A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography: The Early Years – Part Two

I recall another incident where a friend of mine was being picked on and he was too afraid to stick up for himself.  Again, here was someone larger than me, but I didn’t care.  Some of my friends wanted to help me fight him because we were so unevenly matched, but I wanted to take him on myself.  I used my legs, kicking him relentlessly.  When my father heard that I was yet again in another fight, he was angry until he heard that I won the fight!!

One of my first unofficial students was my little brother.  He was being challenged to fight by one of the local bullies.  I told him to drop back after the kid started fighting and punch him with all his might.  He did just what I told him and knocked the guy out.  All the work with the cows taught me not only the power of the legs, but also the advantages of a powerful and speedy counterattack.  I incorporated this philosophy into my system, which is largely based on effective deflecting blows and followed with counterattacking techniques.

While my father did not approve of the fights I would get into, understand that I was never the aggressor.  I didn’t start fights needlessly, nor was I a bully.  When I fought, it was to defend another or myself and in some instances, to prove a point.  Where I grew up, it was part of the male culture to be strong and not back down from a fight.  So while my father didn’t’ condone fighting, he admired my skill and courage

I left my family farm and went to Santiago to continue my academic studies.  It was there that I was first exposed to the martial arts after seeing a karate demonstration, lead by a man named Rafael Martinez, who would later become my good friend and teacher.  I took my first class where I was taught high, middle and low blocks, reverse punch, and a front, side and roundhouse kick.  I took these few movements and practiced them for three months straight before I went back to the school again.  It was during this time that I focused on developing my power.  Three months later, I returned.  With just the few techniques that I had mastered, I was able to successfully spar my classmates and gain their respect despite the fact that I was three times smaller than anyone else and that most of them were black belts. These were not your average karate practitioners; they were killers.  While martial arts today are more of a recreational sport, back then, you had to fight for your life.  There was no referee, no rules, and no pads. 

I also learned something about myself in the course of my three months of training.  I knew that I had a natural talent for the martial arts.  I believe that when you are given a natural talent, no matter what it is, that you should pursue it.  I was determined to take the gift that I was given and develop it to the best of my ability.  I also knew that I could not abuse my talents and that I would only put them to good use.  That is one of the reasons why I decided to make martial arts my business. 

to be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851




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