Continued from “: Martial Arts American Style – Part Four: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”
I earned my reputation as an instructor by training about 25 street fighters. I was new to this country and interested in creating a name. I chose street brawlers because they had the confidence and endurance to fight. It was my job to teach them martial arts techniques and self-control necessary for tournaments. It took me about 3 months to get them ready to fight under my school’s name. They impressed everyone who saw them fight or perform. People wanted to know who there instructor was. This was the first step I took in creating a reputation. It was the beginning and helped draw more students to my school and win me respect in the community.
In 1986 I rented space out of a hardcore bodybuilding gym called George’s Gym. It wasn’t the easiest environment to be in. Some of the bodybuilders were obnoxious and believed that a body built by steroids was all they needed to be good fighters. I had no doubt however that it would not take long before everyone respected anyone wearing the Calasanz logo. I told my students that within a few weeks, we would attract a lot of business from the gym. One of the bodybuilders who came through my door was a 6’4” bully who invited everyone in the gym to come to my school and watch him beat me up. I aimed a kick to his hipbone and disabled him in 15 seconds. After this incident, our school was constantly training bodybuilders. The people who witnessed the fight that day and the bully himself sent us business! He even went so far as referring his victims to us. He would tell them “go train with Calasanz so he can teach you how to fight!” By the way, we sold a lot of clothing bearing the Calasanz logo because my school had earned such a good reputation that people wanted to wear our logo. The purpose for wearing our clothes was that no one would mess with you if they thought you trained at Calasanz. This was the name I created.
While I enjoyed training street fighters, it was now time to expand my system to society-at-large. My new philosophy is to meet the student where he or she is and find out what it is that they want to get out of the martial arts. I always ask a new student, “do you want to learn how to fight, are you interested in fitness, self-defense or competition?” Whatever the answer, I tailor a program that will suit a student’s needs. Regardless of the program they choose, I balance their curriculum so they get a complete taste of the system, while focusing on their particular goal. We always work with a goal in mind. I have found that students who train for hours with no particular goal end up getting bored or frustrated. Every time you walk on the floor to train, you must think about what you want to get out of it. Training goals should also be adjusted from time to time to reflect a student’s new interests, lifestyle and abilities. This way, training always has a purpose.
To be continued…
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851