#IGAKenMemories featuring Prince Mallari

When you see Prince in the dojo, it would be hard to take him seriously at first. It could be because of the goofy grin that is on his face most of the time. Or the glassy-eyed stare that he gives you when he’s trying to process what you said. He also tends to be the life of any party or get-together, but mostly by accident. 

There was a time when he gave his name as Prince “Pogi” (handsome in Pilipino) to a coffee shop barista, and she called out his name as Prince “Poyi ” when his coffee was ready. You bet he’s been called that moniker in the club since then!

In spite of all his unintentional funny quips and acts, he was one of the best competitors that the IGA Kendo Club has produced. This 3-dan Kendoka has won matches in the Hong Kong Kendo Open, represented the Philippines in the 11th ASEAN Kendo Tournament, and got 2nd Place in the 1st Philippine National Kendo Tournament. His infamous “Poyi-waza” was a sight to see when he could pull them off in a match, leaving his opponents stunned at how he managed that. Not bad for a college kid who joined only to get into a “cool sport”.

Prince no longer practices with us as he is now based in the US working as a data scientist for Amazon. He has many fond memories of his time with us, and you can now see his Top 5!  

Luis’ Birthday PartyOne of the most fun event I attended (and participated) as a member of the group. We had too much fun, participated in the dance activities, and I ended up dancing with the performer for the party. Best thing for me was the birthday celebrant’s parents were more comfortable with him attending Kendo activities seeing how fun we were.

Birth of the “Poyi Waza”After passing the 1st dan exam, we competed in a 3-man team as our first competition experience. After the first match and the exam the day before, I was exhausted. In the tournament, I aimed to get at least one good ippon. In my last match, I was able to execute a Kote-Kaeshi-Men to secure the second point of the match. During the debrief after the match, I can remember Kutch and Loida bestowing the name “Poyi Waza” to my Kote-Kaeshi-Men. It became my signature waza starting that day.
2nd Hong Kong Tournament Shiai (Poyi Waza #2)After passing my 2nd dan exam, we competed in the 5 man team the following Sunday. I was the team’s Jiho (2nd position) and to my surprise, I ended up against a Jodan player so of course, I don’t know how to fight against it. I was having a hard time fighting him at the beginning of the match and lost momentum of the fight. At a spur of the moment, I just decided to try doing Gyaku Do. Coincidentally, my opponent tried to do a Sanpo-​mamori block protecting his men, kote, and do but leaving his other do wide open. I still watch the video every now and then to hear the echo of the hit, that loud kiai, and the shimpan awarding the point. I won the fight with another Migi-Kote. On that day, my second “Poyi Waza” was born.
Philippine First National TournamentProbably the day with most emotion and want to win in my entire kendo career. I was proud of myself to compete in the Men’s individual final against Andre but really felt that I could’ve done so much more if I trained and exercised more. Nevertheless, I was still happy with some of my hits and being able to show to other dojos my kind of Kendo.
My first 2 sempaisI joined UP Ken as a student of UP Diliman but ended up training to IGA Ken when I wanted to keep getting better. It may not be much but I wouldn’t be doing Kendo if these two didn’t show me the ropes in a small dance studio in my school.
Have you been with Prince in any of these? How about sharing with us your memories too? Message us! We’d love to hear your stories.

Next week, we will be featuring another one of our club’s rare Pokémon’s but the dad kendoka version.  Stay tuned and keep safe!

What dyou think?