Today is bleak, but the FUTURE of sports is BRIGHT. For our PARCINQ FRESH! Issue No. 9, meet our future Olympic judoka Ralph de Leon, looking to make the most out of life while inspiring others. He's now just like the athletes he used to look up to, and he's not stopping yet.
Below, read our short interview with Ralph to know what he has to say about his dreams and goals in life while doing it at his own pace–one meaningful journey at a time.
Who is the person you admire the most and why?
There’s no one person that I admire specifically, but rather a group of people. My family has always been the group of people I looked up to the most because over the years, they’ve managed to keep us all so close together. Living with my cousins, titas, titos, lolas, and lolos is really such a blessing. They provide such a good support system for me and having such a tight family relationship even with extended relatives is really something I value because of them. It’s not every day you see more than 10 members of a family being in such close contact on a daily basis and I’m glad to be part of that.
If you had to be someone else, who would you choose to be and why?
If I had to be someone else, I’d choose to be Chris Evans. Other than the obvious good looks and good personality he carries around, Chris is also very successful in his career. Captain America was one of my favorite superheroes growing up and I was always just in awe of how he got so buff when he was injected with the Super Soldier Serum then gained superhuman strength and chose to be a hero. With him playing that superhero, it was cool to see his take on how to bring Steve Rogers to life and I think he played a big part in helping the Marvel Cinematic Universe get as well-known as it is. Chris isn’t only a hero on the big screen, but also outside. He’s worked in charity numerous times and helped give back and fight for his cause.
My journey in Judo started when I was around 12, looking for an extracurricular club to join in grade school. At the time, my cousin was part of the high school Judo team in Ateneo and invited me to try it out since I did not have one yet. Since Judo is a full-contact martial art, some people may think that it would be something too rough for a kid to try out. For me, it was the opposite. I was a kid who loved sports and this was right up my alley. From there, I slowly fell in love with the art of Judo and all the values that came along with it helped shape me into the person I am today. Developing techniques and throws to take down opponents, I continued to train with the team, and with the help of great mentors, coaches, and teammates, I have not slowed down since.
What has Judo taught you?
Aside from all the throws and techniques that come with martial art, Judo has taught and reinforced in me many of my core values like discipline, respect, mental and physical fortitude. Over my years of training, I’ve had many ups and downs that got me to where I am today. Waking up with different aches and pains, having to balance school and sports, and coping with burnout are some of the few struggles I faced, but thankfully got through. Seeing myself, alongside my teammates around me grow, with the guidance of our coaches, is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve experienced in Judo and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is your dream?
My dream is to live life. Simple, short, sweet. There are so many opportunities out there to capture, moments to live, and people to form lasting relationships with. I want to be able to go out into the world and be everything that I can without forgetting the people who got me there. It’s all just a matter of time and dedication before this dream of mine comes true and I want to bring you all along with me. Watch out!
Photography by Raymond Cauilan
Styling by Yannie Tui
Hair & Grooming by Lionel Fabros
Words & Art by Joe Andy
Featuring Ralph de Leon of Team Hustle PH