Saturday, December 4, 2010
I always have such a wonderful time at the AIM tournaments! I did 2 performances
(one to "Let it Rock" by: Kevin Roudolf and the other to "Eye of the Tiger" by: Survivor).
I met tons of new people, caught up with old friends and watched all of the kids do their thing in the ring!
I am so honored to be a part of such a great tournament. The kids participate in not only the traditional forms and fighting, but also compete for best kick, show what you know, danger alley and walk with confidence! It is a great way to build confidence and have a great time.
CONGRATS TO ALL OF THE KIDS WHO COMPETED TODAY! You all did amazing :)
I would like to thank Dave Johnson for inviting me to all of the tournaments to perform. Like I said, I always have a great time and am thankful I am a pert of the fun!
God Bless! I hope everyone has a VERY merry CHRISTmas*
Friday, November 26, 2010
A few weeks back, Rob at KWON set a date, told me to invite my coaches and meet at the KWON store for a big surprise So not knowing what to expect I had ALL of my instructors and coaches from the very beginning. (Sensei Aaron Bailey, Grand Master Bong Jornales, Mr. Jason Hoard, Mushtaq Ali, Steve VanHarn, and Grand Master Marcel Bedard and Kyosanim Dennis Bedard) When we got there I swear I was more nervous than I had been in a LONG time! Then, Rob unveiled a whole new begining to my martial arts career..
I AM THE COVER GIRL FOR THE *KWON USA CATALOG*!!!!
When we started talking they took the time to answer my questions, give me some advise, and "look after" me while I was there. That made all the difference. I knew right then and there that I wanted to train there. They would be the ones who would help me with not only flexibility (yes, I know I am already flexible..but I wanted to do more!) and the fancy TKD kicks, but also FIGHTING! I honestly have nothing but good to say about all of the students/families, Master and Kyosanim, and the dojo as a whole! With only training with them for about 2 months, we have accomplished so much! And WATCH OUT!, we are working on some pretty cool things as we speak!! I feel like a part of their family.
I LOVE THE BEDARD BLACK BELT CENTER! :)
Saturday, October 9, 2010
"You've got to follow your passion. You've got to figure out what it is you love--who you really are. And have the courage to do that. I believe that the only courage anybody ever needs is the courage to follow your own dream" Oprah Winfrey. Ever since I can remember, martial arts has been my passion. Growing up, people ridiculed me and put me down for doing what I loved and pursuing my passion. They stopped talking to me when I won world championship titles and told me I could never make it and make it big. Well, proving them wrong and overcoming those obstacles was not easy, but I did it. At the age of 6, reality began to set in for me. It didn't matter how much I begged or what I did, my parents were not going to drive me to the other side of town for classes. But I never gave up and I never gave in, even back then. I was inspired. Inspired to be just like the great Bruce Lee, not only in the sense that he was, by far, the greatest martial artist that has ever lived, but also in the sense that he did all he could to help others and do for those who had nothing. He was determined to change the world. As for me, I kept on my parents for 2 years until a Karate Dojo opened up right here in my hometown. The agreed to enrolled me, I saw my chance, and I ran with it!
I train an average of 5-6 days a week for at least 2-4 hours a day and I have been at it for the past 9 years. Throughout my training I have endured things that most people will never go through in a lifetime. I’m only 17. My Sensei (karate instructor) came here directly from Tennessee and was the toughest coach I have ever had. If my stances were not low enough, he would kick my legs so hard that the stance would automatically go low. If I wiped the dripping sweat from my face, I would have to do push ups until he said stop, and if we did it again it was double what we did before. Yes, this kind of training is extreme and painful, but it is what I love and what kept my drive going. I can distinctly remember at just 9 or 10 years old Sensei would fight me like he fought the other adult black belts, and it was brutal. Painful. A true test of body mind and spirit. I fell on my butt and got knocked down numerous times, and have had black eyes, bruises and broken bones, but through it all I always got back up and tried again. In competition, I've won some and I've lost some, but I always learn something. This is my passion. It's in me. I do what I love and I love what I do.
Still today, even though I have achieved amazing success, I am met with obstacles, big ones. And when I look them in the eye, sometimes it's intimidating. It's ominous. And, if I let that feeling creep in, I feel as if I’ll never be able to overcome them. And I let that feeling last for about a minute. And then I push it aside and remember who I am. But I do. I just do. For me, "I can't" is not a part of my vocabulary. I refuse to say "I can't." I don't say "I can't" because what I can't really means is, "I don't want to."
Even as a child of just 10 years old, there were those who taunted me and wanted to see me fail. Not just my peers, but adults too. Well, I proved them all wrong. The first big achievement was in middle school when I went to China to train with Jet Li and Jackie Chan’s coach, and again when I won my first 2 World titles in 2006. It wasn't always easy to dig deep, hold my head up high and keep pushing forward, but I did. And look at me now! Now, I made my very first martial arts dream come true. And I'm only 16! I am a black belt! Now, I am an 8 time World Champion and I hold many national titles. I don't say that to brag. I say that to prove that with hard work, dedication, determination, you can make your dreams come true. And I'm all the proof you need. Now, I have a new goal. Now, I will work hard to reach others and share the lessons and hard times that I have endured to inspire them. I want them to know that they can do anything that they set their mind to if they are willing to work hard and NEVER give up.
I'm a regular kid, from a little tiny town in rural Michigan. A regular kid from the midwest U.S.A. But I'm also a kid who dared to dream and dream big. I dared to work hard, look the obstacles in the eye, and I made my dreams come true, and I’m not stopping now. This is just the beginning for me.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Everybody's Got Talent @ Kellogg Auditorium - (Aug. 13th)
Just a few days before the event, I was contacted to see if I would be the special guest performer for this event. Not knowing what it was all about, I did some asking around and it turns out it was a VERY important event that I would not pass up in a lifetime. ALL of the procedes from the talent show would go to benefit the "Fun on the Run" - a community inclusive recreation program. This exciting program offers FREE, structured, neighborhood based activities at a variety of sites throughout Calhoun County. CIR staff will provide hours of FUN for youth of all ages and abilities --this mobile unit is fully equipped with hundreds of individual and team activities including art instruction, fitness training, team building and recreational options. Activities foster new friendships, explore many cultures, build leadership skills, promote sportsmanship and places emphasis on having FUN.
The event was entirely put on by kids and turned out to be a HUGE success! I had so much fun, not only performing, but meeting so many wonderful people from local kid performers to the Adults helping run the show, to the people being directly effected by this event. It was utterly moving to see how no matter how different everyone was, we all came together to help make a difference*
BEST SPONSORS IN THE WORLD!!! *KWON MARTIAL ARTS SUPPLY*
IHF 8th Triennial Hapkido World Championships @ Kellogg Arena- (Aug. 5th - 8th)
A few months back Master Hee Kwan Lee, USA Chairman of IHF, invited to me perform and compete at his tournament. To be quite frank, I was completely honored to be a part of this history in the making. This was the first time ever that the World Championships were to be held outside of the birthplace of Hapkido, Korea. This was truly one of the most classy and well run tournaments I have ever been to! It all started on Thursday, the 5th for the opening ceremonies of the tournament. With a dozen countries there including Korea, USA, Gremany, Italy, Mexico, etc. the pressure was on when it was my turn to perform and do my Arnis demo! After I was done and the ceremonies came to a close, ALL of the countries and teams wanted pictures with me! It was so great! Saturday and Sunday was when the nerves began to rumble, COMPETITION TIME! I competed in Womens Black Belt in the Open hand (form: Mayon) and Weapons division (weapon: Tali-Bong) representing the Jornales System, and KWON USA. There were so many great competitors in my division! The verdict....TWO GOLDS!!!! :)
(THAT MAKES 8 WORLD TITLES!!!)
Also, Saturday night I was invited out to the street party after the tournament to..TWIRL FIRE!! So many people came out and I had an absolute ball!! I did two demos and when the crowd called for an encore, I performed to music from the live band!
Through and through I had an amazing and wonderful time at the IHF World Championships! It was and outstanding event and cannot wait for three years to pass so I xan compete with the USA Team in KOREA!!
Monday, July 26, 2010
As most of you know, this past week my Dad and I flew to Mexico for the WEKAF 11th World Championships. This was my third world tournament, and my Dads very first. As soon as we got into the resort, we could tell the heat was going to be a HUGE issue to deal with as we knew we would be competing in a cement building with no air-conditioning..so we got straight to practicing every morning and night until the tournament started! And boy was that to our advantage because the heat and humidity was almost unbearable!
The first day of competition was designated for forms. I competed with the Tabak-Patilim in the Traditional Multiple Weapons division and won a silver medal, and Dad competed with the the form Bahai (the form that I used at my very first worlds in 2006!) and won the gold! But that was not the end of the day for us, we still had to do the team form competition! This was the first time ever for our team, The Jornales System, to compete in this division at the world championships. In the end, we tied with the reigning 5x world champion team, and after a show of hands we got the silver. That was such a good day!
The next day was fighting day!! (Thursday) It started with my single stick competition. This is the division that I have wanted to win ever since my first worlds, and I decided this would be the year I get the gold! (Especially for Mushtaq Ali because we have worked and worked on it!) I ended up in the lightweight division, and man o' man did I fight my heart out! I WON THE GOLD!! Soon after that I had to fight in the double stick division...my favorite!! At that point I was the reigning champion for the past two world championships and I was not about to lose that title! I fought and fought and, yes, I GOT THE GOLD!!
So in the end I took home 2 GOLD and 2 SILVER, and my Dad took 1 GOLD and 1 SILVER for Team USA!!! I am so proud of my Dad for doing so well at his first world tournament!!!
But before I close, I want to take a moment to thank all who continue to follow, support and pray for me throughout all of my endeavors. You all fuel my passion and drive and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that!
Also a special thanks to Steve VanHarn, Mushtaq Ali for helping me on my fighting skills and techniques, for Grand Master Bong Jornales for teaching me everything that I know in the Philippine Martial Arts, my family for always being there for me and following me no matter how high I may reach for my dreams, and to KWON Martial Arts for being the best sponsor an athlete could ever ask for. I could not do what I do without you guys!
Mariah...6 Time WEKAF World Champion!!!
P.S..I am so very sorry I did not post any stick fighting pictures. They ALL turned out blurry :(
Friday, July 2, 2010
It's summertime in West Michigan and all the natives know what that means!
Party in the park with Maranda and WOTV 4!
We kicked off this years park parties in Cedar Springs and OH, what fun it was! The WOTV park parties feature FREEEEEEEEEEE EVERYTHING! Free Food including full lunches to anyone 18 and under, Free Games, Free Rides, Free Entertainment(ME Included!) and More! What more could you ask for!
The second park party of the season was held at Lamar Park in Wyoming. This is such a nice park. They even have a water park complete with all kinds of water sprinklers for the kids to play in!
People always ask me, "What's your favorite part about the park parties?" I have to say, without hesitation, its all the new friends I meet every year and of course...I would be remiss if I did not tell you that I have made long lasting friendships at the park parties too! I always look forward to seeing the Colbert Family who you know as NEXT II NONE! I love them all right from Mom and Dad Colbert, Trent, Michael, and Durell and of course - MA GIRLS!
The next park party will be at the Barry County Expo Center on July 8th. You can look forward to seeing Jessica Price, Next II None, and lots of other youth entertainment, including ME!
SEE YOU THERE!
On Friday June 25th I had the the great honor of walking in the opening ceremonies of the Meijer Michigan State Games parade of athletes carrying the American Flag! I met some awesome athletes and hung out with the Tae Kwon Do people for the evening. We watched the torch come in, carried by East Kentwood Athletes, and then the flame was lit by hockey Olympian Mike Knuble. We then were treated with a concert from American Idol's Matt Giraud!
Saturday was a great day too! I had the great honor of speaking and performing a Filipino Martial Arts Demo for the Tae Kwon Do tournament. Thanks so very much to my great sponsor, KWON USA for the referral! I made lots of new friends and got to meet amazing athletes, Masters, and Grand Masters.
It's always a great honor for me to be able to share my story with everyone. It is my hope that others can see me, know that I'm your average American girl and if I can make my dreams come true with hard work and dedication, they(YOU) can too! Dare to dream BIG, Believe in yourself, and never, ever, say "I Can't."
Sunday, June 6, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, Rob at KWON introduced me to a very special man. His name is Grand Master Hee Kwan Lee. He invited me to perform at his World Hapkido Tournament in Battle Creek this August (please contact Master Lee @ firstname.lastname@example.org if interested in competing). This Saturday, there was a pre-trial national tournament held to prepare for the World Tournament...and since I will be competing for them later on in the year, I thought I would go check it out on my way home from my performance in Detroit (see earlier post). I saw so many amazing athletes, met many Wise Masters, and even ended up performing! (Thank you so very very much to everyone who held boards for me!)
I had so much fun at the tournament and enjoyed talking to everyone!
I would like to give a very special thank you to Grand Master Lee for everything! The event was spectacular, the food was delicious, and I LOVE my new T-shirt. I am very much looking forward to continue to work with you, and very excited to perform at your World Championships this August.
Gaurdian Martial Arts
Me with Clarity Patton
Signing autographs :)
Performing...(in a KWON uniform, which may I say are the BEST in the world!)
Yesterday was so exciting! I was invited to perform at the 2nd Annual Metropolitan Lincoln Mercury Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fundraiser and Classic Car & Truck Show in Garden City Michigan. I had so much fun watching the Guardian Martial Artists perform...Great job guys, and enjoying all of the classic muscle cars. But most of all, I LOVED performing, meeting many wonderful people, and showing them what I do! The best part of the whole event though is that the proceeds from the show benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation! So not only was it a great day, it was all for a great cause.
A special thank you to Clarity Patton for coordinating the event and inviting me to come out and join in on all of the fun! You did an awesome job, and I speak for everyone when I say, the event was marvelous!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Northern Michigan never disappoints! Since I was just a little kid I've visited, spent vacations, holidays, and summers in northern Michigan. My mother grew up in Onaway and she's always made sure I was in touch with my roots.
This past weekend I was given the great honor of performing, speaking, and doing a seminar for Alpena's Thunder Bay Martial Arts. They have several school outlets across northeastern Michigan and Saturday those schools met in Hillman Michigan for the Thunder Bay Martial Arts Tournament.
Several months ago I received an email from Sensei Dan Schackmann and Mrs. Schackmann inviting me to come and share my love for the arts with everyone. Of course, you know what my answer was! I couldn't wait to get back up north. I am always excited and grateful to be able to reach out to other young people in hopes of inspiring them to believe in themselves and do great things. I hope that they will see themselves in me and know that I'm not special or gifted. I'm a regular kid from a small town. I'm one of them and I'm proof that with hard work, motivation, and determination, dreams do come true.
It was such an honor to be able to meet and speak to all those kids who have worked so hard and share my passion for the arts. I saw amazing families supporting their kids and grand kids and giving them hugs and praise and support, win or lose all of which are priceless and I say that from experience. I saw parents and students who truly understand that winning isn't everything. Loving what you do, and doing what you love is! I even got to hang out with some of my favorite fans! Zack and Raena!
Mr. Schackmann opened the tournament by saying only "WATCH THIS." That was my cue! My first performance was to Evanessence ~ Bring me to life. Fun! Not too wild, a nice ice breaker to get everyone pumped up and ready to compete. I spent the day meeting lots of fun people, taking pictures and signing autographs. At noon I got to rock the house to Motley Crue! This one was fast paced and lots of fun. Got to swing my swords, break some boards, and even broke out my sticks! Later on we went back to the dojo and spent a couple hours doing basic Eskrima stick drills, teaching some terminology, and fundamentals of Filipino martial arts. It was a great seminar. I truly enjoyed myself and the opportunity to share just a little of the art that I have come to love so very much. I thank my Grand Master Bong Jornales for sharing his skills, wisdom, and love for the art with me. I am grateful and honored to give others just a peek at what I have been so blessed to have been given. I look forward to a return visit and seeing everyone again! Thanks for a wonderful day!