He was one of the Philippines’ most celebrated world champions, and one that has seen his fair share of triumphs and defeats both in and out of the ONE Championship cage.
Yet, despite the many setbacks he has experienced throughout his life, the 33-year-old maintains that there is always something to gain in every experience, which is what has made him one of the finest martial artists in the world today.
To become the best version of ourselves, Folayang draws from the lessons he learned on his martial arts journey. He shares the secrets to becoming a better person, and that starts with humility.
Be Willing To Listen
“In martial arts, we must always remain humble. Humility is one of the most important lessons we learn when we first start training. By being humble, we are open to receiving healthy criticism,” said Folayang.
“It is important to listen to your coaches during training for you to improve the areas they see as your weaknesses and strengths. Heeding advice from your teammates also helps you discover some bad habits that you may be making.”
These flaws, the Filipino hero explains, are what need to be worked on during training, hence the importance of identifying them being the first step to improvement. He adds: “In the end, you become a better athlete because of it, and your teammates will be able to see that as well in your performance during training.”
Surround Yourself With People You Can Learn From
Together, they lead a talented group of individuals who compete in every level of combat sports – amateur, national, and professional. Representing Team Lakay has always carried with it a sense of pride, which “Landslide” says they need to protect by being the best they can be.
“At Team Lakay, we strive to be diverse. This is a very high level game we play, so for us to have a competitive edge, we have to be well-versed in various styles,” said Folayang.
“We are complete martial artist. Some have strengths in wrestling, some are skilled in striking, others on the ground. What is important is how we are able to transfer those skills to one another, and learn from each other.”
That is the true essence of any team. Learning and improving as a cohesive unit is the entire purpose of training together, and Folayang has no doubt exhibited flashes of his comrades’ most telling attributes on the field of battle.
“I have learned many things from my Team Lakay brothers that have helped me throughout my career, some lessons that go even beyond the cage,” he explains.
“From Honorio Banario, I have learned persistence. Despite going through a rough spell in his career, he never gave up, and just focused on improving. He taught me that we are never truly out, and that there is always a chance.
“Geje Eustaquio instilled in me confidence in the face of adversity. That no matter who the opponent, we have to remain cool and confident in our abilities, because there will always be a way to conquer difficulties.
“Through Kevin Belingon, I have developed my own tremendous discipline and laser focus. Kevin is one of the most hard-working competitors I know. When he zeroes in on training, nothing can break his concentration. That is what makes him such a great martial artist.”
Dont’ Be Afraid To Fail
Although Folayang recently lost his title to historic double world champion Martin Nguyen, he insists it will only make him better as a martial artist. After all, if it were not for the incredible dedication he has shown throughout his career, the Filipino would not be where he is today.
“If there is one thing I have learned throughout my years as a martial artist, it is that winning is not all there is to competition,” he explained. “Losing is also incredibly valuable, because from it you gain experience and learn lessons from your mistakes.
“Defeat teaches us that there is always room for improvement, and that sometimes, things do not go our way no matter how well we prepared. Experience plays a huge role in our careers, and is probably the most important thing you gain from competing.
“It helps us understand that we should not dwell on failures and success and to leave them in the past, because we have to learn from our mistakes to make us better martial artists. Experience gives us confidence to face the uncertainty of tomorrow. But of course, winning is also good, because it helps us realize that whatever we have worked on in training has been properly executed.”