Continued from : Martial Arts American Style – Part two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography
I also enrolled as a student at a martial arts school in Darien where I experienced one of the biggest challenges of my career. One of my more experienced classmates kicked me. As a got ready to challenge him in a sparring match, someone stopped the fight. Even though I was considered to be a very powerful fighter, I saw this incident as a big wake up call. I was determined to get even. I started an intense training regime. I did up to 10,000 kicks per day, sometimes training for hours. All the rigorous mental and physical training, as well as the counter attack skills I developed with one punch and side kick, were my reward from this incident. This man and I never fought again. He and I became good friends and I won his respect by improving myself. This is what I mean by winning without fighting.
Something similar happened in the Dominican Republic. My classmate, Alejandro kicked me with a hard spinning kick. My teacher stopped the fight because he knew I would retaliate. Alejandro was getting ready for a tournament, so he was using me as a practice target. The next time we fought, I was determined to give him a run for his money. I hit him so hard that he started bleeding from his ears, eyes and mouth. My teacher was furious and almost threw me out of the school. I later spoke to Alejandro and explained to him that while he had to get ready for a tournament by trying to kill me, I had to get ready for him. My teacher never did kick me out of the school because aside from my determination not to lose a fight, I was a helpful, devoted student.
I wanted to look good in the execution of my martial art techniques, so I was willing to “humiliate” myself as a man and study dance. The humiliation turned to fun when I found myself in a class of twenty women!! I studied ballet, jazz, and tap. Dance training paid off because it taught me poise and self-expression. I have incorporated many of the stretching and training techniques I learned there into my martial arts classes. To this day, new students will often ask my more senior students if they ever studied dance. I tease my students, especially the men, by telling them, “Do you know you’re learning dance techniques without having to take dance lessons! You don’t have to do a pirouette in front of twenty women. I did it for you!”
To be continued…
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851