Meet USTís JM Ramos: fun-loving taekwondo heartthrob
Barry Viloria on Feb 01, 2016 04:45 PM
"Well, I donít want to call myself as the new Japoy Lizardo or anything. But I think I'm on the right path. I still have a long way to go. Marami pa akong kakaining bigas." (Photo by Vyn Radovan)
For his good looks alone, UST men’s taekwondo star jin Juan Miguel “JM” Ramos might as well pass up as the next Japoy Lizardo—complete with some awards to adorn his black belt. Fittingly enough, Lizardo, who was the country’s dark force in the sport at the SEA Games and Asian Championships some years ago, is one of Ramos’ inspirations to have kept himself at it over time.
“When I was growing to love the sport, my local idols were Japoy and Tshomlee Go,” Ramos, 19, says. “Some notable international players (I idolized) were Lee Dae-hoon from Korea and Servet Tazegül from Turkey.”
But he counters, “Well, I don’t want to call myself as the new ‘Japoy’ or anything. But I think I'm on the right path. I still have a long way to go. Marami pa akong kakaining bigas.”
The Tiger cub
Ramos is one of UST’s most prized jins for around six years now. He started getting into taekwondo at five years old as a way to divert the energy he’d usually spend on watching TV or playing computer “all day long.” It was one summer when his mom had enrolled him in swimming and taekwondo classes; he focused on the latter sport, and that was the beginning of it.
Ramos’ apparent potential caught UST’s eyes, with the school recruiting him into the high school varsity team. He then got to play for the UAAP Juniors, “giving me the chance to see taekwondo in a larger scale.” (Besides, this also opened the doors for him into the national team then. For this, he has gone to a few competitions held in Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Myanmar.) In his senior year high school, he went for a grand slam as gold medalist, MVP, and Athlete of the Year all for Season 75.
The same success seems to be etching Ramos’ UAAP tale now that he’s in college. He was awarded Rookie of the Year in Season 76 and won a gold in the recent season.
“Although, I'm no longer a national team member because of my (studies),” he mentions with a giggle, pointing out that his collegiate career plus his 22 units at school are all adding on weight. “It’s really hard to balance and juggle being a student taking up CE and, at the same time, an athlete! My parents also told me to concentrate with my studies na lang.”
The (big) cat’s nine lives
Because of his sport, Ramos faces a busy day-to-day schedule. When it’s not the season, he is pumping up for the Carlos Palanca Jr. Taekwondo Championships. He, meanwhile, trains twice a day on a “hell-ish” note when the UAAP season is ongoing.
He is shy with his confession, “It’s getting harder and harder now that I am a third year student and I am starting to take my major subjects. Despite the pressure and demanding my course is, I see to it that I'm still doing good with my studies.”
“I’m an average student.”
But who says Ramos’ is a bore? Props to this young man who still finds time to watch crime-related shows like How To Get Away With Murder, The Blacklist, MythBusters, and “anything that sparks my curiosity, even history or science.” Yes, Ramos also considers “cooking with my mom and watching some cooking shows on TLC” as his other pastimes.
Ramos especially keeps a partyphile bone in him, as he likes to run to The Fort in Taguig for a night-out with some friends during the off-season. Although, he adds, “Having fun does not always equate to partying. I also enjoy doing road trips with my friends, chilling and eating somewhere with my family or friends, or just plain listening to classical and jazz music.”
We figure that Ramos seems to be that person who has a lot of goings-on on his plate—until he interrupts us yet again.
“My ultimate dream in the UAAP is to be awarded the Athlete of the Year before I graduate—not just for me, but for my family, for the prestige and legacy of my school, and most of all for God,” he says.
“After graduating, I’ll probably get a master's degree. Or I will be also taking over my dad's small firm!”
“Aside from that, I am a bit of a business-minded kind of guy. I wouldn’t mind owning a store or such!”
“I would also want to try modeling!”