house in Marikina.

I was devastated. I could only say that my world seemed bleak and hopeless at that time.

As commonly experienced by mothers with young and rowdy children like mine, yayas come and go. The yayas simply cannot stand the hyperactivity and violent tendencies of my boys. Instead of expressing their emotions with words, RG and MM would simply tug at the maids’ arms or bite them. This is in addition to the behavioral problems they exhibit in school. I was often summoned to the Principal’s office because the boys were either bullied or did the bullying themselves. It bears stressing that one of the prominent traits of children with autism is the inability to socialize and lack of seeking to share enjoyment, interests and activities with other people.

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This is our beloved Coach, Ric Canlas. This picture was taken sometime in June 2014 at the Central Gym. With Coach Ric are MM, Shin Nosuke Suzuki and RG.

On  01 April 2014, I decided to  drop by the Tae Kwon Do Central Gym to  reminisce my Taekwondo days when life was a lot happier, simpler and without autism issues to deal with. I brought RG and MM to see if they would like to try the martial art. Having been diagnosed as hyperactive myself in 1980s, it did not come as a surprise that my boys will eventually  inherit my personality traits including my love for Taekwondo. It turns out that my children instantly loved Taekwondo and surprisingly excelled in it. Missing the sport, I decided to enroll too. The environment in Central Gym is very relaxing and conducive to friendships destined to last a lifetime. Our beloved coach, Ric Canlas (who happens to be a mechanical engineer by profession) is not only  committed to developing young and talented athletes, he is very good also in motivating his students including children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Autism.

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Miguel won a bronze medal in the nationwide Taekwondo competition held on 09 May 2015 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
My son, RG Guinolbay, recently won two bronze medals at the 2015 Makati Taguig Pasay Schools Division at Don Bosco Makati
My son, RG Guinolbay, recently won two bronze medals at the 2015 Makati Taguig Pasay Schools Division at Don Bosco Makati
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Author with Shin Nosuke Suzuki, RG and MM

I would say that Coach Ric is exceptional in instilling the basic Tae Kwon Do tenets particularly Self-Confidence, Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit in my children. Immediately two months after RG and MM enrolled in Taekwondo, the summons from the Principal’s Office disappeared and both boys became more sociable and more confident in dealing with people. I noticed too that my children became happier and less violent. The grades improved and became more stable.  Because excessive energy are spent every practice, RG and MM are able to sit down and focus more on their academic lessons. Their weight likewise became ideal and more stable. Mm’s blood pressure does not shoot up anymore. He dropped several pounds.  Further, I am happy to say that returning to my old passion changed my outlook in life. I became healthier and more positive in my work. Each Taekwondo session is an instant family bonding opportunity for the three of us. My sons not only gained their self-confidence, they gained a lot of friends and happy memories at the Taekwondo Central Gym as well.

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The Author with RG and MM Guinolbay. At the extreme left is Grand Master Hong’s grand son, Lucas Garcia. This picture was taken last 17 July 2015 at the Central Gym.

In closing, I highly recommend Taekwondo not only to families with children medically diagnosed with autism and/or ADHD or to families who just want to have a nice family bonding time.  To quote the words of Chungwon Choue, President of the World TaeKwondo Federation during the Opening Ceremony of the third World Para-Taekwondo Championships. ” The hope that Tae Kwon Do brings is limitless. It knows no boundaries and is hampered by no disability.”