So far during this Martial Arts Month, you’ve learned a lot about Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) including:

The History of Filipino Martial Arts

Modern Masters of Filipino Martial Arts

What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts

Now we get to the juicy part. Today you’ll learn some basics of Doce Pares Eskrima Stick Fighting.



The first thing we’re taught is to show respect to instructors, classmates and opponents alike. There are two types of salutations: the Regular Salutation used during every class, and the Formal Salutation, used in more formal or ritualistic occasions, as a sign of respect for the top ranking masters and grandmasters.

In the video below, Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio Canete shows the formalities and salutations.




Now that you know the salutations, you’ll need to know how to hold the stick. There are four types of grips and holds:

  1. Under Thumb
  2. Side Thumb
  3. Overlapping
  4. Reverse Grip


SGM Dionisio Canete demonstrates the types of grips and holds below:



Holding the stick is one thing, but you’ll also have to learn how to “hold” yourself in a fight. There are 9 Basic Stances in Eskrima.

  1. Natural/ Normal
  2. Attention/Close
  3. Forward
  4. Deep (forward)
  5. Diagonal
  6. Back
  7. Cat
  8. Hook
  9. Straddle


Master Dong Cuesta and his students demonstrate the Basic Stances below:



One of the things that separates Doce Pares from other schools is its focus on twirling. Twirling/Amarra combines speed and accuracy. It allows us to hit our opponents in the same spot several times in a matter of seconds, thereby inflicting maximum damage.

SGM Dionisio Canete demonstrates Amarra/Twirling principles below:



The video below shows the 12 Basic Strikes along with some of the basic defensive blocks and parries.

**note: Despite the misspelled words in the video, the moves are pretty solid.

There are also Basic Defenses to these Strikes. Although the video only shows 7, there are actually 15.



11 Basic Blocks:

  1. Inside Block
  2. Outside Block
  3. Double Block
  4. Semi Double Block
  5. Low or Downward Block
  6. Reverse Low or Reverse Downward Block
  7. Umbrella (payong block)
  8. Augmented or Reinforced
  9. Rising or Roof
  10.  High X Block or Cross Block
  11. Low X Block or Cross Block


4 Basic Parries

  1. Inside Parry
  2. Outside Parry
  3. Low Parry
  4. Reverse Low Parry


And there you have it– the most basic lessons taught in Eskrima. Hopefully it’s given you an idea about what Filipino Martial Arts is about. Next Friday, I’ll talk about some of the more advanced lessons–including some knife drills.



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Spotlight Week Giveaway: Dragonfly Warrior

This week the Spotlight was on Jay Noel and his exciting Adult Steampunk Fantasy DRAGONFLY WARRIOR, Volume 1 of the Mechanica Wars Series.

DRAGONFLY WARRIOR was the perfect book to promote for my Martial Arts Month. Not only does the book feature Zen, a Samurai warrior, but there’s also a scene where Zen goes into full stick-fighting mode–which is the main weapon of choice in Filipino Martial Arts. Talk about perfect alignment!

If you want to know more about DRAGONFLY WARRIOR you can read my book review here or watch the amazing trailer below:

Also, check out my fun interview with author Jay Noel.

It’s the end of another Spotlight Week, and today, I’m giving away a copy of DRAGONFLY WARRIOR.

In the interest of being green, I’ve decided to give away a KINDLE copy instead of the usual paperback copy.

DragonflyWarrior ebook modified1 Spotlight Week Giveaway: Dragonfly Warrior

To win, just leave a comment below and tell me why you’d like a copy of the book.

I’ll put all your names in my magical drawing box and pick the winner.

I love encouraging people to unleash their imaginative and creative sides, so the more creative your answers are, the more chances you have of winning. If your comment/answer tickles my fancy, I’ll add another slip of paper (or two) with your name on it to my drawing box.

Also, if you tweet about this giveaway, or share it on Facebook, I’ll add more 2 slips of papers with your name on it.
AND if you FOLLOW ME on Linky OR on Facebook’s networked blogs, I’ll add 6 more entries with your name into the drawing bowl.

The contest is international and will run until March 28, 2014.


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Jay Noel is one of my bloggy buddies and though I have yet to meet him in person, I feel like we would get along quite well. We both share a Filipino heritage, a love for steampunk and martial arts—and cookies.

Here’s his author bio:

After doing some freelance writing and editing for more than a dozen years, Jay decided to stop procrastinating and pursue his dream of being a novelist. He’s been blogging for over eight years, and even had a comedy podcast syndicated all over the internet. All of that was fun, but all the steampunk-inspired stories in his head just wouldn’t leave him alone. Jay spends his days working in medical sales, but he can be found toiling over his laptop late at night when all is quiet.

He draws inspiration from all over: H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Shakespeare, Ray Bradbury, Douglas Adams, and Isaac Asimov.

And Jay loves cookies.

Jay Noel’s website:



Without further ado, I present the unstoppable Jay Noel!


jay noel 2 Spotlight Week Author Interview: Jay Noel

The Unstoppable Jay Noel

1. Tell us three random, unique, or weird facts about yourself.

1. I have the exact same birthday (month, day, year) as actress Alyssa Milano

2. I have a fear of heights

3. I played NCAA Division I tennis

2. What books and movies inspired your love for Sci-Fi or Fantasy? Would you ever consider writing in another genre?

My very first book that I loved as a child was Ma Lien and the Magic Paintbrush, and that started my love of mythology. I also grew up reading H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Robert Cormier, S.E. Hinton, and Shakespeare. Like most kids born in the 70s, I have to say that Star Wars was a HUGE part of my childhood.

 I’d definitely love to write in another genre, as I’m drawn to Young Adult Contemporary books.


3. Are you a full time writer, if not, what is your current occupation? What prompted you to take your writing seriously?

No, I’m not a full time writer. I’m a medical sales rep in the optical industry. It’s fascinating stuff, as I love science and medicine. In 2005, I started writing about the funny and strange side of science, and it rekindled my love for writing. Throughout my life, I had started and stopped…queried and got rejected…and blogging brought me back to it. So in 2011, I decided to change the format of my blog and really dedicate myself to writing.


4. Tell us about your path to publication.

In 2012, I received a contract for Dragonfly Warrior from a small press. It was a monumental victory for me, but alas, things didn’t work out. The publisher shuttered its doors, and I was back into the “query-world.” But I was offered a contract by another small press, and after my manuscript was about 75% done by the editors and getting cover art for my book, the publisher started going through some pretty huge financial issues. So I asked for my rights back (I had contracts for Dragonfly Warrior and its sequel, Shadow Warrior), purchased the cover art from them, and decided to go full-on indie.

It’s been a long road for sure, filled with bumps and bruises, but it was such a learning experience, I have no regrets about my journey to publication.

5. What is the coolest thing about being an indie author?

I mostly enjoy the autonomy that goes along with it. I’m writer first, business owner a close second. Being indie allows me to really experiment with what I do and change things at a moment’s notice if something isn’t working. I love the flexibility and the freedom.

6. Where did you get the idea to write DRAGONFLY WARRIOR?

Back in 2007, I was day dreaming while waiting to visit with a doctor, and a vivid action scene popped into my head. I wondered if I could write a novel around that one little spark of an idea, so I wrote it out. And I knew I had something special.

I wanted to write something different, yet something familiar enough to resonate with readers. I love science fiction and fantasy, so I decided to combine the two. When I first started drafting the novel, I had no idea that there was a word for the genre that I was writing in. When I learned that my story was totally steampunk, it was like seeing the face of Elvis in the desert…it was a huge epiphany. The world opened up, and I was relieved that there was an actual market for what I was writing.

7. The world in DRAGONFLY WARRIOR if full of mythical influences, most notably Asian in nature. What inspired this setting, and how did you go about building this world?

Like I said, world mythology was one of my very first influences, so I drew from the stuff I love: Asian, Greek, Norse, and Arthurian. I wanted to combine all of this, all wrapped up in a steam-powered world at the height of its own industrial age. I wanted to really explore the social and political implications of such a wonderful, yet terrible time in history. The reader will easily catch many of the historical references I make in my alternate version of the 19th century.

There’s enough of the fantastical to call Dragonfly Warrior science-fantasy, but there’s some underlying messages there harkening to the real world.

Dragonfly Warrior is very much an epic story much in the style of the classics I love so much like The Odyssey and King Arthur, but with a strong Asian influence.

 jay noel Spotlight Week Author Interview: Jay Noel

8. DRAGONFLY WARRIOR is the first book in your MECHANICA WARS TRILOGY. When do the other two books come out? Do you plan any other books in the world of Zen?

The second book, Shadow Warrior, is scheduled for publication on June 5th of this year. Iron Warrior, the third and final book of this “Warrior Trilogy” will come out before the end of 2014. So yeah, I promise to not make my readers wait too long after reading the first book.

I have plans to write another trilogy set in this world, tentatively titled The Cloud Hugger Chronicles. I’m excited about continuing to push steampunk into the realm of multicultural literature.

9. If you could spend one day with any character in your series, who would it be?

If I could have assurances that I wouldn’t be maimed or killed, I’d love to hang out with the gruff, but likeable pirate Zapitoni. He was supposed to be just a minor character, but all my beta readers LOVED him. So Zapitoni comes back in Shadow Warrior, and he plays an even bigger part in Iron Warrior.

10. If your trilogy were optioned for film which scene from THE DRAGONFLY WARRIOR would you be most interested in seeing live on the big screen?

Wow. Great question. It would have to be when the raiders, led by the renegade Cheng, attack the native tribe’s fortress. I can imagine a steam-powered locomotive just barreling towards the massive wall during the attack. That was so much fun writing, and it’s so visual, that I’d have to see that on the big screen for sure.

11.  What’s your typical day as a writer like? Do you have any writing-related rituals or quirks?

Since I don’t write full time, my writing time is regulated to late at night when all is quiet. I often write to music (instrumental only). I enjoy movie scores on Pandora. Helps get me in the mood. The amount of writing I do varies. Sometimes, I’ll pump out a thousand words or more in a day, other times, just a couple hundred. I’m an active participant of NaNoWriMo, and that helps keeps me productive during a very hectic time of year.

12.  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?  Any hobbies, sports, or crafts you like to spend time on?

I just took up cooking. It’s amazing, because I was the kind of person that feared the kitchen. But I decided to make some big lifestyle changes and improve my health, so I’ve been forced to get in there and prepare my own meals. So these days, I’m always on the hunt for healthy recipes.

After a long hiatus, I would also like to step back onto the tennis court. Although I long to compete, I’d like to play just for fun and to stay active.

I have three kids, so I’m pretty busy with all of their activities too.

13.  Are you currently working on any other projects?

Other than my Mechanica Series, I’m also working on a YA paranormal/horror novel with Miranda Hardy. It’s been awesome collaborating with another writer, and we hope to have it published just in time for Halloween.

14. What tips or techniques can you give writers who wish to write in the Steampunk Genre? How about writers who wish to write a series?

I think reading as much as you can in both the classics (H.G. Wells) and the newer stuff (Cherie Priest, Scott Westerfield) will help. What’s great is that the genre is ever-changing and growing. Steampunk is not a fad, and it will continue to evolve – especially beyond Victorian England.

15. What advice would you like to give to writers on the road to publication? What advice would you give to writers who wish to follow the indie path?

I’d say the best advice, other than the typical “keep writing” recommendations, is to grow thicker skin. Rejection and heartache is not fun, but without all that PAIN, I don’t know where I’d be today. So many writers these days take shortcuts, and the self-publishing platforms available make it so easy to just hit publish. Seek beta readers that are NOT your friends and family. Get your work professionally edited. Blow up your manuscript and rebuild it.

This business can be cruel, and I see a lot of writers whine and complain. Whether it’s criticism from a beta reader or negative reviews of their novel, writers just aren’t as “tough” as they used to be. Those who have been able to handle all the years of rejection seem to be more resilient.

It might hurt now, but it will make you better in the end.

 DragonflyWarrior ebook modified1 Spotlight Week Author Interview: Jay Noel



Come back this Friday for the final part of the Spotlight Week, where I give away a copy of DRAGONFLY WARRIOR.

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This month’s Spotlight Week features Steampunk novel DRAGONFLY WARRIOR by author and blogger Jay Noel


DragonflyWarrior ebook modified Spotlight Week: Dragonfly Warrior by Jay Noel, A Book Review



Dragonfly Warrior (The Mechanica Wars) Spotlight Week: Dragonfly Warrior by Jay Noel, A Book Review

386 pages, Paperback

Genre: Adult, Steampunk Fantasy

Published on December 21, 2103 by 4 Wing Press

ISBN-10: 0991235606

ISBN-13: 978-0991235605


First Line:

Prince Kanze Zenjiro knew his mother was going to die one day from the illness that robbed her of her usual vitality



At the age of twenty, Kanze Zenjiro’s bloody footprints mark the bodies of those who stood in his way to protect the throne of his beloved nation of Nihon. Now, the tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and they are sure to send their steam-powered giants and iron spiders against him. Zen embarks on a quest that takes him on the most dangerous journey of his life. To succeed, Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns and somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.


My Review:


In main character Zenjiro’s world, there are airships and pistols, but there are also samurais and fighting tribal clans.

Zenjiro is a prince, but he is also a Samurai. When he goes into a battle, he also goes into a state called Ishen which gives him laser focus, amazing speed and allows him to deal death to his enemies swiftly and efficiently. At the young age of twenty, his battle skills and prowess as a warrior are already well known throughout the land of Nihon.

In hopes of uniting the eastern lands under Nihon rule, Zen’s father sends him on a quest to retrieve the Sky Blade, an ancient sword of legend. But since the quest is also a spiritual one, Zen is not allowed to bring anything but the barest essentials and must somehow track the sword using his own wits and strength alone. With only a medallion cut from the same stone as the Sky Blade as a guide, Zen goes off on his quest.

Although Zen is the story’s central character, I was able to get a peek into the other characters perspectives as well, thanks to the novel’s multiple POV. It was great to see Zen come to life through his own thoughts, but also through the perspective of the other characters around him. He’s a good person who has flaws just like everyone else. What struck me about Zen was his strong love and respect for his mother. Years after her death, he still heeds her words and pays tribute to her memory. It was refreshing to have a warrior character show that very vulnerable side of himself.

Aside from Zen, DRAGONFLY WARRIOR is filled with other fun characters whose lives are so fascinating, they could probably have their own books. There’s Zapitoni, the pirate whose rough exterior hides a kind heart, Neva, the woman warrior who is out to save her son, and Enapay, the tribal man whose love for technology took him far from his homeland. Their individual storylines somehow weave in with Zen’s own journey to create a memorable story that spans many lands.

I love that Zen’s adventure allowed me a glimpse into his story world. It was easy to imagine places like Nihon, Koreya, Iberia and Francia not only because the names were derived from the real countries, but because the settings themselves were described so visually.

There were moments when the narrative seemed to drag on, but the action-packed scenes more than made up for them. Aside from the fun characters and well-imagined setting, the plot itself was full of intriguing twists and turns. And I love that all the steampunk details—a submarine, an airship, pistols and goggles were all set amid the backdrop of Eastern mythology.

DRAGONFLY WARRIOR is Steampunk Samurai. It breaks away from the usual steampunk novel set in Victorian England and takes readers on an adventure-laden journey into the wild East. It was truly an enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to see where Zen goes next.


Tune in again on Wednesday for an interview with the awesome Jay Noel.

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What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Arnis, Eskrima, Kali – these all mean the same thing: Filipino Martial Arts. But what exactly is Filipino Martial Arts and how is it different from other martial arts?

spiros politis header modified What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Image from EA Doce Pares , photo by Spiros Politis

1. Filipino Martial Arts is a Multi-Style System

Taekwondo and Karate are empty-hand styles of martial arts, which means that they use focus on punches, blocks and kicks.  The Japanese Kendo and European Fencing focuses on sword-fighting. Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) combines a whole range of fighting systems into one martial art.

FMA teaches both armed and unarmed fighting techniques:

Empty-Hand Techniques (Mano-Mano)

Empty Hand What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Master Erwin of LA Doce Pares teaching empty hand techniques

Filipino-style Boxing

boxing What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

G Force Martial Arts, image from


knife disarm What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Knife drills, photo by V. Rosario


sword dave green What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Master Dave Green (Doce Pares UK),

image from

And of course, Stick-fighting

babagpagkangsangga What Exactly is Filipino Martial Arts?

Stick-fighting drills, photo by V. Rosario

Fighting with staffs (bangkaw), spears, whips and even darts and bows and arrows are also taught by some schools.


2. Filipino Martial Arts is Predominantly Weapons-Based

Most people familiar with martial arts will automatically equate Filipino Martial Arts with stick-fighting. Although this is our most recognizable weapon of choice, we are actually trained to use a variety of weapons. Knives, daggers, swords and sticks are all part of the curriculum.

The first thing they did when I started learning Filipino Martial Arts was put a stick in my hand. On my first day, I learned about the 12 striking angles, and was taught how to twirl the sticks for more impact. But as I progressed to higher levels, I was also taught how to use and defend against knives, daggers and swords.

Because Filipino Martial Arts is predominantly weapons-based, it gives students an edge when it comes to actual fighting. FMA trains students to be mentally and physically prepared to face opponents armed with anything.


3. Filipino Martial Arts is a Practical Art

Filipino martial artists are known for their ability to turn ordinary items into lethal weapons.

In the movie BOURNE IDENTITY, there’s a scene where Jason Bourne battles with an assassin using only a pen. You can watch the short clip below:

In today’s modern world, nobody walks around with katanas, or fencing swords. Knives, guns, even machetes and club-like weapons (bats, steel pipes, etc) are weapons one might encounter on the streets. FMA is a practical art because it teaches students how to translate one fighting form to another. We are taught to understand that weapons are merely an extension of our limbs. The techniques we learn from stick-fighting can easily be translated into knives and daggers and empty hands.

Improvisation is a part of FMA training. We are always encouraged to do a lot of freestyle sparring using both empty-hands and weapons because instructors want us to be able to automatically respond to whatever dangers we might face using whatever skill sets we have learned.


4. Filipino Martial Arts is Used in Hollywood Films and Military/Law Enforcement

Owing to its versatility, Filipino Martial Arts has had global impact in both law enforcement and in the world of Hollywood films.

Below, you’ll find a video of movies which used in FMA in their fight choreography:


I’m not sure if all of these really use FMA, but I’m pretty sure Denzel Washington trained in Eskrima for BOOK OF ELI as well as Aaron Eckhart for I, FRANKENSTEIN.


As for its military application, both the Russian Spetsnatz (Special forces) and the US Army and the Marine Corps actually use FMA in their combat training. Both the US Marine Corp field manual and the US Army field manual actually contains strikes, blocks and knife drills found in many Eskrima classes.

Sgt. Jim Wagner, a law enforcement officer and Army vet explains how Filipino Kali is alive and well in the Military and Law Enforcement in his article here.


5. Filipino Martial Arts is Constantly Evolving

As previously mentioned, improvisation is a big part of FMA training. Some Filipino Martial Artists are also trained in other forms of martial arts and they adapt their varied background into teaching FMA.

Many Filipino martial artists who form their own schools actually develop their own methods and techniques, so the art is constantly evolving.


Filipino Martial Arts is all these things and so much more. It’s a practical, versatile and deadly martial art with many real life applications, and one that I am blessed to learn.



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Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome  Becca Puglisi, co-author of the amazing Thesaurus trio of books, and blogger at Writers Helping Writers.

Thesaurus Book Trio Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Welcome, Becca!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

Becca2 modified Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Author Becca Puglisi

I think I can safely call myself a writer, though I’m a stay-at-home mom first. I write for the YA market—fantasy and some historical fiction. I also co-author nonfiction books for writers with the fabulous Angela Ackerman. As for hidden talents, I have none; when I’m good at something, I make sure the entire world knows icon wink Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi .


On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

Well, I’d love to work on the back patio, where there’s “scope for imagination” as Anne Shirley would say, but I need to be within calling distance of my son. Since I’m an orderly person, I almost always work here. All my stuff is in its place, where I can reach everything when I need it. There’s also a nice view from my desk, which is great, considering the amount of writing time I spend staring out the window.

 Work space Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s workspace

2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

I wish I could say someplace cool. Sadly, I ordered it from Staples. It gets the job done.


3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

I doodle and make a lot of notes when I’m thinking, so I always have a notebook and one of my favorite pens. Also, as I mentioned, my nonfiction work is done with a co-author; I’m in charge of the business side of things, so I need certain office supplies within grasp: highlighters, stapler, stamps, post-its, etc.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

There’s nothing really special about my workspace, but I love it because of what it’s become. My daughter just started kindergarten this year but my four-year-old son is still at home all day. Writing time is hard to come by, so I have a dedicated block of time in the afternoon. That time has become sacred—time when I get to do what I love and am good at. Not only do I do my writing here but I also take care of family business, make appointments, organize school stuff, etc. I get things done here, which gives me a sense of peace. I love this spot.

As for special things, first and foremost is the Dragon Triumvirate, who watch me work and keep me on track. The green one is a candle that my parents gave me in high school when I first read Anne McCaffrey and fell in love with all things Dragon.

Dragon Triumvirate Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s Dragon Triumvirate

But writing has to be fun, too, which is where Olaf comes in. Cutest Disney Sidekick EVER.

Olaf Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi


And lastly, my bulletin board. It holds inspirational writing quotes and mantras, Bible verses, friends’ prayer requests, and Angela’s and my business plan. That last one is especially important for me to keep in view; when new opportunities arise and I’m unsure whether to say Yes or No, I check our plan to see if the opportunity aligns with our goals for the year. It keeps me balanced.


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

Oh, Mountain Dew, all the way. I’m so addicted that I’ve had to cut back recently, so I can write without it. But I’d rather not icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi .

 family Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s favorite picture of her beautiful family

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Robin McKinley has to be my all-time favorite. Her world-building and attention to detail are mind-boggling. I also love Tolkien and Garth Nix. And when it comes to sheer creativity, I have to give a nod to Rowling. When I first started writing, I was reading the Harry Potter books for the first time, so those were a huge inspiration for me.

2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

Well, as I mentioned, I have a preschooler at home. My time with him is quickly dwindling, and I want to make the most of this stage of life, so I limit my writing to a two-hour block in the afternoon, when he has established activities to do. This time is constantly interrupted with requests for snacks and Mario Brothers and how-many-minutes-until-Quiet-Time-is-over, but I make it work. I always have a candle burning (right now, it’s hazelnut coffee) and music playing. I’m not an easily-distracted person, but writing is something that requires intense focus for me, so I can’t listen to music with words. Because of this, I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks. E.T., the original Harry Potter film, and the Star Trek Into Darkness albums are favorites right now. But, really, anything by John Williams will work.


3.  Do you write every day?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write every day, but it usually ends up being 6 days a week, two hours per day. Because my time is so limited, I’m not easily distracted from it. But these two are my biggest distractions icon wink Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi .

 distractions Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s two adorable distractions

4. Why do you write?

This is an interesting question. I’m not one of those people for whom writing is as important as breathing. I took a three-year break from writing when my first child was born so I could have babies, and I was so busy (and sleep-deprived) that I honestly didn’t miss writing. The reason I returned to it, and why I love to do it, is because it’s something I’m good at. Writing gives me a sense of purpose and a boost of self-esteem. I truly believe God has given me this ability and, as with any gift, it’s my responsibility to hone it and share it. That’s why I write.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

My current favorite writing tip write is one by Shannon Hale that’s making the rounds. I just finished my own NaNoWriMo in the month of January. It’s the first book I’ve planned and drafted since having kids, so I was a little terrified, and when I started, I was appalled at how bad my writing was. Then I found this quote, and it totally resonated with me:

 Shannon Hale quote Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Becca Puglisi

Becca’s favorite quote by Shannon Hale

This gives me permission to write badly—just get the words down on paper and pretty them up during the revision stage, which is my favorite part, anyway. Everything Shannon Hale does is beautiful, so this is advice I’m happy to follow.


Thank you for having me here today!



Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Becca!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.


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Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Much like Filipino culture itself, Filipino Martial Arts evolved by adapting to the changes in current society. FMA incorporates elements from both Western and Eastern martial arts and because of its flexible and adaptable nature, you’ll find many schools teaching different FMA styles.

Thanks to modern masters such as Cacoy Canete, Dionisio Canete, Dan Inosanto, Venancio Bacon, Mike Inay and brothers Ernesto and Remy Presas, FMA has increased in prominence globally.

Cacoy Canete is the last surviving member of the original Doce Pares club, which was formed in 1932. He is a 12th degree black belt, and was instrumental in spreading the popularity of eskrima in the Philippines by spearheading the campaign to create unified sport rules to use in regional and national tournaments.

 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Canete, Cacoy Doce Pares

His nephew, Dionisio Canete, initiated the formation of the Cebu Eskrima (Arnis) Association. He effectively helped end the widespread in-fighting among the different FMA schools and masters, and unified FMA as a sport. (*He is currently the head of the martial art school I belong to)

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Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio Canete, Doce Pares

Venancio Bacon  or “Anciong” as he is known to many, was a veteran of many death matches in Cebu–back when Arnis/Eskrima was more streetfight than sport. He founded Balintawak Eskrima in the 1950’s in order to preserve the combative nature of Arnis, and developed many single stick techniques.

AnciongBacon Filipino Martial Arts: Modern MastersGrandmaster Venancio “Anciong” Bacon, Balintawak Eskrima 

(October 15, 1912 – 1981)

Balintawak Eskrima heavily influenced Remy Presas, who is known as the father of Modern Arnis. He instituted a ranking system to identify each student’s level, taught his art via seminars and camps all over the Philippines and in the US and also published several books and videos on modern arnis.

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Grandmaster Remy Presas, father of Modern Arnis

(December 19, 1936 – August 28, 2001)

His brother, Ernesto Presas, founded the Kombatan school of FMA and helped revive the art by teaching seminars in the Philippines and abroad.

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Grandmaster Ernesto Presas, Kombatan Eskrima

(May 20, 1945 – November 1, 2010)

Mike Inay founded Inayan Eskrima and was instrumental in promoting FMA in USA’s west coast. He co-founded the West Coast Eskrima Society in Los Gatos, CA and became known in the law enforcement community  when he started teaching FMA all over the US and in Europe.

 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Mike Inay, Inayan Eskrima

(December 11, 1944 – September 27, 2000)

Among all the masters, perhaps the most well-known is Dan Inosanto.He and martial arts icon Bruce Lee were very good friends. Dan Inosanto taught Bruce Lee FMA, particularly the use of the nunchaku, which Bruce Lee used in his famous film, “Game of Death”.

 Filipino Martial Arts: Modern Masters

Grandmaster Dan Inosanto

Dan continues to promote Filipino Martial Arts through his school and the Hollywood scene. Dan has many famous students including Denzel Washington, who had to learn FMA for his role in the Book of Eli; and Damon Caro, stunt coordinator and fight choreographer who worked on films such as the Bourne series, Watchmen and 300.

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Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto

These men are only a few of the trailblazers in the world of Filipino Martial Arts. I’m sure there are many FMA masters and grandmasters, whom I have failed to mention, but these men were the ones whose names and legacies I encountered during my training in FMA.

While Grandmasters Cacoy Canete, Dionisio Canete and Dan Inosanto are still continuing to promote FMA in their own circles, most of these other Grandmasters are no longer around. Although they are no longer with us their legacy has been cemented in Filipino Martial Arts and their lessons continue to influence many Filipino martial artists today.

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Filipino Martial Arts: A History

A History of the Terms

Arnis, Eskrima (or Escrima), Kali, Pangamot, Panandata, Kalirongan, Didya, Kabaraon, Pagkalikali, Sinawali, Kaliradman, Pagaradman, Estokada, Estoque, Fraile, Armas de Mano or Arnis de Mano.

These words all mean one thing: Filipino Martial Arts.

Why so many names? The Philippine Archipelago has 7,107 islands, although only about 2,000 of them are inhabited, there’s still a lot of different dialects to contend with.

Among all these names, however, Filipino Martial Arts is most known by three: Arnis, Eskrima and Kali.

kalibaner Filipino Martial Arts: A History

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There are three major regions in the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Luzon occupies the whole northern portion of the country and in this region, Filipino Martial Arts is more commonly known as Arnis. The southern portion of the country is shared by the regions of Visayas and Mindanao, and both commonly call the martial art “Escrima.”

Philippine Map Filipino Martial Arts: A History

The Philippines

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The Philippines was under Spain’s rule for 333 years, so many of the terms in various Philippine dialects will reflect Spanish influence.  “Arnis”, for example, comes from the Spanish “Arnes”, which is a term that means armor.  “Eskrima” on the other hand comes from the term “Esgrima”, which is the Spanish sport of fencing.

The word “Kali” refers to an old broad sword from the Indo-Malay region, which was commonly used in the martial art before the Spanish rule.


Lapu-Lapu: The “First” Filipino Martial Artist

The exact origin of Kali/Eskrima/Arnis is unknown, but what we are sure of is that the martial art was first exposed to the world by Lapu-Lapu, the Philippines’ first hero.

Lapu-Lapu was one of the two chieftains of Mactan at the time when the Spanish conquistadors, led by the Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, first arrived in the Philippines.

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Lapu-Lapu’s monument in Cebu,

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Rajah Humabon, who ruled the entire sultanate of Cebu had immediately converted to Christianity and pledged his allegiance to Spain. Lapu-Lapu refused to pay tribute and bow down to Spanish rule. With Rajah Humabon’s encouragement, Magellan decided to make an example of Lapulapu.

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Ferdinand Magellan

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On April 27, 1521, Magellan took sixty of his men and twenty to thirty war boats full of Humabon’s warriors to Mactan. He demanded that Lapu-Lapu swear fealty to Rajah Humabon and pledge allegiance to the Spanish King.

Despite the imminent threat, Lapu-Lapu refused Magellan’s offer. When dawn broke over the shores of Mactan, he and his 1,500 warriors, armed with iron swords, bows and bamboo spears faced Magellan and Humabon’s combined forces.

Lapu-Lapu was known as the foremost master of “Pangamut” (the old term for Filipino Martial Arts), and he had trained his men for the eventuality of a battle. Magellan and his army were not prepared for the fierceness of Lapu-Lapu’s men, or their skill with weapons. They eventually retreat, but not before many of the men were killed, including Magellan himself.

lapulapu Filipino Martial Arts: A History

The Battle of Mactan

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How Stick-Fighting Evolved

When the Spanish eventually conquered the Philippines, they banned the practice of Kali, for fear that the Filipinos might use their skills and turn against them.  As the 19th century approached, Filipinos were able to circumvent the ban and practice the art again, by disguising it as part of stage plays called “Moro-Moro” and other native dances. In order to avoid suspicion, they used wood training pieces called “bahi” or bamboo sticks of “rattan” to practice their moves. The only time the martial artists were able to even hold a sword, was during the finale of the Moro-Moro plays—which were often performed for the Spaniard’s enjoyment.

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Moro-Moro Plays

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Because they would go up against the Spaniard’s sharp swords and daggers, Kali practitioners learned to develop speed, agility and accuracy. They developed ways to strike nerve centers along the body and limbs they could easily disarm and disable any opponent using a flurry of attacks.

Many training methods were altered and new concepts and techniques adapted due to the influence of the Spanish culture and language. The Spanish sword and dagger were incorporated into the martial arts and certain concepts were given Spanish terms. Kali became more widely known as Arnis or Eskrima.

Eskrima became the popular name for the martial arts when the first Arnis organization was established in Cebu City during the early American rule. The Labangon Fencing Club used the term “Eskrima” for the art, and even after the group was dissolved in 1931, the term stuck.

In 1932, The Doce Pares Association was founded by the leading martial arts masters, and became the force that drove the martial art to evolve into the competitive sport it now is today. The curriculum they developed and the sparring rules and regulations they set became widely accepted by Arnis schools and organizations throughout the country.

 Filipino Martial Arts: A History

The Founders of Doce Pares

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In 1989, the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF) established itself as the international governing body for the sport, and has helped in the study and promotion of Filipino Martial Arts. Today WEKAF has a presence in more than thirty countries, and the followers and practitioners of the sport continue to spread the word about it.

wekaf logo Filipino Martial Arts: A History

Filipino Martial Arts is young compared to other Eastern martial arts, but it is already widely used in military training of different countries, as well as in Hollywood fight choreography.




History of the Filipino Martial Arts


Filipino Martial Art

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Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

TWN WWW 300 Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange


Every Wednesday, I feature a writer and his/her workspace.  My aim is to get to know fellow writers better through their workspace and writing habits, and have them  share some of their writing wisdom here.

Today, I am most eager to welcome Karen Lange, author of Home School Co-ops 101 and blog mistress at Write Now.

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Welcome, Karen!


Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living? What genre do you love to write? What are some of your hobbies or interests? Do you have a hidden talent?

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Author Karen Lange

 Thank you for inviting me to stop by, Nutschell!  I am a wife, mom, and grandma. My husband and I have two sons, a daughter, a daughter in law, and a very smart and handsome 6-year-old grandson. (I might be a little biased about my grandson. icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange


In addition to writing and blogging, I am the bookkeeper for the carpentry business my husband and oldest son own.  I also teach online writing classes for adults at the Coffeehouse for Writers and for homeschooled teens in the Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op.



On Workspace

1.  Where do you do most of your writing?

I do most of my writing on my laptop at my desk.  I find I get the most work done in the quiet of my office.

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Karen’s workspace


2.  Where did you get your desk?  How did you go about arranging your work area?

My desk is a large, old secretary’s desk that someone was throwing away. My husband rescued and refinished it for me.  The laptop takes center stage, and I have a bookshelf made by my husband and a printer sitting across the back of the desk. There are stacks of current projects and bills on one side. I call it organized chaos.  Most times I can find what I need. icon smile Wednesday Writer’s Workspace Welcomes Karen Lange

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Bookshelf made by Karen’s husband


3.  What are some important things on your desk?  Are there specific things you need to have around you as you work?

For writing, my laptop is important, but I also have family photos on surrounding shelves. These remind me what’s important when I get stressed.


4.  What do you love most about your workspace? Do you have any favorite objects on your desk, or things you use often?

I like that I have a room to call my own, where I can spread things out and shut the door when necessary.


5. What’s your writing beverage?  What do you love to drink while you’re writing?

I drink water and unsweetened iced tea. Occasionally I drink Diet Coke, but I’m trying to cut back on that.

On Writing

1. Who is your favorite author?  Who inspired you to write?

Oh, I have many favorites! Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery top the list, and then I love the work of current authors like James Scott Bell, Cathy Gohlke, Jody Hedlund, and Julie Klassen. There are so many wonderful ones out there, you know?

There isn’t any one person who inspired me to write, but my Mom was always a great cheerleader for most anything I did. I remember her telling me I was a good writer; I still smile when I think of her encouraging words.


2. What’s your typical day as a writer like?  Do you have any writing related rituals or quirks?

In the mornings, I do household stuff like laundry, run errands, exercise, and answer emails. I usually write, do bookkeeping, and work on any online classes I have going in the afternoons and evenings. I don’t have any rituals or quirks, that I know of anyway, but I make sure I have water, a snack, and my cell phone handy. My best trick for actually getting things done is to ignore the internet. I get too distracted otherwise.


3.  Do you write everyday?  How many hours a day do you spend writing?  What are some of your worst writing distractions?

I try to write everyday but it doesn’t always happen. It depends if I have a deadline pending, or need to do a blog post or something like that. I am however, writing in my head almost all the time. Does that count?


4. Why do you write?

A writing mentor and friend once said that she wrote because it gave her joy. I have to agree! I love to write and I enjoy communicating this way. My desire is that my words would help others in some way, no matter what I write about.


5. Any writing tips or techniques or words of wisdom you want to share with us?  How about a favorite writing quote?

One thing I’ve learned over the years is the importance of self editing. One of my favorite tools for this is to read my work aloud. It really helps help find errors and rough spots.

As far as quotes go, I like what author Ann Gabhart said in a blog interview a few years ago. “Rejection is not fatal,” she said. It made me laugh at first, and the more I thought about it, it made so much sense. It isn’t fatal, and we have two choices when our work is rejected. We can wallow in self-pity and doubt, or we can move ahead, learning and improving.

Thanks so much for sharing your space with me today. It’s been a pleasure!



Karen Lange is the author of Homeschool Co-ops 101. She and her family were active in homeschool  activities during their sixteen-year journey. Her three children have since graduated, and she is now a freelance writer and online writing instructor for adults and homeschooled teens. Connect on Karen’s  Blog, on Twitter, and Facebook.


Homeschool Co-ops 101 is available on Amazon:



Twitter: KLELange



Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for Teens:








Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your writing life, Karen!

Wednesday Writer’s Workspace is an ongoing series, and if you’re interested in being featured here, simply leave me a message in the comment box, and I’ll be sure to email you.




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Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month

I’m starting off the 3rd month of the year with a blog award from bloggy buddy C. Lee McKenzie, who gifted me with the Dragon Loyalty Award last February 24th. Thanks Lee!

20 dragonsloyaltyaward Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month



Here are the rules:

  1. Display the Award on your Blog.
  2. Announce your win with a post and thank the Blogger who awarded you.
  3. Present 15 deserving Bloggers with the Award
  4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
  5. Write seven interesting things about you.


And the nominees are:

I know the rules said 15, but I added one more since I’ve decided to nominate my amazing Write On buddies. I’ve been horribly absent from the discussion on your Facebook page, but I do read the progress reports every now and then and marvel at your writing achievements. You are all amazing sources of inspiration and I hope I can be consistent and updating my writing accomplishments as well. I cannot find a better bunch of people, who are loyal to their writing dreams!

To you, wonderful writers and bloggy buddies, I bequeath the Dragon Loyalty Award.

  1. Theresa Milstein
  2. Lydia Kang
  3. Rachel Morgan
  4. Pk Hrezo
  5. Robyn Campbell
  6. Sharon Mayhew
  7. Ann Ormond Fennell
  8. Crystal Collier
  9. Lynn Kelley
  10. Nicole Zoltack
  11. Sheri Larsen
  12. Susan Oloier 
  13. Sigal Wilnai Tzoore
  14. Martina Boone
  15. Carole Lindstrom
  16. Jackee Alston


7 interesting things about me:

  1. I come from a family of “gifted” people. My eldest aunt could read the future through cards and she’s passed on the gift to her eldest daughter Zamm, who is currently a professional Tarot Card Reader. My second eldest aunt can read palms and interpret dreams. My mom, the 3rd sister, has very good intuition and can see spirits. Their 4th sister can talk to spirits (actually she often can’t distinguish between spirits and live people because they appear so clearly to her.) Their two brothers have what charisma so strong they can convince you to do anything. The youngest sibling in the family is a bit of a healer.
  2. Yep, you guessed it. I have a “gift” as well. I can actually read people’s personalities, even if I’ve just met them for the first time.
  3. I started learning martial arts 3 years ago as a way to inspire my writing, but I continued on because I fell in love with the sport. I currently hold a Brown 1 Belt in Escrima or Filipino Martial Arts, which means I have two more belts before I can finally test for a Black Belt.
  4. I can play the drums and the guitar. Not as well as I’d like, but enough to produce decent melodies every now and then.
  5. I do love sketching/drawing, and if I had the time, I would explore this interest more
  6. I love photography and hope to take formal lessons one day.
  7. I can bake some mean desserts. Back when I had the time, family members and friends would order boxes of cookies and pans of Filipino flan to give as Christmas presents.


Congrats to all you bloggy buddies for picking up the award! And no worries about participating if you’re busy. I just thought this award was the perfect opportunity to give you gals a token of appreciation. J

Well that was fun!

And a Dragon award is a great way to start of my Martial Arts Month!


Martial Arts Month

You might recall my post on Filipino Martial Arts last February.

In that post, I mentioned how it falls upon Filipino Martial Artists to promote the art. So in line with this realization, I’ve decided to make March my Martial Arts month.

This whole month, I’m going to write posts about the Filipino Martial Art in particular. You’ll learn a little history, some trivia and a maybe some good self-defense moves as well. I hope you can join me for my Martial Arts March Madness this month. Hiyaaaa!


master erwin Dragon Loyalty Award & Martial Arts Month


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