Calasanz 30th Anniversary Dojo Testing Special to be held on February 16th, 2013

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For years, Calasanz has tirelessly worked to take care of his students. Back in the day, Calasanz scheduled a big promotion date on a Saturday and those who were scheduled to help at the last minute were not able to attend. Instead of canceling, Calasanz tested 120 students himself. This included coaching, holding boards for breaking, registering, taking registration fees, making change and encouraging each student to do his or her best. Calasanz did the work of 10 people that day and all the students who worked hard and prepared for months were able to test and get promoted.

In honor of Calasanz 30th year of martial art excellence, he will be repeating this feat again and testing all his students by himself upstairs! This kind of event is special and rare. He has only done this a few times over his long illustrious career in the martial arts! Students will be able to schedule their test from 4am to 11pm on Saturday February 16th. This test will be filmed by a professional videographer and still photos will be taken. Internet links will be distributed to corresponding students in order to view your personal results online.

Many students from the past who know who Calasanz really is, will be here in order to honor this special occasion. Some of them will be testing and or participating in a 5 minute video recording. This day should be about ours students and their test with Calasanz.

Everyone get ready!!!!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness


507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851


How to Hold a Board for a Breaking Demonstration: by Calasanz

Breaking objects, like boards, bricks, etc, it is not hard as you might think, in fact it is very easy, but requires some skill on the holder, but more over on the striker, any mistake on the technique used to execute the break could cost you an injury, for example you must take in consideration the lacking of your wrist, your foot, your concentration, your stances, the direction of your chi, if these skill are right, then the next thing is who is holding the object. Calasanz did what not too many martial artist even think on doing, but he never injure himself, it bother him when he hear instructors talking about the amount of bones they have broken by breaking boards, first of all, if you are going to break an object and you get hurt, that would be an embarrassment toward your career in the martial arts, unless you are trying to set a record or something, it is clear that any time you try to surpass in an event there is a risk behind, but if you routinely do breaks and then you get hurt, then there is not doubt, that you should practice your martial arts for a while before you go back to break, because it is not acceptable to get hurt every time you do a break, some martial artists believe that is a pride for them to break their wrist or arm, not in the Calasanz system which the system of skill.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness


507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

The Next Level: Making Progress in the Martial Arts – by Calasanz

The goals of a good martial arts curriculum is progress. Regardless of the style you have chosen to study, all of them begin with the fundamentals and can take you to the level of mastery.  Success however depends on two things: commitment on your part and a skilled instructor who not only teaches you the art, but also challenges you. 

To some, progression in the martial arts is about earning another belt or stripe. The space between these belts and stripes however is where the martial artist makes his real gains.  This is where all the hard work takes place. In addition to learning the new techniques required by your style’s curriculum, you will be tested physically and mentally. 

Increasing your fitness level will be challenging, as you push yourself to become faster, stronger and more agile.  You can learn thousands of techniques, but if you are not physically fit enough to execute them, they will be of little or no use.  This is why it’s important for a martial arts curriculum to include conditioning exercises.  Take them seriously because they’re part of the whole package. 

You have to discipline yourself to get to the dojo and train hard on nights when all you want to do is go home and lay on the couch.  You may want to eat healthier so you spend more time training and less time digesting! You will have to take all that your instructor has taught you and incorporate it into sparring or self-defense practice.  While you’ve learned many attacks and counterattacks, you may find that you only use a few. This is where you experiment with what really works.

Now it’s time for your instructor to do his part. A good instructor will push you beyond your comfort zone.  He knows that in order for you to go beyond where you are now, he’s going to have to make you work.  He’s going to have to mix up the physical training so your routine doesn’t get stale.  He may change up a workout that you’ve gotten used to. He may ask you to train with different classmates or to train alone.  He may ask you to work on your least favorite techniques or learn a really hard form. 

Don’t get upset if one day he walks into class and turns it all upside down.   His experience tells him that a stale routine stalls your progress.  The only way to get to the next level is to push past whatever is in your way.  Work diligently on what is asked of you.  The day of your test is merely icing on the cake.  All the work necessary to progress is done between the belts!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness


507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

Single Blow and Street Survivor: Martial Art Courses for the Real World

Most martial artists will tell you that your chances of surviving abduction once an attacker gets you into his car are slim to none.  Their advice is to fight for your life because statistics show that the consequences are grim.  On Wednesday, July 28, 2004, Larissa del Mar Fiallo, was assaulted by two men who tried to kidnap her in the parking lot of a shopping mall.  The incident made international news because Ms. Fiallo is this year’s Miss Dominican Republic.  What interested us about the story reported by (July 29, 2004) was that Ms. Fiallo was able to escape her attackers “thanks to her knowledge of judo.”  She explained how she fought back when the two men tried to get her into their car and how she knocked over the larger one three times.  Her attackers fled the scene and an investigation is pending. While Ms. Fiallo suffered deep cuts and bruises to various parts of her body, she survived the attack and was released from the hospital several days later.

Violent crime is on the rise in the Dominican Republica as the country faces one of the “worst economic crises in decades, according to  Calasanz was born and raised in this country where he learned about self-defense first hand.  His experience did not come from pre-arranged tournaments with competitors wearing padding and subjecting themselves to the rules and regulations of sparring.  He learned hand-to-hand combat in an environment where a man is routinely challenged to physically defend him and others.

Calasanz has combined his real life experience and martial arts training into two courses designed to serve the needs of a public interested in fitness and self-defense.  “While we teach traditional martial arts as part of our curriculum, if people request it, most want to get into shape and learn how to fight,” says Calasanz.  “They don’t want to spend years learning forms or weapons that were used in ancient societies. And they could care less about belts and stripes.”  Most of the students who train at Calasanz are busy executives, professionals and homemakers who want a curriculum that emphasizes fitness and self-defense.  “Many of my students travel for business and are concerned with their safety in an increasingly uncertain world.  They want to be prepared to defend themselves and their loved ones.”

The essence of the Single Blow and Street Survivor Courses is to strike where an attacker is most vulnerable and to get away.   Single Blow is our basic course designed for those who wish to learn a simple, effective form of self-defense in a short period of time.  Street Survivor is a more complex version of Single Blow, which includes more techniques and technical training.  The one feature that both courses have in common is Calasanz’ Body Conditioning System.  A defensive blow is useless unless the person delivering it is able to focus his or her power.  Calasanz has always believed that the study of self-defense begins with making a connection to your physical body and learning how to use it as a weapon.  It is from there that Calasanz and his trained instructors teach you his unique philosophy of counterattacks and how to use them in any situation. 

We at Calasanz wish Ms. Fiallo a speedy recovery and commend her for her bravery in the face of extreme danger.  She serves as an example to all of us of why we study the martial arts. For those interested in either the Single Blow or Street Survivor Course, contact the school for a personal consultation. 

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851


CALASANZ PHYSICAL ARTS® evolved out of the martial arts tradition. It is the fastest way to get into shape and learn self-defense. Our system grew out of two programs I established to accommodate students who asked for special training. The first program was primarily used to improve athletic performance, called the YOUNG ATHLETES. Parents who trained with me or heard about my school asked if I could do something to improve their children’s athletic performance. I took the best the martial arts had to offer and combined them in a training system to maximize athletic conditioning and skill in a relatively short time. I worked with athletes specializing in tennis, soccer, football, basketball, ice hockey, dance, gymnastics and baseball to get fast results.

Another component of CALASANZ PHYSICAL ARTS® is the self-defense piece. This came out of a request from law enforcement officers; fire fighters and military personnel who wanted to get into shape and learn hardcore self-defense without having to spend years studying a traditional martial art. These people had no time for belts or tournaments. They had to worry about survival. I devised a one-month intensive to accomplish these goals.

Both programs were so successful that I decided to combine them into one program for the benefit of the general public. CALASANZ PHYSICAL ARTS® is popular because of its ability to get quick results and to keep you interested in your training. In creating this system, I designed a collection of exercises and techniques that focus on developing power, grounding, balance, endurance and flexibility.

There are so many different exercises in the system that boredom is impossible! I have created many variations on the basic exercises…from moving in different directions to working out in a seated or standing position. I love to change up the exercises from time to time to keep your workout fresh and to keep your muscles guessing.

CALASANZ PHYSICAL ARTS® is a great alternative to working out at a gym on machines, free weights or with a personal trainer. It’s a system that gets you into shape, teaches you how to defend yourself and keeps your workout fresh and exciting.

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851


Calasanz Physical Arts-Taking You to the Next Level! – by Calasanz

My goal as a martial arts instructor is to see you make progress.  While some measure progress in the martial arts with colored belts, it is really the space between the tests where you make real gains.  This is where the hard work takes place. 

Any decent martial arts system begins with the fundamentals and can take you to the level of mastery.  Success as a martial artist however, depends on two things: commitment on your part and a skilled instructor who not only teaches you the art, but also challenges you. 

It has long been my philosophy that you can learn thousands of techniques, but if you are not physically fit enough to execute them; they will be of little or no use.  This is why it’s important for a martial arts curriculum to include challenging conditioning exercises in order to propel you to the next level.

Calasanz Physical Arts training begins with conditioning.  I take you in any condition and help increase your physical fitness.  I structure a workout tailored to your needs and push you to become strong and flexible. As my student, I will encourage you to take conditioning seriously because it is an important part of the whole package.  You will be amazed at how only a few exercises produce fantastic results!

Some of you may get upset when I make changes to your training routines.  You come to the dojo with your own agenda but it is my job to push you beyond your comfort zone.  After three decades dedicated to teaching the martial arts, I know which direction to push you into in order to take you to the next level. 

I’m going to intentionally mix up the routine you’ve become so comfortable with because I don’t want your training to get stale.  I may ask you to train with someone other than the usual training partner so you will experience working with someone who is totally different than what you are used to.  I may ask you to spend some time on your least favorite technique or require you to learn a difficult form for your next promotion test. 

So don’t get upset if one day I walk up to you and turn it all upside down.   My experience tells me that a stale routine stalls your progress. I want to help you build natural power and the only way I can do that is to force you push past whatever is in your way.  Work diligently on what is asked of you.  The belt is merely icing on the cake.  All the work necessary to progress is done long before the date of your test!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851


MMA: A Balanced Approach – by Calasanz

Martial Arts originated out of necessity.  People had to defend themselves against humans and animals and the only weapons they had were their hands and feet. The battles fought by these individuals were for sheer survival, not belts or plastic tournament trophies.  When confronting life and death struggles, the ancient warrior had to condition his body to take the brutal physical punishment his opponents dished out.  He also had to skillfully maneuver in battle to minimize the physical damage to himself. 

Martial Arts eventually came to the West and were taught by instructors trained under the “old school” system-toughen the body by exposing it to a brutal training which included lots of beatings during sparring.  I personally witnessed this at the age of 14 when I took my first Karate class in the Dominican Republic.  Students, regardless of rank, were pummeled mercilessly with no training on how to block or simply get out of the way of a ferocious attack.  Don’t get me wrong, these fighters were tough and could take a blow but at what cost?

There is brutality in many sports, especially combat sports.  We’ve seen injuries, deaths, and the long-term effects of abuse on the body in Football, Boxing, Hockey, and Karate.  And while at the professional levels in any sport, the competition is so good that it is impossible to avoid brutality, I must say I am very impressed with many of the fighters in the UFC! 

The physical training they put themselves through allows them to take strikes that would kill an average man.  As impressed as I am with the physical, mental, and spiritual preparation it takes to step into the Octagon, I am astounded at their skills in avoiding brutality.  How is it that in over 18 years of MMA that none of these fighters have gotten seriously hurt or killed?  It is because these fighters can move, avoid, slip, and escape; they have tremendous timing and blocking abilities. 

The MMA fighters have brought Martial Arts training into balance. They are not only strong and conditioned athletes, but also admirable technicians skilled in the fighting arts. This is the essence of martial arts.  This is what separates a martial artist from a street brawler.

So if you wish to be a fighter, build your body to the maximum, because it is inevitable that you will get hit and you need to be able to take it.  But don’t rely on your body (or face) to absorb all the abuse.  Avoid kicks and punches to the head at all costs; block, move, slip, evade, fight intelligently!  This will keep you in the sport longer, and you won’t end up like Muhammad Ali when you retire!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851


Are You Teaching Martial Arts or Self-Esteem? By Calasanz

In order to attract children, many martial art schools advertise that martial arts training helps develop self-esteem.  This promise is directed to parents in hopes of convincing them that there is more to martial arts than just learning how to fight.  While this is true, I believe that it has been taken to extremes.  I don’t intend to criticize my colleagues.  This is merely an observation that I have made after dealing with the countless students who have come from other schools.

An injustice is done to students when the instructor offers too much praise at the expense of critiquing technique and demanding higher standards.  Students, both adults and children, like hearing nice words.  From a business perspective, it’s all about making the customer happy.  When customers are happy, they keep coming back.  From a martial art perspective, however, it is deceiving.  This deception leads to the instructor avoiding corrections so that his student’s ego will not be bruised or offended.  For example, one student who had earned a black belt at another school told me that the instructor praised him even when he was hit or knocked down by a lower ranked student.  He would tell him that he “did great!”  Over time, the student believes what the teacher is telling him.

In reality, it is the instructor’s responsibility to admonish the black belt who should know better.  If he doesn’t, then he shouldn’t be wearing the belt.  It’s dishonest to promote a student just to boost his self-esteem.  This practice is widespread especially when it comes to training children.  Some teachers will tell parents that monthly testing is great for their kids’ self-esteem.  In all honesty, the only benefit is to the school’s cash register. 

Traditional martial arts instructors were hard on their students because they wanted them to learn.  In circles that still hold on to this tradition, the tougher the teacher is on you, the more he likes you and wants you to succeed.  They show their concern by demanding more from you. 

A realistic approach to teaching is particularly important when a student has made it known that he is enrolling because he wants to learn how to protect himself. For the student who wants to study martial arts as an alternative to other fitness programs, I say let them have fun.  There is room in martial arts for all types.  But if the student wants self-defense or a parent wants to help a child who is being bullied, this is a different story.  What good will kind words do them when their personal safety is in danger?

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

To Affiliate or Not Affiliate: by Calasanz

We Americans love affiliations and endorsements… The Good Housekeeping  Seal, Better Business Bureau etc. They lend credibility to a business or product. They assure us that our chosen product or service has received
some type of validation from a higher authority.

Martial arts are no different. Look at most generic articles entitled “how to choose a good martial arts school.” A piece of advice you will often see is that you find a school that is affiliated with an “accredited organization.”

Membership in a martial arts association has a lot of benefits. Some martial art schools are part of a franchise. This means that they are affiliated with a larger company that has licensed its name and methodology for a fee. The advantage here is name recognition along with some management assistance.

Another advantage is that martial arts associations set curriculums and provide rank certification. They establish governing boards that promote the art and quality control. They provide smaller schools with recognition and the appearance of being “official” because they are linked with a larger group. Associations organize tournaments, camps and special events. They provide its members with networking opportunities and may also maintain a website with links to its affiliates.

Martial art associations are wonderful marketing tools in a culture that loves the “seal of approval.” You are warned by a lot of websites to be leery of an unaffiliated school because they may not follow an “established’ curriculum and there credentials might be in question.

Well, I’m here to provide you with another warning…*membership in associations, organizations or affiliations will not necessarily guarantee you good martial arts instruction. *There are a lot of dedicated, competent martial arts instructors who are sick of the politics of some martial arts associations and have decided to remain independent or break away.

There is also a financial component to being part of an association. Schools pay fees to belong to the association. Students are often required to pay initial membership fees to the association and are charged by these entities for rank advancement or testing fees. In addition, some schools have to fork out thousands to have some “master” come to affiliate member schools and give special seminars. Students are pressured into attending and have to pay in for these seminars on top of their monthly or yearly dues.

Instead of putting too much stock in affiliation with an association, the best way to choose a school is to ask around in your community. Very often, several schools will be recommended. Word of mouth is often the best advertising.

Find out how long they’ve been in business. Go to each school and ask to watch a class. Talk to the instructor. Do you like his or her teaching style? The fact that this instructor may or may not be affiliated with an organization may be unimportant. Don’t’ discount the school just because you don’t see a wall full of credentials. Membership in outside organizations doesn’t always assure quality.

 Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851


The Business of Belts and Ranking Systems: by Calasanz

If you practice the martial arts, the color of the belt around your waist is used to signify your grade, level or “ranking” within the style.  Colored belts, however, were never part of the ancient martial arts tradition.  According to martial art folklore, a student was given a white belt to match his uniform and hold up his pants.  After many years of training, the belt became stained with dirt, blood and sweat to the point where it turned black.  See, while you were encouraged to wash your uniform, your belt was off limits. Belt washing meant that you washed away all the “qi” or energy accumulated over the years and this was strictly prohibited. 

In the 1880’s, Judo founder Jigoro Kano created the first belt ranking system.  Subsequently, other arts followed by creating a hierarchy of colors earned by students. The belt ranking system has been successful with Western cultures because of the emphasis we place on degrees, certifications, awards, licenses and other indicia of proficiency. The belt ranking system sets up goals for students to achieve along their training, with the belt as the reward.

Originally, there were only three colored belts…white, for the beginner, green for intermediate, and black for advanced.  Eventually different styles, schools and martial arts organizations adopted their own color ranking system that included numerous levels. Many styles have also added the concept of the “stripe,” which is a form of advancement between color ranks. 

It’s important to know that if you have a green belt in a Japanese style for instance, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can go to the Tae Kwon Do school across town and be recognized as a green belt there. What the belts signify is that you have learned the basic principles and techniques for that particular rank, in that particular system.  Depending on the instructor at the new school, some will allow students transferring from another style to either wear the belt they earned or the equivalent in their system. Others may require you to start from white belt and work your way up. 

Please understand that in the modern American dojo each level of advancement, whether it’s a colored belt or stripe comes with a price tag.  To obtain the next a belt or stripe, the student will have to take a test.  The more testing a school does, the more it collects in test fees.  Some schools even have separate charges for the belt or stripe, and the test fee.

I’m not opposed to the ranking system because it gives students goals to focus on and offers a sense of achievement for hard work. I do believe that a consumer looking for a martial arts school should inquire about the amount of promotions since they are a revenue generating machine and do not necessarily guarantee proficiency in martial arts training. Buyer beware!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness / 507 Westport Ave. Norwalk CT / 800-414-9544 / / /

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