Former teacher Geje Eustaquio chose his path to martial arts

ONE Championship on May 23, 2017 04:16 PM
Former teacher Geje Eustaquio chose his path to martial arts
ďI just did my best, and then, the opportunities came.Ē - Geje "Gravity" Eustaquio

By AJ Springer

 

ONE Championship flyweight Geje Eustaquio considers himself lucky, but even a cursory glance at his story reveals otherwise. The 28-year-old may have found himself at the right place at the right time, but his decision to seize the opportunities presented to him is anything but luck.

The man known as 'Gravity' accomplished two major goals on his life’s bucket list: earning a master’s degree, and becoming a professional martial artist.

Only one of those goals came with the comfort of familial support. While his parents actively encouraged Eustaquio to be all he could be in the classroom, they were initially against his martial arts dreams.

Raised in a peaceful mountain community in the Benguet province, the Filipino’s parents instilled the value of education on the Eustaquio children. In that household, a college degree was the ultimate goal. Anything that could possibly interfere with academic excellence took an immediate backseat.

Eustaquio’s two sisters embarked on the well-paved road, choosing career paths in nursing and engineering. “Gravity”, however, was intrigued by the prospects of physical competition. In spite of his parent’s early wishes, his rebellious spirit won out.

“At first, my parents did not want sports for me. In our region, our culture is simple. You go to school, you graduate with your degree, and you go find a job,” he explains.

“When I was in college, they did not want me to play sports because it was a distraction. They did not want me to do martial arts. But I am a hardheaded boy and I am stubborn. I proved to them that I could do a lot of things at the same time.”

The gateway to mixed martial arts was kickboxing. Eustaquio was captivated by the local fighters in his community, and simply wanted to be like them.

While attending Baguio City National High School, a 14-year-old Eustaquio found a local kickboxing gym to train in. “Gravity” found himself dreaming big, and those big dreams were met with hard work in the gym.

He was then selected for the Junior National Team, and by the time high school graduation came in 2005, he had earned a wushu scholarship and was off to the University Of The Cordilleras.

“I just did my best,” he states. “And then, the opportunities came.”

Eustaquio fulfilled his parents’ dream in 2009, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Education. He taught in a school for a year, but found the confines of the classroom stifling.

“My world became so small. My job took all of my time. They get you from 7:30 in the morning to 5:30 in the afternoon, then you have homework and paperwork. I was like, ‘No, I am too young for this profession.’” 

After his old wushu coach and Team Lakay mastermind Mark Sangiao heard a regional promotion in the Philippines needed competitors to fill out one of their cards, he convinced “Gravity” to test his luck in mixed martial arts. In February 2011, Eustaquio took the challenge, competed, and tapped out his opponents via strikes in the first round.

Ever since that fateful night, it has been all about mixed martial arts for Eustaquio.

On Friday, 26 May, Eustaquio drops back down to flyweight, and re-matches Anatpong “Mak” Bunrad – who prevailed via split decision at their last meeting – at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, as part of the main card of ONE: DYNASTY OF HEROES. This time around, his parents will be cheering him on.

“I have their full support. They are telling me to train harder and prepare more,” he says. “They tell me if you want to be a champion, then you need to work harder.”

He may be a little lucky, but Eustaquio is all about working hard. After all, hard work has, and continues, to pay off for him.

 

Catch ONE Championship: Dynasty of Heroes on Friday, May 26th, LIVE at 8:30 PM on S+A channel 23!
 

This article was first published in the ONE CHAMPIONSHIP Website. Photos courtesy of ONE Championship. 

 

The statements, comments, or opinions in this article are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views of ABS-CBN. 

 

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