UPSIDE: FilAm teen wins lone US gold for US in French kickboxing


Lee’s fellow California native and young champion disciple Logan Diño’s admires Lee’s “very sharp, clean movements and forms” but also looks up to him as a “great philosopher” whose maxim “Be water, my friend” she says “resonates the most” with her.

The Santa Clarita, California fighter learned the exhortation at her gym, Ekata Martial Arts, and explains it thus: “To be like water is to adapt to your circumstances. Water flows around obstacles, may it be a rock in a river or a boat in the ocean. Water also changes shape when put into an object such as a cup or a bowl. When a tough situation arises, we can simply move around it or change so we can conquer the problem.”

The ethic is something she shares with her father and is reflected in their Slovenia experience. Knowing how well she had trained, he was happy and proud just to see her exhibit her skills and courage, he says, but neither pressured her nor took for granted that she would win.


Logan’s feat is her family’s too.  Dad Max Dino and his wife, Susan (Lee) are both athletic.

While in college Max took up Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai for fun and fitness, not for competition and definitely not to hurt people, he stresses.  He touts Susan, a program manager with a tech company, as a world record-holder power lifter.

As new parents, they had concurred that their firstborn should learn to defend herself (son Rayden was born three years later).  At the age of 4, Logan began martial arts training.  At first she almost quit, Dad shared something common among tots that prodded them to give Logan a break.  But there was no turning back when she returned to the ring later.  At 8 she embraced savate and at 11 when she took to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  She had barely marked her 14th birthday when she earned her junior black belt in Xuan Tong Gung Fu, says her father, who considers training in said various martial arts “a good balance.”

Diverse, describes the interests of Logan, who will be in 10th grade at Canyon High School in the fall.  Savate, she told her dad, ranks “somewhere in the middle” between her priorities – reading, art and video games followed by puzzles and Lego and ukulele.

“She definitely benefits from the personalized one-on-one training we do together,” Max says of the extra training with him as having contributed to her success.  “I just reinforce what she learns in class and try to improve her physical conditioning. I try to help her in whatever way I can. Sometimes I’m just her punching bag!”

Max may be Logan’s supplemental coach, but he is no stage dad. He would support Logan and Rayden in whatever they aspire to do or become down the road.  In fact he says he wouldn’t want Logan to go into professional fighting because of the potential for injury “particularly brain trauma.”

Logan seems to share the sentiment.  While she values her creative and athletic activities, she told that she is proudest of her academic achievements, particularly her NASA award for Excellence in Math.

Further into the future, she envisions college at UCLA as a path to the medical profession.  That would definitely call for a fiesta led by her Lola Emma and Lolo Ricardo Diño, a retired diplomat from Bicol, who planted their roots in this country in the 1980s when Max was an infant.  These days they’re content to be the de facto pep squad, cheering the many and various accomplishments of the American generation of their family. – – Adapted from the original reprinted with permission from INQUIRER.NET


Cherie M. Querol Moreno is Executive Editor of Philippine News Today.