A HIGH SCHOOL teacher prior to becoming one of the top mixed martial artists in the country, Eduard “Landslide” Folayang surely knows the key role that teachers play in honing the youth.

On National Teachers’ Day on Monday, former ONE Championship lightweight world champion Folayang took time to pay tribute to the men and women of the teaching profession, underscoring the sacrifices they make in dispensing their duties and the need for them to be role models.  

“When you touch the lives of your students, even in the simplest way, that was the most fulfilling for me, back when I was still teaching in school. It’s such an honorable profession, even if it’s not easy by any means. Being a teacher is hard, but we still do it with passion because we want our kids to succeed,” said Mr. Folayang, who taught high school English and Physical Education before deciding to go full time in MMA.

He went on to say that teachers in the country should be valued for all their efforts, including making sure they are compensated well.

“We need to take care of our teachers because they have a very important role. They take care of our children when we are not able to. They teach them how to be adults,” he said.

Adding, “I think all work has its own unique set of challenges. But as teachers, it’s such a worthy sacrifice. The youth are very important in our society. They will go on to be leaders of our country in their own ways. It’s important that they be brought up with the right values and the right character.”

But while Mr. Folayang is no longer teaching in the traditional classroom setting, he still finds himself doing mentorship to young talents of Team Lakay. It is something he finds much satisfaction in and takes seriously.

“In some ways, I’m still very much a teacher. Now, I teach the younger generation of martial artists, to help them navigate our industry,” he said.

“I like to inspire by giving a good example. I try to be a good role model. In my position, I know a lot of people look up to me, that’s why I try to conduct myself in the right way. I want to be a good influence on peoples’ lives.”

Mr. Folayang (22-9) was last seen in the ONE cage in January this year where he lost by split decision to Pieter Buist.

He is currently training with Team Lakay and is awaiting another call up from the promotion. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo