A Different Kind of “Gera Time” by L.J. “The Fina Sisu MesTisu” Castro

FIGHT NIGHT FRIDAY! Rites of Passage 10 Bad Intentions  

MARCH 11, 2011

LJ Castro Official Trench Warz/Rites of Passage Fight MC
LJ Castro Official Trench Warz/Rites of Passage Fight MC


March 11, will be the tenth time Trench Tech holds “Rites of Passage”. It also marks the fifth time that it will be held at the Saipan World Resort. It marks a personal milestone for me, as this will be my 15th MMA event with Trench Tech. Though every event has been a memorable experience for I, Rites of Passage always has a special place in my heart, for it was at the third Rites of Passage where I announced my first Trench Tech event.

I remember that day visually, I remember how nervous I was because it was a crowd which I never tried working. I did my thing, walked in the ring and tried to hype up the crowd. Believe it or not, the very first time I said, “It’s GERA TIME!”, it didn’t even get much of a reaction. I also remember some members of the crowd having a hard time understanding what I was saying. A part of me never thought I’d do as much after that, but the bug officially bit me. And from that show, came fourteen more events where I was given the privilege to call the Marianas’ top fighters into battle.

Despite the many times I’ve done this, there’s something about each event that always seems to make me dig deep to come up with things unique. It could be the show’s theme, or a featured fight, but whatever the powers that be plan for the night, I usually work with with no hesitation. And when the end product comes up, it usually ends up becoming something people cannot stop talking about that weekend.

True, the job might seem to be a very uncomplicated one, but like every ring announcer can tell you, it’s always a challenge to work when you have dozens of people hanging on your every word. And as a seasoned public addresser, it’s a challenge I always look forward to.

And although I come into the eight sides with the usual mentality that I have for every event I do, this event takes more significant meaning. Especially with the year I’ve had. You see, from last year in March, all the way to now, things have definitely been hard on me. I found myself dealing with a lot of issues, stuff that a little guy wasn’t use to dealing with all at one time. I found myself at a point where I felt I lost my way, felt broken at times as well. I would find myself dealing with a lot of personal demons, to the point where I would be stressed out as far as a mile.

Despite the smile I would flash from time to time, I was hurting on the inside. But because of my work, I always tried to not let it get to me. My only way of absolving the stress was by working, and emceeing fell into that work. And one of those mic activities that helped to subdue that negativity was, announcing from first fight to main event inside the cage.

It seems ironic though, that an environment where blood is shed, bones are broken, and bodies are pushed to the limit, is an environment where I’m actually at peace in. Whenever I’m in there, whenever I’m at an event, it seems like the only problem I have is making sure my throat doesn’t crack. No matter what’s on my mind, it goes blank when my focus is on the fights. I use all that negativity, and turn it into positive chi.

I sometimes tell people that I do my best work when I’m feeding off emotions that, believe it or not, make me want to fight. And as time crept up on this event, it made me think of how things were in this last year. In these 365 days, I’ve dealt with, just like everyone, financial issues. I also had to deal with certain emotional and surprisingly, social issues as well. And what hurt the most, I lost a lot of friends this year, some due to mortality, and some due to fallouts. As painful as that was, the life I lived never gave me the time to sulk, and always tried its best to keep me strong when times felt low. It’s been a struggle, but a struggle that has a name. It’s called life. And despite all of that, there were some bright spots. And most of those bright spots, had a lot to do with emceeing for the fights. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would’ve been getting into fights as opposed to introducing them.

True, life is never going to be a bowl of cherries, and yeah, everyone, including me has been knocked down a few times by it. But like that famous movie quote says, life is always about “how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.” I remember telling a friend not too long ago that whatever fight you’re in, if it doesn’t kill you, you’ve already won it. And though it’s been a less than smooth road I’ve trodded on this year, I still came out in one piece, to emcee another day.

Its experiences like this which make all of us involved with Trench Tech, cherish the phrase “Yamato damashii”, which gives us the strength to overcome any and all adversity and say to ourselves, “I am a champion”.  I cannot say that things will come out rosy, but these challenges I’ve faced, can only make me stronger. And when that microphone is in my hand, and I’m in the center of that ring, pain is something that has nothing on me.

So, the moment to say “it’s GERA TIME,” is here. Up and comers will get their chance to make a name for themselves and battle to fulfill a dream of becoming the future of Marianas MMA. For me, it will be a different kind of “gera time”, for I go in there not just to say names, but to be thankful I got through a lot of obstacles, a lot of ups and downs, and I’m back for another round. Big shouts to Cuki, Tarkong, Kato-san, Coach, Randy, and the entire fambam for the friendship they’ve given to me. That always has been a driving force to the job I do for this promotion. If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be the Fina Sisu MesTisu that I’ve become. Saina ma’ase che’lus!

When that bell rings, all the emotions that fuel the fire will turn themselves into energy. There’ll be no problem to bug me, and no challenge to shake me. I just gotta hope that I don’t stutter in between sentences.

I’ll see you inside the eight sides!


“The Fina Sisu MesTisu” LJ Castro


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