Kevin Belingon waited for 16 long years before he garnered a promotion to blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Prof. Gibran Langbayan presided over Belingon’s surprise moving-up ceremony on Monday, April 10 at the Maharlika Martial Arts Center in Baguio City.
Originally a wushu sanda practitioner, the former ONE bantamweight titleholder began his journey in “The Gentle Art” in 2007, the same year when he turned professional in mixed martial arts.
“Being promoted as a blue belt in BJJ is a big milestone for me. It gives me the fire to do more and continue the hustle. I will work hard and enjoy the process,” Belingon told Tiebreaker Times.
Belingon rededicated himself to jiu-jitsu this past December under the tutelage of Langbayan, who is recognized as the first black belt in the Cordilleran region after receiving his promotion from Prof. Leonardo Fernandes in February 2022.
Langbayan has been a consistent podium finisher in various international tournaments since 2017, hauling six gold medals to come along with three silvers and two bronzes.
Moreover, Langbayan founded the Baguio Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in early 2022 and opened the doors of his dojo to ex-Team Lakay members such as Belingon, Eduard Folayang, Joshua Pacio, and Honorio Banario.
Despite only having trained with the decorated grappler for four months, Belingon feels humbled by Langbayan’s decision to elevate him to blue belt.
“With Professor Langbayan believing in my capabilities, I must say it’s uplifting. Having said that, I am aware that I still have a long way to go, but we’ll surely get there as we continue to put in the work,” the 35-year-old Kiangan, Ifugao native mentioned.
Belingon cannot deny that earning a belt with a much darker shade from the previous one is what he needs at the moment to regain his confidence.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I will just leave it at that,” he said.
“The Silencer” has lost five-straight matches since relinquishing his possession of the ONE bantamweight championship to Brazilian rival Bibiano Fernandes in March 2019.
He plans to return to the Circle later this year.