Sunday, October 31, 2010

Allan Codinera: Ultimately, Fighting Champion
Remember those movie scenes where the action hero breaks into enemy headquarters?  He would eliminate the guard at each post, one by one, with a graceful chokehold. I often wondered if that was all possible in real life. That is until I met Allan Codinera in a party last Saturday in Toronto.

"I've been trained to kill efficiently in two seconds," he said. "I learned Brazilian Jujitsu when I joined the Canadian Army."

Apparently, those people in the killing business figured out that grappling, as they also call it, is the most effective form of self defense.

He suggested that I try it. Wrestling?  No, he meant to try the chokehold, on me!

"Just tap my arm when you can't take it anymore," Allan said. 

I took a deep breath. Then, he stood behind me. Immediately, my vision went from far sighted to nothing at all. 

No need to tell you that I lived to follow him around that night. I learned that he has been in competition for quite some time now. In fact, he recently won the silver medal in the Ontario OpenMat Competition. This qualifies him to fight in the most prestigious World Grappling Championship, Mundial in Long Beach, California  next week on November 7.  He did this all by himself without anyone helping him financially.

He trains three hours a day after work, delivering mail for Canada Post. He does functional exercises, similar to the "wax on, wax off" kind of training in "Karate Kid", and a lot of rolling with other guys. He does not lift weights as I assumed him to be doing.

"Lifting weights bulk you up but it does not strengthen your joints," he explained with his wife beside him, listening intently to every word he said.

"I have complete faith in him." She told me when I asked her how she felt about his love for the sport. I completely understood that, noticing the intensity through his eyes when he spoke about it.

Then I decided to go for the kill. I asked him if he was related to Jerry Codinera,  retired star player in the PBA, Filipino version of NBA.  Yes, Jerry is his uncle.

"My dream was to be like Uncle Jerry," he said. "I played basketball when I was growing up in Batangas." His parents decided to move to Canada when he was sixteen. He thought he would make it to the Pan Am Games. Unfortunately for basketball, Allan stopped growing at five feet and seven inches.

"Little did I know that I would be grappling with guys I wouldn't dare mess with before." After all, Brazilian Jujitsu enables a smaller, weaker person to defend himself successfully against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique. Most of it is done by applying joint-locks and chokehold to defeat the other person.

"So you can take on the next guy who messes with you." One of the guys said.

"On the contrary, we stay away from street fights," he replied.

Allan is always humble and in control. He lives by their motto, "leave it on the mat."

By the way, his story is not done yet. His next challenge, Ultimate Fighting Championship, in one year.  So stick around.


  1. His story is so compelling because he musters everything he's got and gathers the strength within him. He became a Master of his own strength through dsicipline and principle and found his power in Brazilian jujitsu!Can't wait for his next move!Nice storytelling Cordi!

  2. Kuya Allan is the best for me in sports. I saw him play basketball when he was a teenager, I was 11 years old then. He was just taking a short vacation in our house, and they saw him played, and asked him if he can join their team. I'm so happy he agreed because he will be staying longer with us. He helped his team win the championship, and everybody was surprised he was not awarded. Majority of the audience cannot accept it and so his team instead gave him a trophy he deserved, the MOST VALUABLE PLAYER!!! - Lester C. Emperado, his cousin.

  3. Hello Lester,

    Allan told me also about you. That you recently earned a grandmaster title. Congratulations!