About Me

My photo
Marlan Warren is a journalist, novelist, editor, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, website designer, and publicist. She is the author of the fictionalized memoir, Roadmaps for the Sexually Challenged: All’s Not Fair in Love or War and the AIDS memoir, Rowing on a Corner. She reviews for Midwest Book Review. Marlan is also a filmmaker.

You can check out but you can never leave...


My life, your life, our lives inside and outside of Los Angeles and its angels.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Nothing can explain the feeling...": Muay Thai Fighter Ariana Gomez Victorious!

They came out fighting: Ariana (L) and Aileen (R)
Photo by © Melody De Leon 
My previous post celebrated the women and men of the Muay Thai Academy of America in North Hollywood, focusing attention on the two students who fought in last night's Girls Night Out Thai Boxing matches: Ariana "Pink Lady" Gomez and Aileen "The Marchine" Maquiraya. At the time of this posting, I don't have the details about the outcome of Maquiraya's fight (except for some stunning photos by Erica De Leon).

In her own words, here's the Pink Lady's victorious Facebook post today (SHE WON!):

Aileen "Pink Lady" Gomez and Troy Fisher
Photo by © Erica De Leon
"Nothing can explain the feeling I had stepping back into the ring yesterday and waking up this morning knowing I left everything in there. Sometimes we learn more from our falls than from our triumphs; it helps to value everything more. My opponent and I came to fight and I think it was evident in there. Thank you to those that didn't stop believing in me even after I wasn't at my best. Only a few know what was wrong last year, but that's why this fight just meant so much to me and after a year of not fighting and being on an emotional roller coaster, I finally feel like I found myself again."

Pink Lady: "I left everything in there." Photo by © Erica de Leon

"Everyone sees the win in the ring but all the work is put in months before and is a team effort. I couldn't have done it without God, the support of my parents, my bro, my coach and godfather Troy Fisher, conditioning coach Matt B, my cornermen Damon Bolder and Gabriel Saekson, and Muay Thai Academy for their support and all their girls for helping us push ourselves in sparring, Mr Julio Trana for doing my wraps, my team, friends, supporters, fans and I can't forget my sponsor Team TSN for keeping me strong and healthy along the way! This one was for me, my Family and my MTA family. We did it!

Falling down is part of life... Getting back up is living."

Congratulations to Ariana! So inspiring!  #AileenGomezwins

And Congratulations to Aileen! You look so fierce in these photos that you are every inch a winner. #AileenMaquirayaMuayThaifighter

Below are a couple of the many gorgeous photos taken by Erica De Leon of Vivar Photography. She has honed her craft as a skillful action photographer by shooting her fellow fighters. See her story in the previous post.


Aileen "The Machine" Maquiraya
Photo by © Erica De Leon

Aileen "The Machine" Maquiraya
Photo by © Erica De Leon

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Muay Thai Boxing changed my entire life": Saturday Night's All Right for Girls Muay Thai Fighting (4/19 at 7pm) Hollywood Park Casino

Ever watched a Thai Boxing match between two women?

This Saturday night you will get your chance at 7pm when two beautiful young women--Ariana "Pink Lady" Gomez and Aileen "The Machine" Maquiraya--climb into the ring to practice their ferocious martial art known as Muay Thai (aka "Thai Boxing") during the Dennis Warner and In Sync Productions-sponsored "Girls Night Out" event at Hollywood Park Casino, 3883 W. Century Boulevard, Inglewood CA 90303.

Ariana and Aileen are both students at the Muay Thai Academy of America (MTAA) founded by Kru Puk who trains adults and children in North Hollywood. They will not be fighting each other.

"The Machine" will be making her amateur debut, and "The Pink Lady" will return to the ring after losing a championship belt. Ariana has been training hard for months to prepare for 3.3 min. rounds. 

"For me this fight is not about redemption," said Ariana, who also has a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and teaches 3rd Grade. "I love this sport and yes, this fight is super important for me on a different level than my past fights, but the reason is not to 'redeem myself.' It's much more than that. It's a journey I've been through especially this last year. It's about all the work I have put in. It's about inspiring, about empowerment."

We wish them both a great evening of fun and healthy competition!

Ariana Gomez (aka "Pink Lady") (Photo by Erica De Leon)
Aileen "The Machine" Maquiraya with sparring trophy.

Ariana "Pink Lady" Gomez (Photo by Erica De Leon)

Aileen "The Machine" Maquiraya

The following is a photo essay to celebrate MTAA and the wonderfully strong people who make it happen. It's so common to read about victims of domestic violence, bullying, or worse in Los Angeles and everywhere. I'm happy to post this good news about strong women and men practicing a martial arts whose foundation, according to Puk, is based on "respect." Muay Thai Academy of America is located at 11024 Vanowen Street, North Hollywood, CA 91605.

All photos are by photographer, Erica De Leon, copyright protected. Here is her story:

"MTA changed my life from a depressed, lonely, and afraid girl to a more independent, outgoing, confident woman," said Erica. "MTAA became my family, teaching me more than a sport. It taught me respect for myself and others. Unity, loyalty, and help one another. I started shooting Ariana Gomez's training and fights, and through this, photography became my passion and work (Vivar Photography). Muay Thai changed my entire life."

Trainer Troy Fisher (L) with Damon Bolder (R)

Troy Fisher trains fighters at MTAA. He has a black belt in Tae Kwan Do and teaches kids twice a week in that martial art.

Barry Hawkins

Melody De Leon

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Colombian-born L.A. Zumba instructor Dennis Guzman will reappear on Mundo Fox's "Viva" 4/14: "I want to be where the dance is!"

Dennis Guzman (Right)

#bestlazumba    #dennisgfitness

Viewers tuning in to watch Zumba instructor, Dennis Guzman, perform on the Zumba fitness segment of the Los Angeles Mundo Fox community news show, "Viva" (Channel 22), Mon., April 14 at 8 a.m., will be watching this Colombian-born American fulfill his passion to celebrate the music and dance of his culture. Guzman, who first danced on the show when it aired March 24, has developed a strong following since arriving on the L.A. dance scene two years ago from New York.

“I want to be where The Dance is,” said Guzman. “New York is a Dance Capitol. It’s very soulful. L.A. is the flip side with its focus on the commercial.” A dancer since he could walk, Guzman grew up in New York where he trained in hip-hop, modern and jazz before being hired by Carnival Cruise Lines to perform in their extravaganza revues. Four years, five contracts and 10 shows later, he was ready for a change of pace.

When he experienced his first Zumba class in L.A., Guzman knew he had come home: “I said, ‘OMG. This is an exercise invented by a Colombian!’” At the recent Zumba Conference L.A., Guzman witnessed Zumba founder Beto Perez perform, and afterward posted on his Dennis G Fitness Facebook page:

“Que persona je Beto. So proud my fellow Colombian created this fitness program that put food on the table for me...He is truly amazing.” Perez took the “R” from the Colombian “rumba” (meaning “party”) and replaced it with a “Z” to form his own fitness dance brand in the 90s.

”It’s a fitness party,” said Guzman, whose classes are citywide in L.A. Students range from a grandmother who wants to keep in shape to Puerto Rican actress and former Miss Universe, Dayanara Torres.

“The best thing you can do after or before work is exercise your body,” said Guzman. With his quick smile and supportive attitude, he tends to focus more on his students’ achievements than his own, but his Facebook page reveals over 600 followers, mucho videos starring Guzman’s hot moves and cheering student comments such as “Dennis Guzman eres incomparable!”

“His enthusiasm is contagious,” said a student who identified herself as “Cheryl” after one of Guzman’s “Lunchtime Zumba” classes at the Weddington Recreation Center where Guzman is employed by the City of North Hollywood. “You cannot have a bad day after dancing here.”

"It's an honor to be invited back," said Guzman about his upcoming TV appearance on the "Viva" Zumba segment which is led by instructor Alex Collins. "I really appreciate this opportunity."

As a licensed Zumba instructor, Guzman knows well the benefits of Zumba: "It's a great cardio workout that really tones the legs, and trains students in Latin forms of dance." The popular instructor is also certified in Group Resistance full body toning, Pilates Mat, and WSI Swimming, Aqua Fit, Spinning and Boot Camp. He has taught dance to children and teens, and choreographed quinceaneras. His B.A. is in Communications from University of Tampa.

“I'm so grateful Zumba was created because of how it fits my culture, dance training and personality,” said Guzman, who recently featured a dance class tribute to Rio during Carnival Week. “My hope is to continue empowering people through dance fitness. One love!”

Want more info? For class schedules, more photos, videos and Facebook Page:

Dennis Guzman | Dennis G Fitness | mailto:denguz26@gmail
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DennisGFitness
Blog: http://dennisgfitness.blogspot.com
YouTube: Dennis Guzman Zumba

Search This Blog