Let me start off by saying I’m very excited to be guest blogging for Fighting Measure. I’m even more excited that my first post covers Christine Toledo, San Diego native and #1 Women’s Fighter in the World in her weight class. Now, on to the post…
My second year in college, I decided to take a ballet class to stay in shape. Of course, that lasted for about a semester (possibly less) and I am far from being a prima ballerina in any capacity. Not so for Miss Toledo. This top class fighter took her first Muay Thai class for the same exact reason – to stay in shape. Unlike me, however, she stuck with it and took her fighting to levels far beyond her own expectations.
N: Let’s start at the beginning. I’ve read in other interviews and on your website that you somewhat “fell in” to Muay Thai. What enticed you to stick with it?
C: Good question. Throughout my childhood, elementary and high school years, I was always involved in some kind of past-time activity. I took piano, violin, flute, singing, tap dance, and Tahitian and hula dancing lessons… I also was involved in band, choir, drill team and student body leadership organizations at school. My mom realized that I would start new things, but never finish them, and at one point she got really frustrated with me because of how costly it was to enroll me in these activities, and it all was adding up. I would lose interest and couldn’t “stick” to one thing. During college, I started to think that I just wasn’t talented. I had so many creative and talented friends; and my brothers were always good at the things they did. I wondered if I’d ever find my talent or passion for the one thing in my life that would change me and be a part of me forever. Turns out, I did. And until this day, I often wonder how and why? The one simple and true answer to that is… I think it was meant to be.
N: And now, you’re ranked #1 in the world for your weight division. Congratulations. To what do you give the most credit for this title?
C: Though there are many people that deserve credit for helping me get to where I am. To answer your question directly – the most credit goes to my faith. I’ve learned to be true and humble, to believe in myself and to never get carried away.
N: On that note – who in the martial arts world inspires you?
C: There are so many martial artists that inspire me, but the one who inspires me most is Anthony Badua. He taught me a lot about being a fighter and competitive athlete. I’ve been training with him now for 9 years.
N: What other martial arts, if any, have you practiced or which would you like to learn in the future?
C: Muay Thai was the first of any martial arts discipline that I’ve experienced. I’d like to learn Krav Maga and Escrima.
N: What is a typical training day for you?
C: Every week and every day is different according to what and who I’m preparing for. Generally, training consists of running, sprint intervals, jump rope, stretching, conditioning, bagwork, padwork, learning and reviewing techniques, and sparring.
N: What is your favorite Muay Thai technique?
C: I don’t have one favorite. What makes this art so interesting is that, there are so many techniques that can be learned and can work effectively against other fighting styles.
N: Do you think this is also your best executed? If not, what is?
C: I’m a strategic fighter, so the best execution usually is sticking to the strategy. There’s not one technique that works on every fighter, so by studying your opponent (if you can) before a fight, it always helps to find their strengths and weaknesses so that you can execute the proper techniques.
N: Let’s talk Manny Pacquiao. What kind of influence do you think he is having on Filipinos in the martial arts?
C: Manny is a gifted fighter. He is no doubt a very influential being in our generation and will be to others in generations to come. I think that one of the biggest influences he has on Filipinos is not only his boxing skills, but his spirituality. He gives hope to his countrymen and people all over the world who have been unfortunate in their lives. Manny’s spirit encourages and makes a positive impact on people by giving them a reason to believe in themselves.
N: In some ways, you are doing the same. What kind of influence do you hope to be making on martial arts?
C: I think many can admit that Manny has a gift that very few in this world have ever possessed. For me, it’s different. I have grown a tremendous passion for Muay Thai since I started 9 years ago. And have always worked hard to improve my skills. Muay Thai is not a popular sport, and the majority of people in general don’t even know what it is. So I can only hope that my involvement in Muay Thai as a fighter will help the sport grow and become noticed and respected in the mainstream.
N: Who is your favorite opponent and why?
C: I don’t have a favorite opponent. I think each opponent that I have fought, has brought something different to the table. Each fight has been a learning experience and I have gained from each of them.
N: Tell us a little bit about your brand, ALIAS Fight Wear.
C: Myself and Melanie Antonio (whom is also Filipina), a very good friend of mine, are owners of the business. Please go to www.aliasfightwear.com to learn more about ALIAS Fight Wear.
N: Do you think Muay Thai can be adapted for those of us simply looking to stay in shape?
C: Absolutely. In fact, I would recommend taking a Muay Thai class for fun, to get fit and to learn some very effective defensive skills. You’d be surprised how much you will learn and how fun it can be. I never had any intentions of becoming a fighter initially, but one thing led to the next for me. I fell in love with the art and it became more than just a work out and past-time. It became a passion of mine; the passion I never thought I’d find.
You can learn more about Christine by visiting her website: www.christinetoledo.com
Guest blogger Nina M. Liwag is a new media and events producer based out of Los Angeles. www.ninaliwag.com