Since the early 80s, my students loved to talk about how they got started training with me and then give us an update as to how they are doing today. Here is a testimonial from Darryl Dash, my first black belt.
I always had a big interest in martial arts. In 1985, I went to a martial arts showing held in Norwalk, Connecticut by an instructor named Calasanz. I had never seen such a raw power and technique live before in my life. I was so fascinated that I joined the school. The only talent I thought I might have was the fact that I played football and wrestled in high school. It was then that my very long journey began with Calasanz. He took me through every little detail of self-defense, offense, timing, flexibility, and reflexes. I had gone through rigorous training for hours, many days per week. The dojo became my playground and my hang out, if you will. Calasanz encouraged me to come more and train harder. We became very good friends over the years. I used to visit Calasanz at a Chi Chis restaurant and talk about all kinds of things. I learned gōjū-ryū and wing chun which was as excellent combination. I earned my black belt in 4-5 years. We went over katas and technique until it became a part of me. I would be able to move and react without even thinking about it. We spent many years working on timing and balance. You will not be able to get your black belt without having control as well as all the other tools Calasanz is giving. I then turned to tournaments and was particularly interested in point fighting. There were a lot of great fighters in my region such as Billy Blanks, Mafia Hollaway, Jerry Fontinez, Islam, Michael Jai-White, and Doug Peoples just to name a few. I trained with Calasanz on perfecting my head movement and timing. I spared with students bigger than me for strength (Kenny Mosley) and smaller students for speed (Roger), these were two other promising black belts that Calasanz had in his school.
I want to thank you Calasanz, for teaching me so much and it will always be with me. It is a part of who I am today. He let me teach a summer class and work with the other students. The defense, timing and speed training saved me so many times in tournaments like the Henry Cho Tournaments held every year at Madison Square Garden. The monster fight I had with Billy Blanks who was ranked number one in Karate Illustrated. Also, the challenges of being the top student at Calasanz, an occasional black belt would come in and test me. Calasanz has a strict rule of fighting others especially with full contact. I made the mistake of splitting the eyebrow open of a black belt who wanted to test my skills and he got a trip to the hospital. I spent 14 great years training with Calasanz and doing numerous commercials and videotaping techniques and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
I want to Thank You Calasanz, you have taught me so much. If I ever move back home, I’m coming back full time.