Let’s be honest. When you were a kid, you dreamed of being a martial arts expert. Whether it was Jackie Chan movies, StreetFighter or some Japanese anime— at one point in your life, you wanted to bust out a martial arts move and whoop a bully’s ass. Then you grew up and realized that man, martial arts is hard.
Unlike the rest of us who didn’t pursue our martial arts dreams, Nino Castro and his friends from Pato Studio actually formed a jiujitsu team. In this installment of our series, Nino shares what it’s like to run a gym, the common misconceptions about this martial art and what it’s really like to be part of a jiujitsu team.
Hi! Tell us bit about yourself and your work.
Hi. I’m Niño Castro. I’m a farmer and an entrepreneur. My friends and I just started a new jiujitsu team called Pato Studio Cebu Jiujitsu.
What are the common misconceptions about your line of work?
The most common would be that jiujitsu is for violent people. It’s not. I’ve met the nicest people through martial arts. Another misconception would be: I need to be fit to start. The only requirement to do jiujitsu is the willingness and humility to learn. Being fit is just a bonus that you get after training for a while.
Describe your typical work day
Most of the regular classes are handled by my friends Hiroshi Hirasawa, Edjie Gallos and Mikhail Wu. I do mostly administrative work, but I also handle the Beginners and Fundamentals class. Whenever it’s my turn to teach class, I’m usually at the gym an hour early. I set up the mats, clean and disinfect them before class starts. If I still have time, I use the gym facilities. We’re lucky enough to partner with August Khan and TRX Cebu. We conduct our classes there. We are on the 2nd floor of the Alicia Apartelle in Banilad, across BTC. Their gym facilities are world class, equipped for a lot of core and mobility work so it really fits our needs as grapplers and athletes. Then I go through my day’s lesson. After, I clean and disassemble the mats, tidy up the gym then lock up.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
The most enjoyable part of the job is seeing people grow as individuals. You see such a drastic change in them as being involved in jiujitsu has a dramatic impact on everyone. Also, hanging out with people who share the same passion as you is simply fun.
On the flipside, what’s the hardest part of your job? What makes it fulfilling? Will you trade it for something else?
Politics. But then again having to deal with politics both internal and external is the most difficult part of any job whether you work behind a desk, run a farm or operate a gym. What makes it fulfilling is seeing people set goals and achieve them, but most importantly seeing people be comfortable and accepting of who they are while simultaneously working hard to be who they want to be. Maybe I will trade it in for a gazillion pesos. That’s a big maybe and I’m pretty sure I will still have regrets after.
Any message to those who want to pursue the same career? What does it take to be successful or happy in your field?
To anyone who wants to try Brazilian Jiujitsu, you are welcome to join our classes at Pato Studio Cebu Jiujitsu. After June 1, first 3 sessions are free. Our friends from Citigym, Overlimit and 98BJJ and a few other gyms in Cebu also have their own classes and schedules. A man much smarter than me has said that what is important is that it must be the right fit for you.
I don’t know about the success part. We’re still working our way towards that. Besides, what is the measure of success for something as nuanced as the martial arts? Happiness, the way I see it is universal. You wake up and you do something that lights a fire within you and you try everyday to suck a little less at it.