Tom Woodfin: The ultimate warrior
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan - Tom Woodfin was a fierce mixed martial artist who enjoyed his taste of blood, having the time of his life while competing in Muay Thai and traveling the world. Since 2009, he has fought in Universal Reality Combat Championship (URCC) in the Philippines, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in Thailand, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions in the UK and China.
A native of North Yorkshire, England, Tom was taking a degree in film production when gap year came in 2004 and he had the chance to travel around the world on his own. That was when he found himself in the Philippines, decided to drop out of university, and got into stocks ("That one was probably even harder to explain to my loving parents than, 'I’ve become a professional cage fighter.'").
Since then, Tom became many other things: bar owner, manager of a foundation for street kids, English teacher, student tour guide, and even security professional. Entrepreneurship was his way of making ends meet, until the call of the fighting ring came, and he became a household name in URCC.
Today, though, Tom is fighting a different fight and running a different "business." But words won't do justice to Tom's newfound path.
RAPPLER caught up with Tom in Maia, a sustainable eco-community in Barangay Bacungan, Palawan; 45 minutes away from Puerto Princesa City. There, he lives in harmony with other like-minded individuals from other parts of the world, living with almost zero carbon footprint, enjoying the nourishment and sustenance of coconuts and raw food.
With his mohawk, tattoos, and deep voice, it's easier to see this Brit as a heartthrob instead of a healer. But if you look closer, you'll see that his eyes are soft, his demeanor calm, his attitude towards others warm and helpful, and his ways simple.
Hi, Tom! What are you busy with now?
I have my head and heart buried deep in Warriorship principles, laying down new modules for the Inner Warrior workshop to take to Singapore and Malaysia next month. I’m also working on making a full-on retreat instead of just one-off sessions so we can really go deep with people. When I’m not busy doing that, I’m either researching and managing some of the building of mud houses in Maia or integrating, healing, and strengthening my body for the next wave. (He has made his own gym out of coco lumber.)
How does your family feel about what you're doing now?
They’ve been ridiculously supportive as I’ve walked my path, even when my path looked ridiculous. My mum and dad are still in the UK but toying with ideas of breaking out. They’re currently on the raw food 30-day program to see how my dad’s diabetes reacts to it. About 20 days in and his blood sugar is lower than it ever was on medication, (it’s) truly awesome to see.
What led you to Maia?
I met my friend LJ in Bigfoot (studios, Cebu) in 2009 on a film shoot. She was a good friend of Pi (Villaraza) and eventually moved out to Palawan to this "sustainable community." She would tell us stories about it, and although tempting, I was still very much in my head and just doing other things. Years passed. This year, I was in the middle of writing a book in the UK, and felt that the Philippines had the right environment for me to finally finish it. So I contacted my friend LJ about Palawan, thinking it would be a bit like “The Beach.” She hooked me up with Pi and something clicked inside me: he wanted to build a school, I am passionate about architecture design, I knew I had to be here. So last February, I came and never left.
How and when did you come to the decision that you will live in Maia?
I began to see a deep value in the place and what the people here were doing. Through detaching from all the rocks I was clinging to, I really discovered an incredible undercurrent that’s sweeping me into my personal power. Maia facilitated that; Pi and Daniw (Arazola) were incredibly supportive during the transformation. And although my journey doesn’t end in one place (I’m a terminal traveler with much still to see) this is where I’m at now in my journey, grounding, in one of the first places I really feel like if the world were to end tomorrow I’d be happy to die here.
What is Inner Warriorship?
Inner Warriorship is a workshop that helps people get out of the basement of their worries, fears, and concerns and onto the open road of their personal power. It’s a journey through personal evolution. It is taught between physical and mental conditioning, combat technique, inner dance, and guided meditations. So before we even get to the door of the basement, we have to help people understand, accept, and release their fears. Often you’ll find people who have been holding emotional trauma from their past for a long time; I help them release all the resistance and fight they’ve been burning energy on, so all that is left is acceptance, then the release comes, and the energy is free for personal development. I do what I can to help them disarm limiting beliefs and access the wisdom of their inner warrior, grounding the core principles for living through movement, vision, experience, and emotions. It’s about sharing tools with people so they can help themselves.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Next month I’ll be in Singapore and Malaysia doing mostly introductory workshops on the Warriorship, but my real goal is to do retreat style work; that’s where I can really start to go deep with people and give them something that will stick. I can do that in Maia with ease as the facility is being developed. But I don’t want to restrict it solely to there; I’d love to do workshops in Boracay, Manila, or my old stomping ground in Cebu. I plan to develop my blog, have more high-quality MMA training while on the raw diet, visit Japan and China to do workshops, keep channeling resources and developing Maia, expand my understanding of Warriorship as the course blossoms, bring it back to the UK to help my brethren there.
Where can we go to get more updates about Inner Warriorship?