For years, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang’s name has been synonymous with Philippine martial arts.
The Baguio City native has won several prizes throughout his career, including three wushu gold medals at the Southeast Asian Games and the ONE Lightweight World Championship multiple times.
However, martial arts brought him more than just accolades. It led him to his life partner.
“I met my wife at the gym,” the happily married father of two recalls. “She is also a martial artist. I never expected that we’d end up together, but I felt that she was special.”
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Posted by ONE Championship on Thursday, July 18, 2019
The Filipino hero trained consistently with Mark Sangiao at Team Lakay to achieve greatness in the Circle.
But during those early training sessions in 2008, a young lady named Genevieve stepped through the doors of the Baguio City facility.
“We had a common friend, who was her classmate,” he shares. “She urged her to join the gym, and that’s how we were introduced to each other.”
Genevieve’s calmness and mild demeanor captivated the feisty Igorot warrior, and he wanted to get to know her on a more intimate level.
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Fortunately, the two shared a mutual admiration for martial arts, and that helped open the door to their initial conversations.
“It was the stepping point of our relationship,” he explains.
“You probably wouldn’t know a person if you didn’t have a common interest between you. Our relationship grew through time.
“I wanted to know more about her — like how she grew up and what she is like, so we spent time with each other outside the gym as well.”
The more he interacted with Genevieve, the more enamored he became with her. They trained martial arts together, went on hikes side by side, and engaged in deep conversations.
Also, Folayang lived his life by the values of martial arts, such as humility, respect, and compassion. His feelings for her strengthened when he realized she also lived by the same virtues.
“Apart from the emotional connection we have with each other, it’s also important to know the person’s character,” he says.
“The more I got to know her, the more attracted I got. I saw that she had the characteristics I liked in a partner. I guess friendship turned into something more when I felt that I needed to know more about her.”
That friendship turned into a romantic relationship, and he soon realized Genevieve was “the one.”
In December 2014, while at the Team Lakay training facility, Folayang felt the time was right to take their relationship to the next level.
With the cooperation of his teammates, “Landslide” got down on one knee and asked Genevieve for her hand in marriage.
“I proposed to her in the gym,” he admits.
“I really didn’t plan on setting something up. I just felt like it was time, and thankfully, the guys at the gym were all supportive and helped me out.
“I guess, deep inside, every one of us has this instinct that tells us that our partner is the right one for us.”
The couple tied the knot in April 2015 at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio, and they were later blessed with two beautiful daughters, Yeshuareigns and Yahamaziach.
Aside from their love for each other, what has made their relationship work so naturally is the compassion they share for one another.
Few people truly understand the sacrifices that world-class athletes have to make in order to compete at the elite level, but the 35-year-old is blessed to have a relationship grounded on martial arts.
“It is said in the book of Proverbs, ‘Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.’ It’s difficult to establish something if both parties do not reach an understanding,” Folayang offers.
“The best thing about where our relationship started is that it was built around martial arts, so she is able to relate to what I’m doing, the struggles I go through, and the pain it entails.”
Not only does Genevieve have first-hand knowledge about the sport, but she also contributes to his success in more tangible ways, such as reviewing footage and encouraging him to spend extra time in the gym.
That is particularly helpful for “Landslide,” who acknowledges the difficulty in balancing his responsibilities as an elite martial artist and a father to two little girls.
Without his wife’s contributions, Folayang does not believe he would have achieved the heights he has been able to reach.
“She is a huge part of my career,” he states.
“She usually gives me advice, especially if I have to go abroad to train certain aspects of my game. She is willing to sacrifice my time with her by pushing me to train when I need to and she assures me that they will be okay while I do so.
“It gives me peace of mind when I train because I don’t have to feel guilty about missing out on my responsibilities, and it helps me focus because I know she never holds it against me if I need to be away.”
This coming Friday, 8 November, all of his hard work and his wife’s sacrifices could pay off when he returns to the Circle for ONE Championship’s final Philippine show of the year.
Should “Landslide” emerge victorious in front of his adoring home crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena in Manila, then he could be primed for another run at the ONE Lightweight World Title.
Manila | 8 November | MASTERS OF FATE | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onefate19