There are numerous instances wherein it is easy to tell siblings apart. Differing preferences and the other manifestations of an age gap are the glaring signs, yet despite these contrasts, there are things that bring them together. From a favorite movie to a common ideology, these mutual interests forge a bond between siblings that will only get stronger through time.
The sporting world is replete of siblings who have been reaping success both individually and as a family. In the National Football League, Peyton and Eli Manning have won three Super Bowls in the past decade. Here in the Philippines, Jeron and Jeric Teng have become stars in their own right, a notion that was further solidified when the two brothers faced each other in the UAAP finals in 2013. Within the Lasallian community, DLSU Green Jins Kris and Kyle Uy have not only shared the same passion for taekwondo but also in the grind that it takes to be the best in the sport.
“We were always on the same team especially because my dad put his own gym together,” Kyle, the younger of the two, mentions, adding that Kris inspired him growing up.
“The only way I knew how to lead at that time was to be a good example,” Kris says when asked about his leadership style. “So by the end of training, I’d be tired [yet] I wouldn’t say it [so] I’d try harder because I knew that my siblings were watching.”
Though both began taekwondo at an early age, it was Kris who was set to continue competing in the long run. After being recognized as one of the top athletes in the US, he received an invitation to pursue taekwondo in the Philippines, something his coaches told him to seize because of the better opportunities available in Manila. After trying out, he was offered scholarships from both UST and La Salle. In the end, he chose to study in Taft because of his preference for a business school.
Though Kyle followed a few years later, he admits he needed more convincing to pursue the sport on the collegiate level. Through the encouragement of his dad, he went to Manila to try out with DLSU, UST, and the national team before choosing La Salle in the end.
“Number one, I didn’t want to have to fight [Kris],” the BSE-English Major explains. “Number two, my dad’s also from La Salle. I also chose La Salle [because] I feel there’s a lot of good things that I can do here as well.”
Being away from home can be tough for athletes, and for the Uy brothers, being thousands of miles away made the jump to college more difficult. They barely knew anyone at first and since life in the Philippines was something new to them, they realized that the transition wouldn’t be easy.
“For me it was very difficult and there were a lot of times where I wanted to go home,” Kris said. “Also at that time, I was having difficulty adjusting to the different training style so personally it took me three or four months before I wanted to stay and do this.”
“It wasn’t until I met more of [my] teammates and friends at school that I really started to get settled in,” Kyle recounts. “So about a month or so into it, that’s when I started to really adjust but the first two weeks definitely I was homesick and that was pretty [much a] character building experience.”
Amid all their achievements, both brothers admit that the best moments they shared were the times they competed together. Kris mentions that in the US, athletes represent themselves, an idea that results in an aggressive mentality that leads to players wanting to overtake those ahead of them. Competing in the Philippines however has given them the opportunity not only to bond as brothers, but also to ignite a sense of school spirit within them.
“Here [in the Philippines] it’s De La Salle versus Ateneo and De La Salle versus UE so it’s cool to be on the line up with Kyle,” Kris happily admits. “So, for me, just having Kyle there on the starting line up with me has been a lot of fun.”
“In the States there’s no carrying of school but here, school kind of depends on taekwondo so we’re in this together,” Kyle mentions. “It’s cool sharing this experience with him.”