Saturday, March 17, 2018

Yuzuru internalizing Seimei 2015. Yuzu commenting on 2015 ISU Grand Prix

#Yuzuruhanyu leaves nothing to chance with an extraordinary determination to learn his new program Seimei to perfection. He controls most of the elements and internalizes with passion.

To perform Seimei, an Astrology legend in the Heinan era, he visited the shrine in Kyoto at age 20, talked with an Onmologist and actor Nomura Mansai, master of Kyogen and listened to inputs on simplicity and meaning of movements (Docu 15.11.15).

To get into the spirit of Seimei he worked on the choreography with Shae-Lyn Bourne, costume inspired by the habit of the character, music meticulously to pace and to highlight the drama and lastly, the artistry and technical of the movement to convey the story.

Photo from the Washington Post
Watching him perform the 2015 and 2018 Free Skate program, I appreciate Yuzuru’s winning performance with a Japanese heritage even more. As Yuruzu mentions in his interview, adopting a Japanese material to his program will give him a winning edge.

On the day he performed in PyeongChang, even with an injury, he won. The Gods must be with him. Inputs on the shrine visit and talks from the docu

Amidst the foot ligament injury, the clean performance of Javi who preceded before him at the 2017 ISU Grand Prix in Barcelona , and the jeering crowd who would not pay attention to him, #Yuzuruhanyu faced the hurdles and overcame himself. Through control and a mental calculation on how to score to beat his own record. Yuzuru shares with us generously his insights revealing to us what makes a champion. View it here at a docu last 2017 Sept, with Yuzu comments on 2015 SEIMEI:(subbed in English by Gladi)

Sunday, March 04, 2018

"I’ll definitely win!" Yuzuru Hanyu’s challenge to himself A 45 minute Documentary NTV 2018.01.14

Behind the victory of the 2nd consecutive Olympic gold of #YuzuruHanyu is this story. A clear dream, a plan to do it, discipline and the drive to always challenge himself.

Even with setbacks of injuries, he stands up. With the support and everything that Hanyu has, he worked hard with all his strength to be the "best that Yuzuru Hanyu can be!"

Yuzuru Hanzu is a young Japanese figure skater who at the age of 19 won gold at the 2014 Sochi Games and at 23 won another gold at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Since he was 11 years, he already dreamt of winning a gold. His plans are clear but derailed with physical injury on his ankle and ligaments. Yet his dream of winning gold did not diminish. He has both the artistry and athleticism of a champion figure skater. Passionate with the sports, he enjoys training. Hanzu continues to outperform himself with a clear vision of No. 1 all the time. Recently in a 2017 interview, he declared a mantra of "Go beyond the ideal" raising the bar on his own performance. Hanzu is adorable as he is childlike with the purity and innocence of a child yet with the strength, stamina, competitiveness and determination of a winning athlete. 

Applying the principles of the 4Ds of Appreciative Inquiry, Hanyu Discovered his love for skating. He Dreamt of winning an Olympic Gold at 20 when he was 11 years old in 2006 and consequently 2 consecutive golds (2014 and 2018). He Designed a plan to make it happen with training, studying techniques, enhancing artistry, technical skills and competitiveness against other improving and growing young skaters. He says though his greatest competitor is his own self. Backed by discipline and his obsession to always be organized, he designed his strategy detailing every element of the program. Physically, he is conscious of his body taking care of it well particularly his ankle. Even his academic background supports his passion for skating, Human Informatics, Human Engineering and Cognitive Science at the Waseda University.

On the rink in a performance, he is focused, passionate about his artistry, body language, movement, expression and the strength, energy and stamina for his technicals. He has a keen listening ear conscious of the matching sounds with sights. He pays attention to details even the nuances of his costume. The target for gold is clear in his mind. He is so focused that when he falls, he rises quickly to recover.

Yuzuru Destined to make it happen praying to Gods, acknowledging the support of fans and followers incorporating their good tidings with his own strengths. He is particular about giving thanks and recognition to his support groups. He wears bracelets, amulets believed to protect him from harm. He has Winnie the Pooh, a Disney mascot as his good luck charm. Even his name Yuzuru sets up his life for him, which means a bowstring symbolizing confidence, strength, and straightness.

On Destiny the 4th D of Appreciative Inquiry, Yuzuru Hanyu continues to dream anew preparing how to outperform himself.

At the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, he not only broke records, he broke our hearts too!

Watch to 45 minute Japanese documentary (with English subtitles) to learn the story behind the champion. (Docu on Youtube not mine. Catch it before it is removed.)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Drama and the Enduring Human Spirit- Yuzuru and Nathan

Before the 2014 Cup of China figure ice skating competition, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu had a hard collision with fellow skater during the warm up. Yet even physically challenged, he continued to compete, falling, falling, falling and performing exemplary well to eventually win gold.

It was hurting every time he fell. It was hurting when he completed his performance. It was piercing painful when he won. With determination, discipline, he stood up, setbacks and defeats were overcome. Underneath the slim frame, playfulness and soft face are grace, stamina, balance and incredible mental and physical power.

American ice skate Nathan Chen performed excellently well, almost to perfection in the 2018 Free Skate US Nationals qualifying round. Yet in the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, he too fell but continued to perform his best although did not earn his country an expected medal. An Olympic medal may be elusive to Chen now. Only 18 years ago, this game changer figure skater will eventually still game change.

Receiving a heroes' welcome in Sendai, Japan. Grabbed from The Japan Times
Such is the drama in life. And the youths are showing us how, inspiring us with their enduring human spirit.

Yuzuru Hanyu interpreting Phantom of the Opera at the 2014 Cup of China

Nathan Chen perfect execution at the 2018 US Free Skate US Nationals

Nathan Chen short program performance (with falls) at the 2018 Winter Olympic PyeongChang

Nathan Chen's high scoring long program performance at the 2018 Winter Olympic

Who is Nathan Chen? Link to the article printed in The New York Times “Why Nathan Chen Shuns Sequins Going into the Olympics, Chen looked like the United States’ best shot at a gold medal in figure skating. His long program is built on the story of a Chinese defector.”

Nathan Chen and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Perfection from the young Winter Olympic Figure Skaters

I first saw by chance Yuzuru Hanyu, 23 years old figure skater from Japan live on ESPN TV5 competing in the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics.

Watching his performance, I was glued forming these thoughts in my mind. “Form, structure, movement, balance dramatically presented as a result of discipline, determination, perfection and alignment of all elements while performing. A visual delight in a highly competitive sports. His passion for perfection and excellence inspires!”

Even with setbacks, he recovered and moved on to an amazing victory winning Gold in the combined short and long program. He suffered from an ankle injury months before, almost fell twice in the long program but eventually earned the Gold for the combined event.
New York Times in an article written about his phenomenal writes: "But he displayed sufficient stamina, jumping ability, elastic spins and ethereal grace to win a second consecutive gold medal, becoming the first men’s repeat champion since Dick Button of the United States in 1948 and 1952.
Hanyu, 23, also prevailed with cunning strategy. He placed two of his four quadruple jumps and all of his combination jumps in the second half of his performance, receiving bonus points given to skaters at a point when their legs begin to tire in a four and a half minute routine"
This passion for perfection was not exclusive to Yuzuru nor to his nation. Similarly, I was a witness too to the fall and recovery of 18 year old Chinese American skater Nathan Chen. He fell in the short program costing him important points and went on to enjoy and thrill the judges in the long program earning for him the top score. But not enough to win a medal for U.S.A. this 2018. Soon, he will earn the top spot.
The youth have started to rule the world, breaking records, earning recognition. Their brand of discipline marked with fun and eagerness, strong determination and aspiration, recovery from setbacks and their drive for pushing themselves to the limit and for perfection set them apart from the mortals. Specifically for Yuzuru, he demonstrated to us how the Japanese youth core values molded him such as “thinking of others, doing your best, not giving up, respecting your elders, knowing your role, and working in a group.”
Yuzuru and Nathan inspire us. They deliver the message to the elder generations that there are no shortcuts to life. It starts with a desire, transformed into a dream, working on it as a recreation, a a career, a passion and eventually an obsession to push one self to the limits, not giving up. Then they game change.
Some quotes from Yuzuru Hanyu.
“I believe failure is the stepping stone for success. You won’t realize some problems unless you fail.”
"I want to push the sport. I want to push myself!”
“I want to be number 1!”
Articles written about them:


What is the Difference between a World and Olympic Record?
  • An Olympic Record is the best performance of any athlete or team in the history of Olympic competition in that sport and event.  The letters “OR” stands for Olympic Record which is a record that can be achieved only at the Olympic games.
  • A World Record is the best recorded performance at a sanctioned event anywhere internationally.  The letters “WR” denote a World Record.  In figure skating, the international event must be sanctioned by the International Skating Union (ISU).
  • Therefore, a World Record can be the same or better than an Olympic Record, but an Olympic record cannot be better than a World Record.
  • **If a World Record is beaten at the Olympic Games then both the OR and WR will change to that new score.
So what happened at this Olympics (2018)?  Unfortunately, most tv channels did not properly show WR and OR designations on the screen like they normally do during Olympic events.  This is too bad since it is such a remarkable achievement that should be highlighted for the athlete!

Mens Short Program: 
  • Yuzu’s score of 101.45 from Sochi 2014 was the current Olympic Record for the mens short program.  In 2018 Pyeongchang, Shoma broke Yuzu’s Olympic record with a score of 103.25 during the team event.  Shoma’s record held until the following week when the mens singles event started.
  • Since Yuzu skated first in the last group, his score of 111.68 broke Shoma’s new Olympic Record and the Olympic Record was back in Yuzu’s hands!!
  • OR: Yuzu continues to be the Olympic Record holder with a score of 111.68 for the mens short program.   
  • WR: Yuzu’s World Record of 112.72 (2017 ACI) still stands as the current World Record for a mens short program.

Mens Free Program:
  • We tend to be focused on “World Records” and surprisingly enough, there was not much fanfare when Yuzu actually broke the “Olympic Record” in 2014 Sochi.  Yuzu’s score of 178.64 beat out Patrick Chan score of 178.10 for the new Olympic Record in the mens free program.  This achievement was not a new World Record at the time, and was overshadowed by Yuzu winning the Gold Medal as well.  Yuzu’s Sochi free program score of 178.64 beat the 2010 Olympic record set by Evan Lysacek of 167.37.
  • Flash forward to 2018 and Patrick Chan actually broke Yuzu’s free program Olympic Record during the team event with a score of 179.75!!
  • About a week later, based on the order of skate in the free program (Nathan, Boyang, Yuzu, Javi, Shoma), Nathan broke Patricks’ newly set Olympic Record of 179.75 with a score of 215.08.   None of the final group of skaters scored higher than that.
  • OR: Nathan holds the Olympic Record for the mens free program with a score of 215.08.
  • WR: Yuzu’s score of 223.20 (2017 Worlds) is still the current World Record score for a mens free skate.

Mens Total Score:
  • From 2014 Sochi, Yuzu broke the previous 2010 Olympic Record for Mens Total Score (held by Even Lysacek with 257.67) with a total combined score of 280.09.
  • In 2018 Pyeongchang, again, due to skate order, Yuzu’s Olympic Record of 280.09 was beaten first by Nathan Chen with a total score of 297.35.  Nathan’s new Olympic record was subsequently broken again by Boyang Jin with a total combined score of 297.77!!
  • Yuzu skated 4th in the final group and broke Boyang’s new Olympic Record with a new combined score of 317.85, and the Gold medal was his.
  • OR: Yuzu remains the Olympic Record holder for Total Score in the mens figure skating event with a score of 317.85.  
  • WR: Yuzu’s score of 330.43 (2015 GPF) still stands as the current World Record.

At the end of the day, Yuzu still holds 5 out of 6 of the combined Olympic and World Records!  This is NOT a small feat in today’s competitive environment!  One thing to note though, is that the previous 2014 Olympic records were not just beat by fractions of points, they were beat significantly from the 2014 games.  This is due to a combination of changes both to the scoring system and the quad explosion.
With the upcoming change in the scoring system next season, it’s hard to guess what will happen to these records.  My personal wish is that they stand for all time.  I don’t want to see these records broken simply because judges have a broader range of GOE bonus points to hand out like candy.  What will one less jumping pass for the men do to the potential scores they can achieve?  What will the shorter free program length do to the men.  Even if the world records are broken (presumably by Yuzu himself), how can you compare one record to another when someone changes the rules to the game???

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Tribute to my Friend Ernie T

Ernie is never home.

Ernie is a fine chap. That is why I hit it well with him since our acquaintances at J Walter Thompson in the late 80's.

He is jolly and whimsical but a deep sense of conviction and faith. Jolly as in playful like Peter Pan. Conviction for what he believes is morally right. Deep faith for his belief in God, his religiosity and subscription to Christian principles.

He has a bag full of tricks. The tricks are funny but not rib tickling. Because his jokes are studied, lines memorized but nevertheless still funny.

Ernie has an interest for the classical in music and in the opera. Vienna interests him for the rich heritage. He owns a mini sound system and a car stereo so he can play his soothing world sound.

He loves going out; out of Metro Manila and out of his house. Once we went to La Union on a weekend to oversee a project just to have a change of pace. Once from a night out we went home late and bumped his Mitsubishi Mirage head on with a cab just as we were reaching his homestretch at Project 4. Just to test how it was to be frivolous I guessed.

As he moved out of J Walter Thompson and eventually out of the Philippines, Ernie was never home. Weekends I find myself checking at his home window to find out if he was around. He wasn't at the basketball court, he wasn't at his bedroom. Most of the time his schedule was booked. Calls to him phone would generate a reply, "He is somewhere else."

On his two important milestones, he wasn't home. On the eve of his wedding, he was in Baguio while we and his J Walter Thompson friends were still in Manila. On his death, we were early at the Sanctuario and couldn't wait for him. He still wasn't home.

The one surprise I got from Ernie was his immediate reply to my email sent forwarded to Canada. Not in the form of a letter but in a call. To say he was home to face his test.

Right now, Ernie now feels the most at home from among all of us. And it is in the home where one is most secure and in bliss. That I'm sure is where he is.

Chito Razon 11 May 2000

Monday, February 12, 2018

Connected but Uncommitted

Thrice they connected but did not commit, twice by chance, final one deliberate. Unforgettable experiences are best kept intact in the memory to perpetually mystify them. Celeste, the graphic artist and Jesse, the rock star vet med doctor are two complex persons not comfortable with settlement. When you pin them down, the ecstatic feeling of the memory slowly gets shattered. "Baka ganito tayo talaga. Never to stay. Maybe we just came to make each other happy." Their continual separation is painful yet it is what makes them human. Yet it is in others that we find happiness "when skies are gray." from the song "You are my sunshine." And the other won't know, "how much you love them."

Sensitive actors, a sober and mature Carlo Aquino and Bella Padilla essayed their roles in #meetmeinsaintgallen a well-crafted creation of writer director Irene Villamor too well, I felt for them.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Clothing and Equipment for a 14°C Trek

Only now did I have the chance to write about my expedition to the Cordilleras after Christmas for 4 days.

It was an alpine climb (almost) in the highest points in Luzon participated by 29 trekkers mainly from our club, the PAL Mountaineering Club. Climb covered 3 mountains-Mt. Panatoan (2,422 m ASL), Mt. Pulag (2,922 m ASL), and Mt. Babadak (2,589 m ASL). To reach the jump-off point, we took a 6-hour bus ride to Baguio and another 6-hour jeepney ride in the mountainous roads of Benguet. I headed 1 group of 10 members, most of them professionals. Average temperature was 14°C, manageable if not for the intermittent rains and gusty winds.

I was safely equipped for this type of weather. I brought the Columbia Outer Shell and the inner fleece jacket for use in the camp site and in the trail when it doesn't rain, the white thermal uppers and lowers which I used as my sleeping clothes and the Thinsulate gloves. I wore a Nike Dri-Fit long sleeve t-shirt for 4 days in the trail. When the temperature dropped and the rains poured, I put over as an overlay a breathable TNF Parka Jacket. I needed to recycle trekking clothes as I didn’t want to run out of dry outfits at the campsite. A Thorlo socks was all that I used for the duration of the expedition. All fabrics are breathable, quick drying and water and wind resistant (except for the socks and the thermals).

For sleeping, I set up a TNF Starlight, which provided a warm and dry shelter. Supplementing my energy requirements during the trek was a third of the mixed trail food pack from the U.S. It really provided instant fuel preventing temperature drops and fatigue.

We trekked for 4 hours on the first day, 9 hours on the 2nd day, 5 hours on the 3rd day and 4 hours on the last day.

It was a most fulfilling week, a good summary of all the climbs for the year. I did not experience any fatigue or shortness of breath. Our 9 meals were well planned, slept an average of 7 hours in the camp, would knock off at 9 and wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning. I only felt tired when I boarded the bus in Baguio to go back to Manila dawn of 31st December to reach Manila before New Year. After breakfast in the house at 7 AM with members of the family, I was soundly and deeply asleep for the next 6 hours, enough recharge to meet the 1999 New Year.

During the solitary moments in the trail when the temperature was dropping, I said some prayers, both for myself and for all of you that I committed to do so in my Christmas cards. I said thanks for the good health, the good fortune, the strong family support and the company of friends. I also asked the sacred mountain to clarify my personal and professional directions for the coming years. The Cordillera mountain is powerful enough to grant me that.

Happy 1999