On this segment of the Action Martial Arts Power Hour, host Alan Goldberg brings one of the true pioneers of martial arts to the United States who opened doors for women in the world of martial arts in general. Even though her great achievements in the martial arts have sparked a fire for women in the arts from generation to generation, her greatest achievements are her children one if a prominent actor and martial artist in Mark Dacascos and his other son is a prominent businessman and she states it so clearly. It is a must see show for all martial arts around the world.
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About Malia Bernal
Malia Bernal is a seventh degree black belt in Xiang Dai Kung Fu, an art print of her ex-husband from Wun Hop Kuen Do. She was a champion of forms in the 1970s. Malia Bernal began studying Wun Hop Kuen Do at the age of 22. She trained in Wun Hop Kuen Do under the guidance of the founder of WHKD, Grandmaster Al Dacascos. Malia loved martial arts.
Although not allowed to participate in sports as a young girl, Malia says her teachers encouraged her to be good at whatever she wanted to do. Malia says she was born a fighter and a competitor. She would fight for anything that was a challenge.
Malia Bernal not only broke the boundaries between the sexes, but she insisted on competing with male martial artists as their equal. She was the woman who transformed the movement and appearance of competitive forms. She pushed the softer Kung Fu style to the fore, designing uniforms that emphasized grace and line. When she performed she was captivating. She was gaining the attention of the whole room and everyone would stop to look at her. She is one of the few competitors, if not only, to ask to break down her forms for the jury.
With their love of martial arts binding them together, Malia and Al Dacascos married and became a powerful Kung Fu couple. Together, they illustrated the effectiveness and beauty of Wun Hop Kuen Do: Al through his fights and Malia through the kata. Sons Mark and Craig trained alongside them as they traveled to mixed martial arts competitions across the continental United States and Hawaii. Victory after victory, trophy after trophy, together the couple have become – in Malia’s words – “the team at the top”. In fights and forms, they were untouchable.
In September 1974, Malia Bernal made history as the first woman to make the cover of Black Belt magazine. A pioneer of women in martial arts, Sigung Malia dominated the tournament circuit in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She reigned as the number one fighter and number one woman in kata (forms) in the United States. United for five consecutive years. In the end, she won nearly 400 awards and titles, including that of the best general competition. She is the only three-time female recipient of the coveted Golden Fist Award, and she made a name for herself in a male-dominated sport, has gone on to become a Kung Fu legend and internationally renowned champion.
Al and Malia have developed Wun Hop Kuen Do nationally and internationally. They opened schools in Denver, then Germany, and Malia was the only woman running a martial arts school at the time. After Al and Malia’s divorce, her life took a different turn as she entered the fitness industry, starting a career as an instructor and personal trainer.
She applied her athleticism and talents and brought the same attitude and motivation from her Kung Fu training to her fitness work. She was ahead of her time, having the foresight to combine aerobics and elements of self-defense, similar to Tae Bo ™ and other current cardio-boxing programs. In fact, it was during one of her classes that her love for shapes returned.
Around 1990, Malia’s class turned into a club, then she developed Xiang Di Kung Fu, her own contemporary style. Today, Malia’s legacy lives on in the champions she trained: Mark Dacascos, Karen Shepherd, Christian Wulf and Emmanuel Bettencourt, to name a few. She continues to teach and inspire in Northern California, where her current students are regular tournament winners. She attributes this, in part, to her unique conditioning and performance regimen, which she created from her life of experience. Through special workshops and seminars, she helps other emerging martial artists improve their skills through training, just like she has done.
His list of accomplishments is prestigious, including a place in the AMA Hall of Fame and Who’s Who in Martial Arts, a # 1 rating from Professional Karate Magazine, and media appearances including a movie cameo. from 1992 in Sidekicks, starring Chuck Norris. Malia Bernal continues with her enthusiasm for life. She enjoys teaching and is a motivational speaker. She is still continuing to develop her Xiang Di style as she works on her memoir, White Belt Master. Malia Bernal is considered a legend in her time, and she truly is a paragon of martial arts.
https://www.audible.com/pd/The-UCW-Radio-Show-with-Louis-Velazquez-Podcast/B08JJNQ86Q?qid=1616668060&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd8rd8bard_bard830fcrd832-bard-830fcrd832-bard-830fcrd832 b308_p = 832fcf-b308-b308 8FT6HKY1FVBY1JVHN6Z4