Continued from: “Teaching the Calasanz System – Part Two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”
Many of our messages have been directed at students who are very good fighters. One of the messages I have to give over and over is that you don’t have to brutalize yourself in order to become a good fighter. I don’t believe in this type of training. I think that an effective fighter has to train “smarter.” Sending a message or teaching a lesson to a student does not require that you physically injure them. I’ve never had to physically injure a student in order to get my point across. Why? You train in the martial arts to be able to defend yourself. Survival is not dependant on knowing thousands of techniques, but rather on your balance, grounding, power and most of all, heart. Courage and intelligence will go farther in self-defense. This is the key to surviving a life-threatening situation. This is the philosophy behind many of my messages to my students.
I have taught many high rank students from other system, some of them have been very talented martial artists. I enjoy teaching students from other systems because they bring their own special talents. The one thing that does frustrate me sometimes is getting them to make the transition from their style to the Calasanz System. I have designed this system to be practical. With that in mind, I have done away with the tradition of teaching hundreds of techniques and forms. Unfortunately, many students are more interested in quantity, not quality. They haven’t even practiced a front kick to the point they can deliver effectively and they are asking, “What am I going to learn next?” My philosophy is learning a few things, learn them well and make them as automatic as possible. When you are confronted with a life-threatening situation, I promise that a lot of those fancy techniques will go right out the window. In addition, an attacker on the streets is not going to engage in polite cooperation. He’s not going to let you take your time while you respond to a wrist grab.
I have created a course called Street Survivor that teaches simple defensive techniques. I can teach you some effective fighting skills within a relatively short period of time. I once had a man training with me who was hired as a bodyguard for a well-known politician. He was required to train as part of his job, so he was sent to me. While he didn’t understand the difference between the different styles of martial arts, he understood the basic techniques I taught him, especially, heavy leg training and kicking. I programmed him to counter attack with great ferocity. One day, I put him to spar with a Thai boxer from Cambodia. Regardless of the attack this Thai boxer delivered, this man was able to counter attack and hold his own. I finally had to stop the fight because the Thai boxer had taken a couple of heavy kicks to the leg and I was afraid that any more kicks could lead to an injury. The Thai boxer was humiliated and couldn’t eat for two days. This sent a clear message to him. He came to my school with the attitude that he knew it all and that he wasn’t going to learn anything from anyone. I told him after this fight that he really needed to stop being so arrogant and try to learn something so that he could be as effective as the bodyguard. I purposely gave two messages that day; one to the bodyguard and the other to the Thai boxer. A message is more effective than giving a lecture to a student.
I sent a similar message to two other students who had come from another system. They had a lot of techniques, so I decided to put them to spar with a student of mine who at first glance looked heavy and out of shape. They were both hurt by this guy. They couldn’t believe it! This was done with training simple techniques and making counter attacks automatic. This is what we create at Calasanz.
To be continued…
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851