Mark Munoz: “I started training because I was always being jumped on in the streets”

 

When Mark Munoz is In Manila…

 

Mark Munoz is a two-time NCAA Division I national champion. Known inside the Octagon as “The Filipino Wrecking Machine”, he walks around with 200+ pounds of bone and muscle. He takes his opponents down. Then he hammer fists them silly with his trademark Donkey Kong punches.

"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" Mark Munoz

“The Filipino Wrecking Machine” Mark Munoz

In his first official media tour in the Philippines, Mark Munoz conducted a kids’ wrestling clinic at the UP College of Human Kinetics in the morning and a full-on MMA clinic at Ultimate Fitness in the afternoon of March 9, 2013. The activities precede his open public workout at the SM Mall of Asia starting at 3 PM the day after.

Mark Munoz demonstrating wrestling level change in the kids' (and college students) clinic in UP.

Mark Munoz demonstrating wrestling level change in the kids’ (and college students) clinic in UP.

Currently in the prime of his fight form, it’s hard to imagine that Mark Munoz was once a 13-year-old who got jumped on, ganged up, and beaten down by the bigger boys in their neighborhood. “I started training in wrestling when I was 13 years old,” confides Mark. “I know it’s quite late, but the reason I started training was because I was always being jumped on in the streets.”

It took a fellow Filipino to convince him to learn wrestling. At first, Mark scoffed at the idea of learning wrestling to deter his bullies. “He was this [signals neck level] small and in two seconds he took me down, and I’ve been a follower of wrestling ever since.”

A hands-on Mark Munoz guiding one of the kids to execute a double leg takedown.

A hands-on Mark Munoz guiding one of the kids to execute a double leg takedown.

 

For a last-minute student of wrestling, Mark Munoz has had a fantastic run. But the Filipino Wrecking Machine makes sure that he doesn’t settle for mediocrity. Mark makes it a point to search for and surround himself with athletes who excel in their craft. “When I see someone who has good Jiu-Jitsu, I tell them, ‘Teach me that.’ Learning from people who are good at what they do is the secret to becoming better.” This is perhaps why he is the first non-Brazilian to represent Black House MMA in the UFC, training with the likes of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, and the Noguiera brothers

Mark Munoz not only trains with the best MMA fighters in the world; he trains them for their wrestling. And these kids had the privilege of training under him for free!

Mark Munoz not only trains with the best MMA fighters in the world; he trains them for their wrestling. And these kids had the privilege of training under him for free!

Munoz‘s story resonates with me and I’m sure a lot of us because at one point in our lives we were made to feel inferior to someone or something (a system, maybe?). In my case, it was three bigger boys who ganged up on a scrawny version of me at the twilight of my elementary years. And just as Mark found his solace in wrestling, I found my solace in excelling in my academics. Learning a little Jiu-Jitsu didn’t hurt, too!

Despite his recent setback in the second-round TKO loss to Chris Weidman, Mark Munoz holds his head up high, believing that each and every moment is a learning experience, something that shapes us to who we are today. When In Manila or anywhere else in the world, we Filipinos can’t wait for Mark Munoz with his Donkey Kong fists to step inside the Octagon once more!

Despite his accomplishments, Mark Munoz remains to be one of the most humble athletes you'll meet, which makes me root for him no matter what!

Despite his accomplishments, Mark Munoz remains to be one of the most humble athletes you’ll meet, which makes me root for him no matter what!

Be sure to catch him on March 10, 2013 at the SM Mall of Asia for his much-awaited open workout! Let’s show our support to the Philippines’ MMA fighting pride, the Filipino Wrecking Machine, Mark Munoz!

Mark Munoz In Manila poster

 

Mark Munoz: “I started training because I was always being jumped on in the streets”