Continued from “: Martial Arts American Style – Part one: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”
I had earned the reputation of one of the best waiters at Victoria Station. I was quick, courteous and efficient. One night, I served a table of twenty-five and worked my tail off for them. When they were finished, they got up from the table and went into the bar. They left me a tip of $5.00. I went into the bar and asked if they were not pleased with the service because they didn’t leave me the customary 15%. They were so obnoxious and condescending that I lost it. I grabbed the biggest guy by the hair, brought him to the ground and pressed his face into the carpet with my fist. The police were called and immediately five cops were pulling me off of this guy. Because I had become a fixture jogging through the streets at all hours of the day and night, the police were kind enough to convince the restaurant to return this parties money so that they would not press charges against me.
It was now time to get started on my original plan for coming to the United States. I wanted to become a well-rounded martial artist. My first plan was to spend at least two years of hard work on my Goju Ryu forms, since this was the primary martial art I had devoted the first half of my life to. I next planned to extract three to four concepts from a group of carefully selected disciplines-Wing Chun, Cheng Chuang Long Fist, Hapkido, American Boxing and dance. I made it very clear to all my teachers that my main style was Okinawan Goju Ryu and while I had great respect for their style, I only wanted to learn some basics.
I heard that some of the best martial artists and boxers were in New York City. I was curious to see how my skills would match up against boxers, so I trained at Gleason’ Gym for a while. I also studied tai chi from a master who lived there. As a sign of respect for this man, I paid him $4,000 to come to Connecticut to correct my form. I also studied Cheng Chuang Long Fist and wanted to learn four forms very well. My teacher however, didn’t understand. He was interested in teaching me over ninety forms!! This would take a lifetime and was not part of my plan. While I respected his skill and what he taught me, we started having philosophical differences. Another instructor would call me into his office every two weeks and badger me about my training. I explained where I was coming from and that our deal was that I pay in exchange for lessons. Once I achieved an advanced rank in his school, he started giving me problems. He was under the impression that I wanted to teach his style, but this could not be further from the truth. I wanted to learn some basics. I had already envisioned how my system would look like and I didn’t want to be confined by one style. I shook his hand, wished him well and haven’t seen him since.
I then went to study with Moyat, a Wing Chun master who also had a school in New York City. Challengers would come to the school from time to time to fight Moyat’s students. Many of his students, even those who had been with him for many years, were not allowed to use the wooden dummy. The wooden dummy is a martial arts training tool that is indispensable in learning how to fight. I was not about to back down from a challenge. I went on to fight some of these karate practitioners who wanted to challenge the Wing Chun system. Wing Chun is a very practical martial art and a lot of these guys learned how effective it was when we took them on in the name of our school. Moyat saw my skill and told me that I could be teaching Wing Chun within four months if I applied myself to intensive training. I accepted his offer.
To be continued…
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851