Continued from: “Tournament Fighting or Training for the Streets? – Part Two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”
I have prepared many students for competition, who could survive a real fight with a street fighter. Not all students however, are able to do this. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t train in martial arts. By training, they increase there chances for survival in a self-defense situation. They can also enjoy the martial arts as physical fitness, mind development and as the study of an ancient art. When I mentioned point fighters earlier in this piece, I indicated that real fighting and point fighting are really two separate issues and that successful point fighters shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that they are reality fighters. This does not mean however that point fighters and other competitors are not true martial artists. It takes a lot of discipline and self-denial to train for competition. Tournament training also takes facing your fears and becoming your own personal best. These people have a place in the martial arts.
I had a few students who came to me with the intention of becoming tournament point fighters. Their names were Mark, Dave and Matt. Because of the reputation I had built with my street fighter competitors, these guys were immediately matched up with opponents who were instructors! I made a deal with one of their mothers and promised her that if she agreed to drive her son to the competitions, I would make him #1 in New England in his division within a year an a half. It happened. Within that period of time, he was #1 in New Englandand 4th in the nation in sparring and in kata.
As I mentioned earlier, I earned my reputation by training street fighters. They fought not only in the streets, but I also sent them to tournaments so that I could prove myself in the martial arts community. Many of them became popular competitors. When they first started, they would get disqualified because they were accustomed to street fighting. I decided that if we were going to continue going to tournaments, we would have to learn to play by the rules. So I taught them how to play the game. I trained them to score at least 12 points before their opponent scored 3. Eventually, many of them started winning. They did as best as they could, considering opponents went to tournaments every week and they were just competing on a part-time basis.
It was a common practice to match my students with some of the toughest competitors. Sometimes it was even hard for them to register in advance because they would purposely try to stack the deck against us. I had tried point fighting myself and gave up on it because it was more of a game to me than a fighting art. If you learned the little tricks of playing the game, you could win. What I feared about engaging in point fighting, was that my fighting ability would suffer because I would develop bad habits. Point fighting rules that require you to pull punches and make no contact with your opponent are directly opposed to the skills you need to learn to survive on the streets. One guy who trained with me for point fighting tournaments earned the nickname “Flash” because his moves were so fast and fancy. While he was one of the best point fighters, he had a problem when he tried to engage in hard fighting because of the habits he had developed.
To be continued…
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851