TRIPLE TROUBLE. (L-R) John Christian, John Clark Segutier, and John Carl bond over Arnis. Photo by Kenneth Duran/ Rappler
ANTIQUE, Philippines – Snatching the title from bemedalled Arnis player John Clark Segutier has been his opponents’ goal for the past two Palarong Pambamsa. But this year, it’s going to be a triple-trouble for anyone aiming for the top.
Joining John Clark are his two other brothers, John Carl and John Christian. For the first time, the Segutier triplets of Iloilo will take the national stage in a bid for the sought-after gold medal in Arnis.
Starting at the age of 9, the now 17-year-old triplets started their journey when they met Nilo Sara, their trainor, who teaches arnis in elementary kids. John Clark was the first to be captivated by this combat sports. When they got to second grade, John Clark joined his first competition.
"Du may isa ka hampang bala nga du City Meet te wala siya (John Clark) upod te dapat tatlo kwa-on te siya lang isa te amo ra gin pa intra nalang kami nga dua. Te amo ka ra nag sige sige lang dayon ang amon nga hampang,” John Christian relating how he and John Carl joined their brothers in Arnis.
(During one of the city meet, John Clark didn’t have teammates, They were supposed to pick 3 and so they asked the two of us to join as well. That’s when our career started.)
The triplets relate that through playing arnis, they were able to bond and most importantly, avoid vices and addiction to online games just like other teenagers.
Other than Arnis, the trio also plays pencak silat which is one of the demo sports of this year’s Palarong Pambansa. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Pencak Silat makes debut in Palarong Pambansa 2017)
As identical triplets, it is very hard to identify them one from another. Recognizing them instantly takes more time than expected.
Among the three, John Carl is the joker, Clark is the serious type, and Christian is the most articulate.
"Even though they are triplets they have attitudes unique to each other. Like AA (John Carl) is more aggressive when it comes to talking about girls. BB (John Clark) is more likely the baby. And they recognize CC (John Christian) as one of the smart triplets,” Coach Danilo Suazon Pahila describes.
Just like any siblings, they fight even with the simplest reasons. But they’ve never been into physical fight ever since. “Baisanay lang gid wala sumbaganay,” John Clark said. (We only have arguments, not fist fights.)
Training pays off
Every day, the trio would rise up early for an endurance exercise. This allows them to condition their body for the next competition.
“So sa individual nila may ara gid sila nga training…Pero kung jan na gid man sa practice na gid kag du seryoso dun, ga buliganay naman kami ga seryoso naman kami. Pay di gid malikawan nga may ma late, siyempre ga eskwela man sanda,” Nilo Sara, their trainor, said.
(They have their individual training. They opt to help each other when things get serious. Sometimes, they are late in training but I understand because they are studying.)
On the fourth day of the 60th Palarong Pambansa, John Clark won 2 Gold medals in Individual solo baston and individual double baston. He also won gold medals in team solo baston and team espada y daga together with John Carl and John Christian.
In 2016, John Clark was also a gold medalist in the same event. Thus, he overcame the pressure to retain his title this year.
As they battle together hand-in-hand, no one’s stopping these triplet from dominating the Arnis stage. – With reports from Julian Rikki Reyes/ Rappler.com
READ: Palarong Pambansa 2017 stories by campus journalists