MANILA, Philippines – Maybelline Masuda was the lone woman practicing jiu-jitsu on the mats of Deftac Philippines 10 years ago, and now, she adds her black belt status to her list of feats for Filipina jiu-jitsu practitioners.
Masuda was officially the first homegrown Filipina to be promoted to black belt on Saturday evening, June 30, as she swept her events in the recently concluded ASJJF Asia Pacific Jiu-jitsu Dumau Championship in Cebu.
“It’s a milestone because it took 10 years to get here,” said Masuda, who was also the first Filipino world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
After Masuda nabbed the light featherweight title at the 2009 World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championships, more women started practicing jiu-jitsu until she was able to form the first Philippine women’s team in 2012.
“I guess you can say that jiu-jitsu is the best sport for self defense, so it’s really good to see that a lot more women are coming in doing the sport and excelling in it,” said Masuda.
The Filipino-Japanese was also the first woman to bag a gold medal in the 2014 Asian Beach Games after she bested Le Thu Trang Dao of Vietnam in the -50 kg category gold medal match.
Deftac members not included
Despite her numerous accolades locally and internationally, Masuda has never officially represented the Philippines due to the non-inclusion of Deftac members in the national team.
“No offense to the girls in the other team, but I’ve beaten all the girls in their [Jiu-jitsu Federation of the Philippines (JJFP) ] roster,” said Masuda.
“I love my country and I want to make sure I bring golds to the country so I know I’m among the best, so why am I not there representing the country?”
Masuda and Aguilar challenged the leadership of golfer Ramon “Choy” Cojuangco in JJFP, which led to the suspension of the national sports association (NSA).
However, the Philippine Olympic Committee recognized the JJFP last May, following the visit of Jaffer Al Muthafer, secretary general of Jiu-Jitsu Asian Union, who showed his support for Cojuangco’s leadership.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will follow suit in recognizing JJFP to fund the national team in the upcoming Asian Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2018 in Kazakhstan – Rappler.com