When I first came to the United States I wanted to make my mark, I wanted to make a name for myself. Upon entering this country I had a goal in mind and I said it over and over again, “I came here to make a movie.” I heard what Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others had to go through in Hollywood with the politics involved in making it big and I did not want to follow that path. Even Bruce Lee went back to China because of those same politics. I kept going and would not falter on my decision, I wanted to make this movie in the U.S., not my home country of the Dominican Republic. Besides, I was only training in martial arts in the Dominican Republic part time. I was respected the first time I entered a martial arts school because of my natural ability and most of all I never slacked off. You should also understand that I was a bit of a show off, if someone wanted to take a photo with me or asked me to do a full split, I did it immediately. All that showing off surprises me when I look back at it but I enjoyed showing off my skills and I do have a strong respect for martial arts and the instructors that had a hand in my training, especially Tameyoshi Sakemoto. I gained the trust and heart of Sakemoto because I possessed a gift to be a naturally gifted martial artist and I never abused that gift. Most of my fights were won without fighting, anyone that wanted to discuss martial arts with me understood my skills and knew that I required and deserved respect. There were some cases where I won a fight but I was fortunate that it was not too serious a fight because even though I was in good shape maybe my diet was not so good, maybe I worked too hard, put too much pressure on myself, or made too many mistakes. When you are training hard and put that amount of pressure on yourself, regardless of how good a shape you are in, you would not be at your strongest with all that stress.
When I was eight years old when I taught my four year old brother how to hurt another kid who was bullying him. Between eight and 12 years old I knew how to take a big step forward and deliver the hardest kick to a cow that connected on its belly. There is an empty space that this animal has, I would love to know the name of that specific muscle, you hit it hard and they go down for at least one minute! I used to do that all the time, until one day I got caught, before the cow got up my father came and knew exactly what happened.
As I start training in martial arts, all my friends realized that I had a talent for what I was doing. They realized that no one on the farms in the Dominican Republic could trade kicking with me including his elders. I could easily win a fight just by kicking. Fighting was something came easy to me, I could look at a person and immediately knew when to strike, bite, punch, or kick them. I would take examples from today’s self defense techniques like MMA and Wing Chun Chi Sau and I would know where to strike just by looking at a person‘s body. I loved martial arts but my father begged me to get into boxing but I wanted more than just beating someone as a sport.
In 1975 my father and I went to see a movie made famous by Bruce Lee titled “Enter the Dragon.” I knew right away that I wanted to make a film. I started planning a trip to the U.S. I knew that I could make a business out of movies and acting. I did not want to just teach anymore, I knew that I wanted to be on the big screen. I wanted to do exactly what Bruce was did. At this point I already had a diploma and a job at a bank. I was able to convince my job to let me take a break to go to the U.S. to study. I applied for a visa and got accepted to the University of Bridgeport. When I got to the university I didn’t open a book, I was more focused on anything and everything to do with martial arts. This journey to get to the U.S. and make something of myself was realized when I opened my school. After opening the school, the idea I had long ago to make a movie would finally be reality.
To be continued….
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851