Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
How did you get into fitness? Were you always fit, or did you have an awakening? Please describe:
JC: I grew up in a health food house, which as an adult I can definitely appreciate. After college in NYC, I was living an unhealthy lifestyle. I was eating takeout, smoking, and bartending on the weekends until 4am. I ran to burn calories but was never excited about it. It wasn’t until I found my passion for martial arts that my life transformed.
How/when did you get into self-defense fitness? What style do you prefer. Explain.
JC: My father is a martial arts practitioner; he led me to World Martial Arts Center, NYC. After my first lesson I was hooked on HapKiDo which translates to “The Way of Harmonizing Life Force Energy”. My body got trimmer, my heart and lungs got stronger, and developed my muscles. The more I trained, the more my mental and emotional muscles strengthened. I felt more confident, balanced and self-aware. I ate better and stopped smoking. Within two years I made a career out of sharing the gifts of fitness, nutrition and self-defense. I became an NASM certified personal trainer, graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and attained my Master’s degree in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport.
Why is it important for people to learn self-defense tactics. Can this be reconciled with being “spiritually aware” i.e. Some Buddhist monks are trained in self-defense…warrior monks as they say….
JC: The first thing I teach in my Stilettos and Self Defense workshops is awareness. Be aware of yourself and your surroundings. Heightening your awareness can deepen your spirituality. In HapKiDo, we use breathing techniques as a moving meditation to relax the mind and enhance your Ki (Life force energy).
What do you do daily to stay healthy mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually?
JC: The mind-body connection is strong therefore I always make time for training. It keeps me happy and energized. I start the day with a healthy protein-filled breakfast, to keep my blood sugar level. I use positive affirmations to crowd out any negative thoughts that trickle into my head. Doing my martial arts katas (choreographed routines) is a moving meditation that helps me focus and relax the mind.
What do you do nutritionally (whole, vegetarian, vegan, organic, clean, etc) and why?
JC: I like to practice the 90/10 rule that I learned at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition back in 2005. 90% of my diet is filled with clean, whole foods including fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, wild fish, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. 10% of my diet will include splurge foods like pizza, chocolate, wine, tortilla chips, and an occasional margarita. I work off my splurges through exercise.
What else do you do health-wise that you feel is important?
JC: I sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a night and I take vacations. When you sleep, your body heals and regenerates. Sleep will keep your endocrine system in check.
What is your fitness advice?
JC: Find something you enjoy and be consistent. Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights!
What/whom inspires you?
JC: I’ve spent summers in Montauk since childhood and get inspired every time I’m near the ocean. The smell, sound and waves put me in my happy place. Now that I live in Los Angeles, I go to Malibu to recreate the feeling from Ditch Plains.
Tell us about your new DVD series, how is it different than other self-defense DVDs out there….
JC: I created the Stilettos and Self Defense DVD series to empower women who don’t want to learn martial arts. After I was grabbed in NYC, wearing my highest heels, I realized that most women could barely run in their heels let alone fight off an attacker.
The series contains three DVD’s created and presented from a woman’s point of view recently featured on the Bethenny Frankel show.
Stilettos and Self Defense is taught in an easy-to-follow seminar format. I, along with five women wearing heels demonstrate that no matter your size, strength or what you’re wearing, you can protect yourself.
Defensive Tactics is for any anyone who seeks more advanced techniques.
Improvised Weapons is for anyone who wants to learn how to turn a key, pen, or a rolled up magazine into a life-saving weapon.