Tournament Fighting or Training for the Streets? – Part Four: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

Continued from: “Tournament Fighting or Training for the Streets? – Part Three: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”

I was often asked by some tournament promoters to come and help out with judging and giving my famous Super Break demonstrations during intermission.  When I helped with judging, I saw that a lot of cheating was going on.  Judges would show a lot of favoritism and ignore the scoring of points when it didn’t benefit their students.  I was very careful to capture every move and to score fairly.  I was also very fair when my own students fought and would award the points to the one who deserved it.  

At this one tournament where I was a regular, the promoter had tremendous respect for me, my system and my students.  I remember the first time they were introducing all of the masters and of course all of their ranks, some included 5th, 6th and 7th degree black belts.  Then they called me and I just had a black belt.  Everyone looked at me and expected that I would have some high rank.  I never pursued a higher rank because I wanted to be a well-rounded martial artist.  I didn’t want to get locked into one system for the rest of my life.  I wanted to see the whole logic behind the martial arts.  In addition, I am of the opinion that a lot of these ranks are artificial and self-created.  I remember one guy who claimed to be a Grandmaster of Wing Chun.  I found this hard to believe considering he was only 29 years old.  He took out an ad in a local newspaper where he applauded himself for being elected Grandmaster of Wing Chun by an association that he started himself!!! 

As an instructor, I am constantly asked about my school’s tournament participation and how many trophies I myself have won.  I’d like to start off by saying that I have great respect for martial artists who devote their time to training for kata and point fighting competition.  It takes a lot of discipline and hard work to pursue these goals.  What I object to is the public’s perception that the sign of a great fighter is winning lots of tournaments.  Unfortunately, today’s martial art tournaments look more like gymnastics and dance routines.  Some instructors who do well at tournaments, but have no street fighting experience try to convince their students that they can teach them how to protect themselves on the streets.  A person would have to train for many years in a traditional martial art before he would be able to use it on the streets.  Growing up in the rural areas of the Dominican Republic gave me a lot of street fighting experience when I wasn’t even looking.  Part of being a man were I come from meant that you didn’t back down from a challenge.  This went on even after I started taking martial arts.  Men would always challenge each other to knock down, drag down fights.  In 1975, one of my first instructors, a brown belt killer, who was twice my size, wanted to fight me despite the fact that I only had a few lessons in karate.  Finally, he convinced me to fight.  Because of my experience in street fighting, they had to stop the fight by pulling me off of him.  No matter how many belts, stripes, degrees or trophies you have, nothing beats the experience you get on the streets.

In 1995, I started making my movie, so we weren’t very focused on sending people to tournaments for about 4 years.  Several opportunities did present themselves and they were too good to pass up.  One of my students, Jim Calvi, had his own school called Force Three Tae Kwon Do.  I was interested in proving my skills as an instructor.  I trained a group of 12 students to participate in the 1996 Olympic trials in both kata and fighting.  Because we were not a tae kwon do school, we competed under the Force Three name because the competition was limited to practitioners of Tae Kwon Do.  Some of my students ended up having to fight each other for the gold medal.  I didn’t care that they weren’t fighting under my name.  All I cared about was to prove a point and that my skills as an instructor could be applied in a variety of areas. 

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT06851

www.calasanz.com

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The Benefits of Calasanz Physical Arts Training.

Within one year of coming to this country, I established a successful martial art business. I created a system of exercises primarily for women called Calasanz Physical Arts. This system includes exercises from various martial art and fitness disciplines including dancing, and gymnastics. My reason for creating Calasanz Physical Arts was to help women create a strong foundation upon which to build their martial art skills. When I was young I weighed and realized that I had to develop my martial art skills and improve my fitness level in order to compensate for being a lightweight fighter. I was able to defeat my teacher, Rafael Martinez, a heavyweight boxer and black belt using the same principles that are now part of Calasanz Physical Arts curriculum.  I learned that being strong was a prerequisite for being a good fighter and out of this experience, created a successful for women and men as well.

Shannon at Calasanz Martial Arts.

Young Athletes-Enhanced Athletic Performance through Martial Art Training

For over 20 years, Calasanz has helped young people improve their athletic performance in youth hockey, football, soccer, tennis, little league baseball and competitive martial arts. Calasanz Young Athletes program, is a consolidation of the best movements of karate, kung fu, boxing, kickboxing and Chinese boxing into an exciting program designed to enhance your child’s performance in his or her sport. 

Participants begin by learning the basics.  Strength training and stretching exercises are emphasized to develop muscular endurance and increase flexibility. Balancing and plyometric exercises are incorporated to maximize control over the body while in motion.  Breathing techniques traditionally practiced in the martial arts are also taught for the purpose of bringing a fresh supply of oxygen to the body and helping the athlete remain calm under pressure.  The program also offers other benefits such as developing concentration, stamina and hand-eye coordination.  

After the basics, it’s on to the martial art portion of the program. The kicks, punches, blocks, strikes, stances and footwork unique to each discipline are what make Young Athletes an effective athletic training program. The techniques of Calasanz Kickboxing and Goju Ryu Karate yield explosive leg power along with shoulder and forearm strength.  Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu and American Boxing techniques help develop powerful hip movements and increased hand speed, while Chinese Boxing enhances grounding and balancing skills.  

Young Athletes is designed to complement your child’s athletic performance and teach him or her how to train safely and intelligently.  Participants who put the time and effort into this program will enjoy the results. It’s also a fun and exciting cross-training alternative.

A Warning to Consumers of Martial Art Services

Respecting the Roots of Traditional Martial Arts

Youtuber Comment:

I have been an instructor for 26 years, my family has a long history in the martial arts. My highest rank is in Goju and Kung fu. My katas have been getting high reviews. In our motto we believe the answers are on the floor. I done many katas and there are different variations. So you can see the idea of what they look like. Now I have heard that Calasanz beat the hell out of Morio Higaonna, that’s what someone is telling me.

Response:

Thanks for your comment.  Calasanz respects the roots of Goju Ryu and credits it as well as other styles as the foundational arts for his System.  References to Goju Ryu or any other style are historical in nature.  Calasanz has created a name by giving constructive lessons to those who damage the martial arts. All of these lessons were done using non-violent diversionary techniques. Here you’re seeing a small piece of Calasanz training regime and martial art expertise.  He has spent his entire lifetime striving to be a well balanced martial artist. In addition to the traditional martial arts, he has also incorporated aerobics and dance into his training.  While some martial artists would shy away from this type of training, Calasanz sees the benefits of rounding out a rugged training regime with disciplines that focus on balance, grace and fluidity.  There are a variety of videos on this site showing the different sides of his training so just viewing one or two of them doesn’t really give you a sense of the wide range of his training. His success lies in his ability to incorporate these various disciplines into a complex system that seems simple at first glance. Thanks again and best of luck to you

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness Training images and videos!

Phsyical Arts Exercises: The Making of a Better Body Figure

Physical Arts helps you to reach your goals faster.  It is important to get your technique to flow.  This will cause a greater circulation of the “chi” or internal energy we all have.  When techniques aren’t smooth, it’s like a “kink” in a hose.  The energy gets stopped up and the water can’t flow.  Once we get out the “kinks,” then the flow of energy will allow you to train with more vigor and help you achieve a fit, healthy figure.  I designed my Physical Arts Exercises around this principle.

Physical Arts Exercises

Hard Work Pays Off

You Tuber:

Dudes funny but he really puts in work and is in great shape.

Response

Thank you for your comment.  Calasanz has worked really hard over the years to become a well-balanced martial artist.  In addition to training in the traditional arts, he also developed his body and form through dance and gymnastics.  His innovative training methods have had their critics, but in reality, his school is one of the largest and most successful in the country.  When most martial arts schools are closing their doors, his school is thriving. Hard work pays off.

Martial Arts Fitness