Mariah Moore, Onaway High School Onaway Michigan Filipino Weapons Demo


To learn more about me, what I do, and what I live for, please read my older posts. There is a lot of insight into my life and my work, not just as a martial artist, but as a human being.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Never Give Up...

When life gets rough and the road is long
And it seems there is no light
When the dreams you had somehow seem lost
Remember to never give up the fight
When you look in the mirror and see a stranger take a closer look inside
Come out of the shadows and out of the darkness
There is no need to run and hide
Never give up on you
Never forget who you are
Always remember wherever you go
You’ll find that shining star
When you think about the life that you once had
A memory of the way things used to be
Remember that the things that were taken away
Are not the things that will set you free
Remember that you have the power within yourself
And a will that can never be broken
You will survive and grow stronger
This much I know for the angels in Heaven have spoken
Never give up on you
Never forget who you are
Always remember wherever you go
You’ll find that shining star
When you thought the path you chose
Would lead to you to where you want to go
Remember that sometimes the path must be changed
In order for you to grow
When you thought your life had no meaning
Remember that we all have our own special gifts
Look deep inside yourself and sometimes you’ll find
Those things you might have missed
Never give up on you
Never forget who you are
Always remember wherever you go
You’ll find that shining star
We all have the power to change our lives
We’re all born with greatness inside
Don’t let your fears hold you back from dreams
And don’t ever feel you have to hide
Climb that rainbow and reach for the stars
And find your shining light
Remember you’ll survive whatever life brings
And your spirit will shine so bright
Never give up on you
Never forget who you are
Always remember wherever you go
You’ll find that shining star

Copyright Donna Webster 2002

I found this poem online, and i thought that it said alot in a way that i cant, but i want to.

Christmas Season....

This Christmas season has opened my eyes and just taught me some things that i would like to share with you.
Well, as you all know, i live a very busy life with all the martial arts, school, and just teenage life in general. At times, things get really stressful, and it is so incredibly important to not lose sight of what is really important.

1. God

-then're hobby (martial arts)

So, we start with #1. God. I can tell you that i believe 100% that i could not be who i am today without god on my side. He walks with me, he lifts me up and gives me everything i could possibly need. But at the same time, i work for him. I teach his ways, and i preach his name. I want all of you to know that with GOD with you, you can do anything, and be anybody that you want to be. You just have to trust in him.
Now i know that some of you are saying.." i have prayed and prayed, and nothing has happened". Well, God has a plan, and all things happen for a reason, and in time, at the RIGHT time. He WILL answer, and miracles will happen.

Now, we go to #2. Family. I can tell you one thing. I have the best family in the whole world! I couldnt ask for better. They all put aside time, and they ALL help me accomplish my dreams. My mom does the P.R work, and gets my name out and in the papers and news. My dad takes me to all my classes, seminars, and all around the world for tournaments. And, last but not least, my little brother is always there encouraging me, he goes to all of my performances and tournaments.....and of course he tells all of his little friends " dont mess with me! my sister is a 4x world champion!!" :D and thats always gives me a laugh!
So, as you can see, my family plays a huge role from just a little 8 year old farm girl, to a world champion. They are always here for me, no matter how hard or stressful life can get.

I guess i just want you all to know that without God and my Family, i could not have done this. I owe it to them for keeping me going, and going strong.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Thankful Thanksgiving!

Isn't it amazing how God always has a plan and he puts it in place even before we have a clue .

A long long time ago when I was just starting out in martial arts I competed on the same local martial arts circuit as Craig Marks. Mr. Marks is now an instuctor at Gerald R. Ford Job Corp. To make a long story short, Mr. Marks was recently reading about me on the internet and invited me to speak and perform at Job Corp for his students. When I was there, I was introduced to Jean Pierre- a truly amazing human being who is beautiful, inside and out despite the difficulty life has presented him with.

We always have a houseful on Thanksgiving. Mom cooks too much, we all eat too much, get fat, and have lots of fun! This year was no different. We had all the usual crowd, but this time, we added someone very special. Everyone, Meet Jean Pierre! He is from Rwanda-Africa. When he was very young he lost most of his family to war. He came to the United States as a refugee when he was sixteen but really doesn't have a family. Well,it wasn't long and little brother took care of that! Noah has always felt outnumbered by the girls in the family. Even the cats and dogs are girls! He has always wanted a brother. After they hung out together for just a little while, it was unofficially official. Noah had adopted Jean Pierre and Mom wasn't far behind! Now he has a family, and we have a big brother! We're all Thankful to have Jean Pierre!

One thing leads to another and it all happens according to what God has planned.

Bedard Black Belt Center, Tae Kwon Do

Flying Side in a very tight space!
Grand Master Marcel Bedard and I

A student taking a minute to read and enjoy her certificate.

Instructor Dennis Bedard with one of his youngest students

Me, Sonnie, Master Bedard, Instructor Dennis Bedard

I think you can see where I'm headed with this!

On Tuesday, I had the honor of performing for and speaking to the students and martial arts family of Bedard Martial Arts Black Belt Center. It is a family owned and operated school. Grand Master Marcel Bedard, Mrs. Bedard, and 2nd Degree Black Belt Dennis Bedard are clearly dedicated to teaching all ages and especially children through positive interaction, reinforcement, and encouragement. I was invited to watch their very first belt testing in the new school and I was so impressed with the way in which each student was treated. Traditionally, proper technique is critical in early testing. Here, students are praised for their courage and confidence and for finishing what they started. Masters and teachers praise each individuals strong features and teach and direct without the pressure of unrealistic expectations. It is recognized when students do their very best and make the effort and try. Do not misinterpret what I'm trying to say. I think we can all agree that there are many "McDojo's" out there that turn out black belts like McDonald's does burgers because the focus is on quantity not quality. Bedard Black Belt Center is not one of them. With the wisdom of Grand Master Bedard to lead them, they are achieving something wonderful. They build amazing athletes with incredible skills (trust me! I saw for myself!) through positive and gentle instruction. Every student took something positive away from their belt testing. Every student felt more confident, more capable, and excited to learn more. A very strong sense of "Family" runs through the Bedard Martial Arts students, instructors, and their families. I wonder if the students and families know what a wonderful gift they have in the patient, gentle wisdom of Grand Master Marcel Bedard and his family. I can't wait to introduce Grand Master Bong Jornales and Grand Master Marcel. Different styles, same gentle yet powerful ways.

PS...I think I forgot to mention the young yellow belt students who jumped several people in a flying side kick to break a board held by Instructor Dennis Bedard all in a very confined space. I WAS STUNNED AND AMAZED at the skill level and control! I won't say "I can't do this...but I will say, I haven't learned this yet!"

Thank you to everyone at Bedards, for sharing your first testing and your martial arts family with me. I look forward to seeing you again in January!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Change for Jared" One good deed at a time, we can change the world!

Please keep Jared and the entire Sweet Family in your prayers.
Jared and I

On Friday Nov. 14th, I had the amazing honor of hosting an assembly for Jared Sweet. Jared is a 7 year old first grader at Murray Lake Elementary School(Lowell Schools) with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Together, with the help of the Lowell HS JV Cheerleaders and The Kids on Jared's Team at Murray Lake Elementary, we had an awesome time. I performed twice and got to introduce Jared and talk to over 450 kids, parents, grandparents, and teachers about Jared and his fight against Muscular Dystrophy in an effort to create awareness and help raise much needed funds for research to find a cure.

Jared, Me, the JV Cheer team and the Kids on Jared's team from Murray Lake Elementary school

He may be small, but Jared is the toughest, strongest and bravest boy I know. He's fighting a horrible terrible mean disease and he needs our help.
I know I can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone and one of my favorite things to do is to use the gifts that I have been given to help others, especially kids like Jared who need our love and support the most - it feels good to do my part and you can too!

If you'd like to help Jared in his fight against muscular dystrophy, ASK ME HOW! Sue Sweet(Jared's mom)"All money raised to help Jared will go to PPMD(Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy) to be used to find a cure because that's what Jared needs most- a cure." The Sweet Family in Blue(Jared in front!) Lowell JV Cheerleaders, and me!

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), is the largest nonprofit organization in the United States focused entirely on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. PPMD is dedicated to funding research, raising awareness, promoting advocacy, connecting the community, and broadening treatment options. PPMD Website:

What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy? Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood, affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 live male births (about 20,000 new cases each year). Because the Duchenne gene is found on the X-chromosome, it primarily affects boys; however, it occurs across all races and cultures. Duchenne results in progressive loss of strength and is caused by a mutation in the gene that encodes for dystrophin. Because dystrophin is absent, the muscle cells are easily damaged. The progressive muscle weakness leads to serious medical problems, particularly issues relating to the heart and lungs.

There is no cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chicago- Pacific Island Arts Tournament with Grand Master Nene Tortal and Grand Master Bandalan!!!

What an honor! Today I am very pleased to have been in the company of some very amazing and very respected legends in the Pacific Island Arts. Even better, when the tournament came to a close, all the Grand Masters and tournament judges came together to vote and decide on one person who would be "Top Dog!" To qualify, they chose only those placing first in every one of their entries.
I placed 1st in Forms, 1st in Stick Fighting, and 1st in Knife Fighting.
And, against all odds, the only female in the entire tournament- THEY PICKED ME!
The prize was priceless and I will treasure it always! Grand Master Tortal presented me with his personal sword! OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Girls! Remember when I posted a few months back and encouraged you to come and test your mettle here? This is why. This tournament is a small yet very clean and very fair event. If you can compete, YOU CAN COMPETE.
Thanks Guru John- For the invite. Thanks to all the judges and to Grand Master Tortal and to Grand Master Bandalan for believing in me. I had an amazing time and I am honored to have spent the day with you.
Very Special Thanks to my Grand Master, Bong Jornales- for sharing your love of the Philippine Martial arts, your wisdom, knowledge, and guidance with me. It is because of you that I am who I am today.

Me with Grand Master Tortal

Being presented with the Top Dog Award which was Grand Master Tortal's personal Sword!

Me with Grand Master Bandalan and Grand Master Tortal

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'M INSPIRED! Gerald R. Ford Job Corp September 29th 2008

Me with Mr. Williams

Presenting Mr. Marks with an inspirational photo- it says "I can't means I don't want to."


Me with the security students of Mr. Marks

Me with the student governement.

John Pierre and I...He's awesome-at everything! He speaks 9 languages and did amazing at the stick drills I taught him right away!

What a blast! Today I went downtown Grand Rapids and met some amazing and very special people.

You never know who's watching so always do and be your best!
Back when I was about 8 or 10 years old, a man by the name of Craig Marks traveled the local martial arts circuit at the same time I did. He remembered me competing and winning a lot of weapons events. Then about 6 months ago, he read about me online and followed my journey through the World Championships and read about my community service work. When I got home, he sent me an email and we hit it off and he invited me to speak and perform at the Gerald R. Ford Job Corp where he is a teacher. He said he was a little nervous about whether a 14 year old girl could handle it. HMMM. That sounded like a challenge I couldn't resist!

I prepared my "Speech" , I practiced my lines, I polished my performances...I was ready to inspire!

Guess what? The tables were turned and I got inpired! I met some very cool people. I can't tell you how amazing it is to look into the eyes of others who have incredible obstacles in their lives and see someone willing to work hard to make things better for themselves. These are people who have had very difficult very hard lives and they are making a difference. They are taking control of their lives and their own destiny. They are not taking "NO" for an answer. They are making things happen for themselves, inspite of it all. If you you're reading this and you know of a 16-24 year old that needs a chance-to get their GED and career training along with housing and food-send them to the Gerald R. Ford Job Center. This is a program for people who just need a chance to prove themselves and an opportunity to learn and grow. I found out they have all kinds of programs all over the country. The one here in Grand Rapids has a Security Division, Culinary Arts, Contracting, and more!

Anyway, I had a lot of fun. First I performed, then gave a motivational speech(I think everyone liked it too!) Then I did one more performance. I got to tour a little of the facility, saw Mr. Marks Security Center and then had breakfast with the student government. Thanks Dennis for a great breakfast and to everyone who helped prepare it! Quiche, bacon, danishes...OH MY! YUM!

Thanks Everyone for the warm welcome and the inspiration!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Prayers are answered!

Parker Baby is Cancer Free! He has a bad virus and he'll be better soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Prayers for my Parker baby!

Most of you know about my baby cousin Parker. He isn't even 2 yet and he is fighting Neuroblastoma, a very aggressive form of cancer. If you don't, please refer back to some of my older posts:

I am very sad today because I just heard that Parker's cancer might be back. He is very sick and isn't getting better and his eye is drooping again. He had several tumors before and one was behind his eye and caused his eye to droop before. This cancer is a horrible monster. He can develop tumors in days. He just had a scan about a month ago and it was clean. Please pray for our baby boy because he's in for a whole bunch of tests and stuff and we need him to be cancer free!

Saturday, September 13, 2008




We all know someone, this is what my hometown and my football team did to raise over $80,000 for cancer~

Grammy and Grandpa


Friday, September 5, 2008

I did it! Backhandspring Baby! Where's coach Ron?!?!

I know, I needs work, but hey! I didn't land on my head!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Nagasulong Tournament, Chicago Illinois October 12th, BE THERE!

To all my FMA Friends and Family: . Most of us have a desire and passion for the Filipino Martial Arts and also promoting the arts, increasing awareness, and in fellowship. This is your personal invitation to come, compete, make friends, and LEARN.

I am very excited to tell you about a very cool upcoming event. It is the Nagasulong Pacific Island Arts Tournament in Chicago Illinois on October 12th hosted by Midway Kodenkan Dojo and Guru John Bednarski at 5159 S. Archer in Chicago, IL
Questions? Please contact Guru John Bednarski at

I have done several gathering/seminars with Guro Bednarski and have also had the honor of competing in the Pacific Island tournament now known as the Nagasulong. What a blast! I CAN'T WAIT! This event is incredible and it is a great step forward in promoting and encouraging the way of the Filipino Warrior. I have some new friends in Michigan that practice FMA and I am very excited to share this event with all my FMA Friends and competitors. I've been to so many tournaments that are the same old same old: The judges are not familiar with the style and just plain don't understand or appreciate the Filipino Style. This is not one of them. The Nagasulong event has the benefit of some very skilled and very knowledgeable and World renown Masters(like Master Buzz, Guru Mushtaq Ali, and Guru Bednarski and Multi World Champion Guru Steve Van Harn...and I am very honored to finally be able to meet and learn from Grandmaster Nene Tortal!) Nagasulong does not discriminate or restrict anyone because of age or sex either. If you can compete, YOU CAN COMPETE! And I'm proof! I'm a 14 year old Girl and Last year I took first in the Women's knife fighting event but they didn't make me stop there. I only had one competitor and I was really wanting and needing a good challenge. So I competed in the men's event and in the Men's stickfighting event! I wasn't treated special or different or gently...just EQUAL. Nagasulong is an event for everyone...including WOMEN. If you're looking for a challenge and some good, clean, tough competition with educated and qualified judging, this is your opportunity.

OH, and the best bonus ever! Don't expect another trophy for your collection....if this is anything like last year's event, those who place are in for a real treat and possibly a new best friend(for those of us who love weapons- hint hint)

I hope the Grand Champion event will also cover weaponry because I'm going to BRING IT!

From Grand Master Nene Tortal Sr:

The Meaning of "Nagasulong",

NAGASULONG is an ancient word with multiple meaning, of my Ilonggo dialect. a) I have passed down to my advanced and intermediate students describing low, explosive, overwhelming attacks like those of an infuriated serpent or cobra. A portion of my Herada(groundfighting techniques). b) To progress in an agressive manner to ensure victory. in both war and in friendly comptetition.

My best wishes to all attending and participating. NAGASULONG!

Hello Mariah,

I also look very much forward to meeting you as well. Along with Steve and Mushtaq. It will be a true pleasure after all of the positive things I have been told about you all from Guro Dalawa John and Lakan Guro Isa Jose' Duenas and Guru Mike Snow. Everyone working together so hard together as a family with such positive attitudes is what is making this event so successful and pleasant for everyone envolved. For all arts, FMA, IMA and MMA alike.

God Bless you all, Grandmaster Nene Tortal Sr.

From Last Years Nagasulong! Check it out!
You'll see World Champion Steve Van Harn, Master Buzz Smith, Me at 1:52 and lots more! Please tell Guro John you saw it here!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Advance Newspapers Article

Local martial artist wins world championship in Philippines

by Advance Newspapers
Wednesday August 27, 2008, 3:15 PM

Mariah Moore of Alto recently captured a world championship in Eskrima, which was a demonstration sport in the Beijing Olympics.

ALTO -- While athletes from around the world are competing in the Olympic Games, Mariah Moore of Alto is also focused on the Gold. However, though her sport is a demonstration sport at the 2008 Olympic games, Eskrima is not yet recognized as an official sport of the Olympic Games.

From a very early age, Mariah Moore knew what her destiny was. She wanted to do martial arts. She began asking to do karate at the age of 6. At just 8 years old, she was enrolled in Ro-Ken Karate, and by the tender age of 10, she had traveled to China to train with the coaches of Jet Li and Jackie Chan. By 12, she was a two-time world champion.

Now, at just 14 years old, Mariah has made her hometown proud as the defending world champion and official member of the prestigious U.S. National Stickfighting Team competing at the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation 10th World Championships in Cebu, Philippines. For now, internationally, this is the highest level of competition there is for the sport of Eskrima.

Eskrima is the pride of the Filipino culture. It is to the Filipinos what baseball is to Americans.
It's what hockey is to Canada. And Cebu is the central hub for one of the most globally-feared systems of stickfighting in the world today: Doce Pares, the legendary "Twelve Pairs" system of Filipino stick, knife and empty hand combat. The system is based on point-scoring, but knockouts and surrenders are just as common at the master levels.

In July, 25 countries from all over the world met to test their mettle against the best fighters the world has to offer. With more than 600 competitors from around the world, the United States brought the largest delegation with 110 athletes.

Moore has earned a very befitting nickname. She is the "Eskrimadora" from America. When her name was called to perform, there was a rush of people to the stage. Could the light-haired, fair-skinned girl with the unassuming smile and the eyes of a doe really house the heart of dragon?

"The pretty girl stereotype comes to screeching halt when they see me fight, and actually I think it's an advantage because they never see it coming," Mariah said.

In her first area of competition, Traditional Multiple Weapons, Moore performed "Sayow"(to Dance) with her Talibong (Double Swords on ropes). She made her presence known as the swords flew and returned to her hands effortlessly as if an extension of her being. The judges' decision was unanimous, with Moore taking the gold for team USA and her third world championship title.

Later that evening, Moore competed in the Full-Contact Single Stick Fighting event. Still suffering a touch of jet lag and sleep loss through most of the first day of competition, her timing was off. She hammered through her first rounds in single-stick fighting, pushing through the eliminations until it was down to Moore and her USA teammate from Colorado, Erin Michaelis. In a 2-1 split, teammate Michaelis edged Mariah out for the gold medal.

With a day off in between the single- and double-stick events, Moore and her coaches used their time to study and evaluate the competition. The strategy worked and the payoff was sweet, but victory would not come easy. In the final round of eliminations, three contenders remained; Two from America and one from Australia. In a draw of cards, the Australian won the "by" round, leaving the two Americans to face each other once again. This was the same pair that had battled for single-stick silver and gold.

"(Erin) made it a point to tell me that she had studied my fights from regionals and nationals, and that she had trained all year just to beat me. That irritated me. I don't train like that. There aren't many girls who do this and I am the only one in Michigan, so I train with men that are sometimes a foot taller and outweigh me by 70 or 80 pounds. I think it gives me an advantage because I'm not intimidated by size, and I train to win by technique, speed, and power," Mariah said.

With a grudge and a smile, the Michigan farm girl was ready. As the reigning world champion in this event, double-stick fighting is what she came here for. It is a different animal, requiring a whole new level of skill and consciousness than single-stick fighting. The sticks clashed in a fury and the Colorado fighter was taken back by the force and accuracy behind Moore's strikes.

In the finals, Moore burned through three continuous rounds of double-stick combat. Moore disarmed and even broke one of her sticks on the body of her Aussie opponent. At the final bell, there was no hesitation: Mariah Moore, at 14 years of age, was now a four-time world champion.

"I really wanted to make my hometown, my family, and my country proud. I trained so hard for this and to know that I fought the best fighters in my weight class that the world had to offer and I won makes all my hard work so worth it. I couldn't be happier," Mariah said.

As the reigning world championship team, Team USA dominated the 10th World Championships, taking 44 gold, 35 silver, and 30 bronze medals. The Philippines came in second with 35 gold, 18 silver, and 19 bronze. The United Kingdom finished in third place with 12 gold, 11 silvers, and 15 bronze medals, while Australia wound up in fourth with 10 golds, three silvers, and eight bronze medals. Canada rounded out the top five with four golds, nine silvers, and five bronze medals.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August 22, West Michigan Whitecaps Game!

What a fun night!

I was asked to perform at the West Michigan Whitecaps game last night and it was the BOMB! I went on right before the game started and had a blast. The crowd loved it. I could hear comments from the stands, "I wouldn't mess with her!" There were several martial arts schools there. One was Standale Karate. Rick Heath is Sensei there and, he has been one of my judges on the local circuit many times. He stopped by to say "Hi" and said he couldn't believe how much I grew and I think he was surprised to see me do all those weapons! Anyway, I met some new friends and ate some Nachos and Popcorn and it was a great fun night! Noah was a little bummed that he didn't catch a Whitecaps Ball but he did get his picture taken with Crash and that made his day. This was my first baseball game and I have to say, they really go all out to make it a fun experience for everyone, especially the kids! They slung hotdogs into the stands, had contests, played music, and had kids throw out most of the first pitches.

Thanks Mr. Snodgrass and everyone at the West Michigan Whitecaps!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I worked and trained so hard for this event, in all sincerity and with complete respect, I believe I earned my medals. This makes me really sad.

Cebu Daily News / Sports

USA cruises to third straight overall title in Wekaf c’ships

Cebu Daily News
First Posted 09:42am (Mla time) 07/27/2008

A campaign that started off with a lot of promise ended in bitter disappointment.

Team Philippines failed to bring home the overall championship in the 10th World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation Championships, bowing to powerhouse United States at the tournament’s final day yesterday at the Ayala Center Cebu Activity Center.

Despite playing on its home turf, Team Philippines could not make the most out of the golden opportunity to take back the title it last held eight years ago, as it ended up with just 35 gold medals, 18 silvers and 19 bronze medals.

The USA, on the other hand, finished with a flurry, ending up with an astounding 44 golds, 35 silvers and 30 bronze medals to achieve a rare three-peat.


After starting off with 20 medals during the forms or “sayaw” competition, Team Philippines managed just 15 more gold medals in the tournament’s final two days.

Mere whispers of questionable judging at the start of the tournament turned into a deafening statement as the Supreme Grandmaster himself, Atty. Dionisio Cañete, rued the spotty officiating in this year’s tournament.

“It was the worst that I’ve seen. Kung dili lang jud ‘ta host, gubot jud siguro kaayo ni,” said Cañete in an interview yesterday.

He also regretted the fact that there were seven events that did not have any entries from the Philippines since the records of the players who were supposedly joining those said events were lost by the coach.

“Those were very strong players, medal hopefuls in fact. It was really a case of negligence and spotty officiating,” he added.

It was a fact that was not lost on expatriate Scott Slezak, who did his part by winning two gold medals for the country. “We didn’t fill enough divisions. In doing that, we were giving away precious medals.
And we need to make the judging clearer because some fights were very one-sided,” explained Slezak.

Cañete however, offered no excuses for the country as he admitted that the USA came ready to fight and defend their title.

The USA’s white-hot finish was anchored on their dominance in the sparring events, where they captured 12 gold medals in the single-stick division and then added three more in the double-stick event.

The setback did not dampen the host’s hopes of reclaiming the championship at the next World Championships, slated in Mexico City in 2010.

The United Kingdom finished in third place with 12 golds, 11 silvers and 15 bronze medals while Australia wound up in fourth with 10 golds, three silvers and eight bronze medals. Canada rounded out the top five with four golds, nine silvers and five bronze medals. Correspondent Jonas Panerio

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The 2008 World Championships, Cebu Philippines, Vacation in the Philippines, and my Rockin' HOMECOMING!

My Church!
The Ice Cream Caboose!

Showboat Automotive!
What a nice Welcome Home!

At my Surprise Party! They wanted to see what all the talk was about!
What a shock!
Me and my Twin! My cousin Michelle
Me, with a Tarzier!
Master Bong and I, The Chocolate Hills
Sweet Victory!
My World Championship Weapons Competition.

Well, as all of you know I just got back from the Philippines for the WEKAF 10th World Championships. While I was there I reached my dreams and beyond and won 2 Golds and 1 Silver. The Golds were in Multiple Traditional Weapons, and Full Contact Double Stick Fighting. I got the silver in the Single Stick Division. The competition was tough this year more than my last worlds because it was in the country that the Art originated, the people of the Philippines are great at what they do. In order to win the gold in double stick fighting, I had to first fight an American girl from Denver (Erin) who was much bigger than I. After I won that round, I had a bit to rest then went back at it with a girl named Bonnie from Australia. Both the girls were good, but i wanted it more, and i trained my heart out to go there and WIN! (thanks Steve for reminding me abt. that!) While it was amazing to win the world championships, touring the country was amazing too.
While there for three weeks we went all over with GM Bong who led the way. We saw places like Bohol, Cebu, Manila and Boracay. I saw things that would just blow you away. In the Jornales System, we have a form named Mayon, after the largest volcano in the Philippines. We went there and saw the exact thing that had inspired GM Bong to create that form! It was amazing, we went more than half way up the huge mountain and we just in awe. The view was breathtaking yet shocking at the same time. From there you saw how far apart the towns really were and to know that the people from there have to walk everyday to work for at least 5 miles. We also saw the tarsier, the worlds smallest monkey and got to hold and feed them, swam and snorkeled in the coral reef where the water could easily pass as glass because it is so clear. There I saw all the tropical fish, the beautiful coral, sea snakes, eels, starfish, and much much more! I also go a horrific sun burn while snorkeling. And for those who were wondering...YES I did eat Balot (2 to be precise). It was not my favorite thing in the world. Neither were the tiny feathers in my teeth afterwards - but it was not BAD. I am very glad that I took the time and had the guts to try the cultures delicacy and what they like to eat.
So being away from my Mom and Brother for three weeks, I was a little homesick at the end and I was glad to be home this past Tuesday. Little did i know, my mom had pulled together a whole bunch of my friends and family and they all met me at the airport as i got off the plane and they all chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A! over and over! ( they even announced that i was a world champion over the airport intercom!) Then, the next day we took a ride downtown Lowell, and we saw like 5-6 signs with my name on it saying congrats. The support of my small community is just amazing! Everyone cares so much and so many people are behind be cheering me on and it makes it all worth while!
BUT, thats not all!
On Saturday my Sensei's wife Jamie took me out to get my hair and makeup done at the salon for a gift to me for winning (which was AMAZING!!!), and then we headed to my house to bring me home after a long night of babysitting and helping with the garage sale :). But again little did I know, it was all a big set up. My parents had put together a big huge surprise party for me! There had to be 150-200 people there! I had a blast and I performed on the fly for everyone, but it was the best night a girl could ever ask for! We had a pig roast dinner, a bonfire, and FIREWORKS! Everyone was there to support me and congratulate me...and it felt amazing to know how many people are really truly behind me! Then, my 6 girlfriends and I slept in a tent in my backyard and everything was just the best! So, before i bring this to a close, I have to say thank you to everyone who helped me, believed in me, and kept me in your prayers! I could not have done all of this if it were not for all of you wonderful people! I cannot tell you how much I appreciate everything you do for me! God Bless YOU!~

Fighting for the Gold, Me=USA(BLACK) VS AUSTRALIA(RED)

The Church buried by Mayon's eruption...The people who took sanctuary are still in the church, buried.
Yes, I did!

Fight Tunes!

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North American International Karate Championships, Detroit Michigan Competition for Grand Champion

Kent County Youth Fair Talent Show 1st Place Performance - Mariah and Noel Loveless "Boom Boom POW!"

Detroit D'Lux Charity Challenge Martial Arts Tournament