Continued from “A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography:The Early Years – Part Two”
I was fortunate at the beginning of my martial arts training to meet and train with some exceptional teachers. I trained with Pacheco, Rafael Martinez, Victor Loraine, Lizardo and my teacher Tamajoshi Sakamoto. I put most of my earnings into my training in hopes that my investment would pay off one day. A lot of my training was private, but I would often join classes for the purpose of working on my sparring skills. Sparring in a traditional martial arts school was not like it is now. We had no protective gear, no mouthpieces, no one to stop the fight, and a room full of guys who wanted to beat the daylights out of you. If you try to do this in this in the United States, you immediately expose yourself to lawsuits and your students will drop out in droves.
I remember one day when I was in class and Rafael called me to spar with him. I had not been in class for about two months. I think he may have been under the impression that I wasn’t training and that he was going to make an example out of me. He was shocked when we started fighting. I held my own during that match and gained even more respect from my fellow students. Rafael was a formidable opponent. He weighed 190lbs, held a black belt in Goju Ryu and was a professional boxer. That night, he came to my house and found me training. He watched me work out until 2:00AM. He could not believe the amount of effort and dedication I had.
Victor Liriano is another man who was one of my greatest Goju Ryu mentors. He was one of the first teachers I had that put a lot of emphasis on developing good counterattacking skills. I told him about the experience I had with the cow and how I reacted immediately. We both agreed that reaction without hesitation is essential when fighting.
Lizardo, the star of the group, decided he wanted to spar with me. During the match, he was very careful to keep his distance. I was so conscious about conditioning and developing power that some people were afraid of my power. One day when Lizardo and I were sparring, he asked me if I would take it easy on him. Lizardo became one of my teachers and also a good friend. From that point on, I couldn’t fight with him any more. It’s always been hard for me to spar with someone I liked and respected.
To be continued…
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851