The Warrior Teacher #AskWednesday

Welcome back to #AskWednesday!

Today, we’ve got Lynette Carpio-Serrano. We went to the same high school, took up the same bachelor’s degree, and then worked for the same college radio where her monicker, Glitch, came from. We were even in the same archery class and I know for a fact that she got high grades for her precision in shooting arrows. I was secretly envious.

I mean, I knew she was already brainy, and she sang beautifully with the school chorale, but she was great with arrows, too?!!! THEN, she’s blessed with that wonderful radio voice…So. Unfair. #BitterMuch…Kidding aside, she is currently helping shape younger minds as a faculty member of the UPLB College of Development Communication.


Lynette doing intense Muay Thai training. Copyright © Augusto Lee Mendoza

This is Lynette, in her own words: “I write. I take pictures. I teach. Occasionally, I kick and punch. Lately, I’ve been making comic strips.” (2011) She’s added “kick and punch” in her wonderful resumé. And that is why she is here, to share a bit about her love for Muay Thai. (BTW, will add another pic soon so you can see her better, he he) I never would have guessed she’d take Thailand’s hard-style martial art (MA); heck, I never would have guessed she’d take any martial art at all! But in this brief interview, she proves me wrong…

1. What made you decide to take up martial arts? Who or what made you decide on your chosen MA?

My love affair with Muay Thai started way back in 2010. I only tried it because a bunch of girl friends from Baguio invited me to join them. I wasn’t expecting to have fun, and I never really saw myself as someone who would learn to love martial arts. The training was difficult, but something in my head clicked.

So I came back a couple more times. Then I signed up for a monthly membership and started training two to three times a week. When I moved back to my hometown, I wanted to continue training. I asked around and found a gym with a Muay Thai team that offered training. That’s the Pugilist Muay Thai – Biagtan. I’ve been practicing on and off since.

 2. Why choose Muay Thai in particular? What do you like about it or get out of it?

It was completely by chance that I tried out Muay Thai. I guess it could have been Tae Kwon Do, or Judo, or any other martial art. I tried it out of curiosity, and realized that it was good exercise (it combines cardio, strength and flexibility). It’s also a good way of clearing my head and managing stress.

It’s brutal–I’ve lost count of the sprains and bruises I’ve had to recover from (but thankfully no broken bones)–but it’s also taught me that physical stress can be a productive thing. It  can make you stronger and faster.

3. What does your MA require of its artists? What separates it from others?

I think it requires the same of its practitioners as other martial arts: discipline, humility, and a willingness to push yourself to your limits. What makes MT different from other martial arts is, they call it the art of eight limbs: we’re taught to kick, punch, and also to use our elbows and knees to strike our opponents.

4. How has it helped you? Have you been able to use your knowledge/skills? In what way?

I’ve always been a pretty clumsy person. MT has improved my body coordination and sense of balance. It’s also raised my tolerance for pain. But if you’re wondering if I’ve ever had to hit or kick someone in self-defense, thankfully, no. It’s helped me in other ways though: it’s good exercise, and it’s good for my mind.

MT was also helpful because I was physically fit when I got pregnant. Although I had to stop because of doctor’s orders. I didn’t have such a hard time shedding the post-pregnancy baby weight. Went back to MT when my little boy turned two, and now I’m getting stronger and more agile again. (Ed. That’s good advice. I actually want to do the same and train for MT, but some things I don’t have right now. I haven’t hung up the gloves yet, though, figuratively speaking…)


Science or art? You decide

5. Other people say MAs are violent. Has anyone ever said that to you? Do you agree? If yes, why do/did you continue?

You don’t have to know a martial art to be violent. I guess what I’m trying to say is, knowing MA doesn’t automatically make a person violent. If anything, it teaches you discipline and respect for other people. It also teaches you to control yourself. If you’ve been on the receiving end of punches, kicks, and strikes, and if you see the kind of damage they do in the ring, you know it’s not something you take lightly.

6. Are you trying out other MAs? Or any other MA you’d like to try? Why?

At the moment, no. MA training takes time, and at the moment, I have to balance taking care of my family, work, etc. I try to train a couple of times a week, but there’s just not enough time to learn a new MA.

That dance at the start is the Wai khru. Now, I know it’s an exhibition, but that girl is still bad***!!!


According to Lynette, Muay Thai is about “discipline, humility, and a willingness to push yourself to your limits”…I think this guy here is Muay Thai artist and Ong Bak movie star Tony Jaa based on the look


Thank you so much, Lynette, for granting us an interview!!!

For more interviews, just do a search on “#AskWednesday”. Do check them all out!

The TKD Princess #AskWednesday

As I mentioned two weeks ago, every two weeks, it’s going to be #AskWednesday, when I post interviews I’ve done and other interviews I find interesting on the Net. I am not looking for just a particular type of interviewees or writeups or topic. It’s going to be stuff and people that interest me because, hey, that’s what my blog’s about. I never always stick to just one topic because not every reader likes this or likes that–I’d like to make, at least, one person go away smiling or feel it wasn’t a waste of his/her time.

martial-artsFor this week, I am posting a loooooong-overdue interview that I did a few years back with the intention of posting here. It was to be about three different martial artists I know. Can you tell I like martial arts (MA)? One of them, I think he said yes, then later on ignored my questions. Another answered me very well, but I had a hard time translating his deep Filipino words, I wasn’t sure if I got them right (we’re both Filipinos but he’s not Tagalog like me so I didn’t want to misinterpret his Tagalog). I will try to review/re-edit then ask his permission to post one of these days.

Today, I introduce to you my long-time friend, “TKD Princess”. I wish I could tell you her real name, but she specifically told me she didn’t want it revealed and I respect her decision and reasons. I call her that because she is a Tae Kwon Do (TKD) artist. I’d rather not mention what belt color to keep her anonymous. TKD, by the way, is Korea’s well-known MA. Sorry, no personal pics.

Here goes…


Okay, this looks a lot more like me than my friend, LOL!!!!!

1. What made you decide to take up martial arts?

I always wanted to learn a martial art, that began when I was six years old, but my parents didn’t allow it and back then, there weren’t clubs available. I also understood their concern, too, since I was always sickly, so years had to go by before I was physically able to take up one.

2. Who or what made you decide on your chosen MA?

No one in particular influenced me to take up TKD. I eventually gravitated to TKD on my own since there wasn’t a club then that was teaching Kung Fu, which I wanted to learn when I was kid. I was entranced by all the Saturday afternoon Chinese movie specials, TV series, and movies revolving around a particular martial art form.

I bought a lot of martial arts magazines before so it helped me get acquainted with the style techniques–I read interviews from instructors overseas and on what activities a dojo or club usually got involved in.

3. Why choose TKD in particular? What do you like about it or get out of it?

I chose TKD because it was the only available MA being taught in town that time. I didn’t like going very far to learn a martial art and I was starting to get drawn to this type, anyway. I also felt I was going to be happy learning this one. I think, any form of martial art, in my case, TKD…I like how it taught me to calm my chaotic mind. The training helped me improve my concentration, discipline, endurance, stamina, perseverance, integrity and awareness.

4. What does your MA require of its artists?

It teaches indomitable spirit, develops fair play, trains one to be a good leader, gives a sense of balance between oneself and the environment. Yes, it’s a philosophy that I noticed when learning the forms – the TKD basic tenets.


I know the original Karate Kid was a guy, but don’t do a Ghostbuster-a-bustin’ on me and ask me why I preferred showing Hilary Swank instead

5. What separates it from others?

I believe each martial art is different when it comes to forms, styles, and sparring rules. TKD employs close fists and flying kicks. Karate, I believe is open-hand, and I don’t know what else. I think you need to ask a Karate practitioner. What separates TKD from others could be the belt levels and the complexity of the styles and forms. I haven’t studied a different form to compare, but I heard Karate has more complex forms, but I’m not sure.

6. How has it helped you? Have you been able to use your knowledge/skills? In what way?

The results of the training helped me keep watch of my diet, focus on the importance of regular exercise,…it was a confidence builder…[it] improved my perseverance  and developed in me an indomitable spirit should situations just had to hurtle the wrong way for me. I hope in the future, I won’t be using my skills in street-fighting.

7. Other people say MAs are violent. Has anyone ever said that to you? Do you agree? If yes, why do/did you continue?


The balance of Yin and Yang

No one said that to me. I don’t agree, but it certainly falls on the choices of the individual. Did that person just enter a martial art school just for bragging rights to his friends, to make him feel superior amongst his friends?

It is sad to hear that an individual uses the skills learned for violence against others. This is not coinciding with the spirit of a martial art. TKD develops integrity, humility, courtesy, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. I continued with TKD because I wanted to fulfill a childhood dream of mine.

8. Are you trying out other MAs? (please specify) Why?

I only took TKD.

9. Any other MA you’d like to try? Why?

I would like to try Wushu or Tai Chi because they’re soft-style martial arts, quite different from TKD which employs hard-style martial arts.

10. What made you continue or stop doing Martial Arts?

I unfortunately stopped training when I started working full-time. It was, I think, a wrong move for me and I wish I had continued even if just by going through the forms and kicking forms for regular exercise maintenance. So now, I’m starting the slow process of getting back to it. [Ed. Since this interview was done a few years back, we’ll have to find out if she has gone back to training]

11. Any tips and advice for aspiring martial artists?

If one plans to learn a martial art, it would be best to check out the nearest gyms in the area that are offering different styles or whatever is available, choose the top three martial arts you feel you’d like to learn, and then ask if you can be permitted as an observer during their routine workout.

Get acquainted with the training session because it helps in conditioning you mentally before getting into the training itself. It also pays researching online for the martial arts you want to check out. It helps getting used to seeing people tumbling on the floor, going on weird postures while executing forms, etc., just to lessen the self-consciousness or awkwardness. Of course, before executing a simple form, the instructor will always start from the basic. YouTube can be an avenue for you to view forms, workout routines and competition circuits.


Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change V.2

I must say, this one, big-planning thing has worked out for me…Here I am again, getting back in the Resolutions game. Why not? Like I always say, what is wrong with trying to be a better person? Isn’t that what resolutions are about? I don’t want to think of myself as a quitter; resolutions are not for quitters. You try and try until you solve a problem or issue. You resolve. You don’t resolve what’s already solved, just like you don’t fix what is not broken.

Quoting from last year’s post, I still believe in resolutions, despite my unexpected downward progress after (although how that can be called as progress, I don’t know). As a whole, to be honest, I am disappointed at the way I lived and handled my 2013 especially at the latter part. Then again, New Year is always the perfect time to turn over a new leaf once more, isn’t it?

So without further ado, here’s my updated New Year’s Resolutions list, what I call “Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change”:


1. Less bad temper, more understanding (read: don’t be too sensitive!), less bossy attitude. My bad temper really lessened a lot, so I hope I can still lessen it more, if not completely rid of it. There were still some little outbursts here and there. I really should work on understanding people more, too. I am a bit confused on whether I achieved that last year or not because on the one hand, I know I was more understanding, ergo, the temper improvement. On the other hand, I became sensitive at the latter part of the year, so much so that it negatively affected my overall view of things and of myself. That tells me I still lacked a lot in that department. I was the one who suffered most anyway, so if I can fix that great character flaw, it would be like hitting two birds–others and myself–with one stone. 

Less bossy attitude: I achieved that last year. Time now to polish.

2. Less unhealthy foods. This was last year: “Translates to (a) less fat so less red meat and eating at least white meat as alternative, (b) more fruits, veggies and fibers, (c) minimal sugar, and (d) avoidance of carcinogens as much as possible.” A, check, but work on it more. B, check, but work on it more. C,…with sweet treats at work, this is becoming difficult. But okay, it is admittedly manageable. So carry on, soldier! D, check…I think. Won’t hurt to carry on, too, right?

I am trying to be a vegetarian, to be truthful, but this is super-difficult! Will take it one year at a time.

3. More stretching and exercise! EPIC. FAIL. I tried once in a blue moon. The effort was obviously half-baked–no–QUARTER-baked! I think I even got worse. So I’m gonna try again while I’m still alive. Besides, I’m really gonna need to work on the body. According to Feng Shui, this year isn’t going to be a good one for me health-wise. Now, while I am not really a fan of Feng Shui, I think it’s always great advice to tell people to live healthier. It’s all common sense, really. If something rings right, it’s never wrong to try.

Sometime in the first parts of 2013, the office peeps were doing regular exercise breaks at 3pm. More than a year before, we even had weekly badminton sessions after work. I’ll try to push for these again. Why not, right? It’s always more fun when everyone’s in on the fun. Uh, you get what I mean.

4. More sports. Back to Muay Thai? I wanted to go all the way back. but there were certain factors that prevented me from sticking to it. I’ll try when those factors have become manageable. Besides, I can still somehow do this with the exercises I learned.

Arnis/kali? Much as I want to learn it, I cannot afford exclusive sessions right now. On Sundays, they do free lessons at Rizal Park, which is in Manila. Unfortunately, Sundays are always home-time in the province, often spent for doing laundry, doing some clean up, writing, net-surfing, reading, and even alone-time with my special someone (sometimes with his two kids as well…Imagine I’ve got three rowdy boys with me. Of course, I’m going to be busy). Meanwhile, the Ninjutsu class my friends and I were hoping for did not push through, as far as we know. Too bad. Oh well, maybe I wouldn’t be able to afford that, too. Ugh.

There are other sports to try, anyway. For instance, running. Some people in the office have taken to after-work jogging/running (even some of my housemates) and there are those who have actually joined fun runs. Not sure if I can join any fun run immediately, but I can try the regular jogging/running. Well, at least every Wednesday and/or Thursday. I am often too tired on Mondays. I attend a regular thing on Tuesdays. Fridays, I go home.

Hopefully, I can make it a habit. *crosses fingers*

5. More writing. I’d like to give myself a pat on the back. I think, compared to recent years, 2013 brought back the old writer-me. Okay, there were still lapses, but again, some things, I could not totally control. I am just happy I am writing again. With this blog, I move forward. I will try to write as much as possible. I probably won’t get ‘Freshly Pressed’ here anytime soon, maybe never, but anyhoo.

6. More reading. Done! Now all I gotta do is to keep at it. Maybe I should instead say “Finish up more books and quit procrastinating.” While I have read more this year, there were lots of books I didn’t finish. So this year, I plan on finishing them.

7. Proper budgeting. “…So here’s to scrimping coupled with lots of prayers.” Now here’s to MORE scrimping coupled with lots of prayers. Won’t hurt to try to save up again, no matter how lost the cause was last year, which posed a lot of challenges that caused me to fail this goal. It was practically beyond my control, needless to say.

Now apparently, there were/are people who grudgingly believe(d) I had more than I claimed i did, but I can’t do anything about that anymore. I WISH they were right ’cause at least, there’s going to be moolah. I think this will just boil down to Goal #1, to my being more understanding of others because sometimes, it’s not up to me to fix what’s broken especially if it’s not mine to fix to begin with. Never mistake understanding to being a pushover, however. I have my own life to live.

8. More humility. “I will always remember what I wrote in my previous post.” Ditto this year.

9. More kindness. I think I lacked self-kindness last year. So this year, I’m going to work on that.

10. Regain my ‘original nature’. It’s really a personal thing and cannot be simply explained. One thing I was made to realize last year was that everyone has his/her own inevitable karma and it’s up to that individual to break any bad karma by self-reflection, -realization and -repentance. No one can do it for him/her but the self.

So there you go! My list for this year. And last year, too, only updated. I know there are people who would rather not do resolutions because the promises would be broken anyway. Forgive me, but I think it’s a defeatist way of seeing things. Instead of saying “I can’t,” why not at least say “I’ll try”? Strive for a Better You!

“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty” (Lao TzuTao Te Ching). 

Meanwhile, to our Chinese friends, Advance…

Chinese New Year Greeting...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo


So may I ask the perennial question we ask every time the year starts? DO YOU BELIEVE IN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? Kindly take the poll, it won’t take much of your time. Do you have any comments? You are so welcome. Write away! Do you have your own list already? Why not share to us and link to it?…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change

“In hindsight, I don’t think I did anything that substantial last year. If anything, I may have been a worse person. However, what I like about new years are the opportunities to turn a new leaf.” I should say, I did turn quite a new leaf. I think I’ve become a better person. You see? That is why New Year’s Resolutions can be helpful. People just say that they don’t have any because promises are always broken anyway. I think that is just the escapist’s P.O.V. What is wrong with trying to be a better person? At least you try. And the first step you do is to PLAN.

Back in New Year 2009, I wrote this in my Multiply blog regarding how 2008 was for me personally. I must say, this one, big-planning thing has worked out for me. But though I always liked coming up with my New Year’s Resolutions, for some reason, I unintentionally stopped by the time 2010 came into all our lives. I do have a guess why except it doesn’t really matter now, does it?

Here I am again, getting back in the Resolutions game. Why not? Like I always say, what is wrong with trying to be a better person? Isn’t that what resolutions are about? I don’t want to think of myself as a quitter; resolutions are not for quitters. You try and try until you solve a problem or issue. You resolve. You don’t resolve what’s already solved, just like you don’t fix what is not broken.

A Better Me in 2013...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

A Better Me in 2013!!!

Okay, so what to fix in 2013? Here’s what I call “Resolutions for That Necessary Lifestyle Change”.

1. Less bad temper, more understanding, less bossy attitude. Good for the heart. Good for my heart as well as others’. These three kind of come together, for me, at least. I am less bossy now except there’s that tendency at times that I have to watch out for. Work-wise, it’s not so much of a problem. But it could be things that suddenly change my mood or catch me in a bad one, usually when others are cruel to me, others, even animals. Losing one’s cool is sooo not cool. Well, try and try and try and if I fail, try again!

2. Less unhealthy foods. Translates to (a) less fat so less red meat and eating at least white meat as alternative, (b) more fruits, veggies and fibers, (c) minimal sugar, and (d) avoidance of carcinogens as much as possible. I am winning this battle little by little so why stop?

3. More stretching and exercise! I’ve been so out-of-shape lately due to a lifestyle that was mostly beyond my control. But now I can gain back the control. More stretching and exercise when I wake up in the morning. I haven’t been doing this much since work went back the regular route in September 2012. And the reason I haven’t done this much is because I am always hurrying for work in the first place! So I guess, this is synonymous to “Fix your body clock”.

4. More sports. Yup, like going back to Muay Thai and/or continuing with the Ninjutsu class IF the teacher decides to continue the class. The problem is, I am always torn between practicing my first martial art and taking up other MAs, especially the Filipino Martial Art (FMA) a.k.a. Arnis a.k.a. Kali. It’s not like I have all the time and means (and age) in the world to do all of these. This is so typical of me, always the late bloomer…My first sport really was volleyball, but I hardly know how to actually continue with that. While badminton, well, the office went on weekly badminton sessions last year, but the drive got stale. There are talks of reviving it so we’ll see.

5. More writing. This is my first love. However, just like in most relationships, it sometimes is a roller-coaster ride except the slower speed seems to dominate. Well, I have been trying with spurts of inspiration. In fact, I have been trying too hard to inspire myself lately that made me literally sick. So what I’m trying to do now is take it on a regular speed. Well, something like that, you get the drift (do people still say drift like that???).

6. More reading. To broaden my horizon and sharpen my intellect. Gotta re-fuel the brain somehow. I have been trying these recent years to do this. There’s been some minimal improvement. I do think I can do much better than that. That’s why when I couldn’t go online last night and couldn’t sleep because I wasn’t feeling well, I actually spent the time finishing a book. There are lots of unfinished books in my shelves and even lots that have been unread for years! So this year, I’m gonna change that, so join me in crossing fingers.

7. Proper budgeting. Recent events have made this too much of a challenge. But that’s no excuse. So here’s to scrimping coupled with lots of prayers.

8. More humility. I will always remember what I wrote in my previous post.

9. More kindness. Let me be not humble right now to say I have become more kind and hope to become more so. Being kind involves Resolution #1. It means putting yourself in others’ shoes. There’s also kindness in tough love, when you’re sure that not giving in to somebody else’s wants is for his/her own good. There’s also such a thing as self-kindness — doing what benefits yourself. Do not mistake it as selfishness. It means we ought to know if something is good for us or not. We have logic. We should know when what we do is simply out of being self-centered.

10. Regain my ‘original nature’. This one is a bit harder to explain. Just leave it to me, guys.

So! Any plans for some cool changes in yourself this year? It’s never too late and it’s never wrong to be a Better You. Trust me :“He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty” (Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching). Oh, and by the way, to our Chinese friends, Advance…

Chinese New Year Greeting...Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

Chinese New Year’s Day on February 9!!!