The Wing Chun Traditional Dummy

The Traditional Dummy Explained

The traditional wooden dummy is a staple in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean martial arts.  They do come in various shapes and sizes, but the most prevalent design is 3 arms and 1 leg.  The Dummy is especially used in the practice of Wing Chun and is used to practice techniques, build bone density and train sensitivity.  To read more about the wooden dummy, its history and its purpose please read more here

Why My Method of Wing Chun Training is Unique: by Calasanz

The Calasanz System includes my unique method of Wing Chun training.  While I have used my creativity to expand on the Wing Chun system, I have great respect for the traditional roots of any martial art that I have studied and great reverence for the men I learned from.  In my Bio, I talk about my training and that I learned from several instructors after I spent many years with my Goju Ryu master, Tamojoshi Sakamoto.  My reason for doing this was to become a well-rounded martial artist.  That is why I studied with others at least to the point of brown belt- to get a basic understanding of the differences.  I did however; absorb myself in the study of Wing Chun, learning the entire system from Moyat, a master based in Chinatown, New York City, by taking private lessons with him.

I studied Wing Chun because I wanted to learn a martial art from Southern China and for to balance my history of training in “hard” styles with a “soft” one.  I was also looking to work internally and expand on the philosophy taught to me by Tamojoshi Sakamoto, my Goju Ryu master.  I remember having dinner many times with him in the evening and writing down every thing he said.  He taught me two great lessons.  One is that the enemy lies within; in the obstacles I placed between success and myself.  The second was Narano-kan-nin, Surga-kan-nin.  This means that forgiving the unforgivable releases the burden of carrying anger and hatred.  Studying a “soft” style helped me integrate these lessons on a physical, mental and spiritual level. 

When I left Moyat’s school in 1980, I did so on very good terms.  I began teaching Wing Chun with Moyat’s blessing, because I wouldn’t do it any other way.  In 1987, Moyat came to my school in Norwalk and conducted a seminar in Wing Chun.  He did this out of respect for me, as well as to help my school deal with another Wing Chun school that was creating problems.  The instructor at this school gave himself the title of “Grandmaster”, claiming that he too studied under Moyat, which was not the case.  Moyat also came to Norwalk out of respect for our student/teacher relationship. When I was training at Moyat’s, he was having some trouble with people coming to the school to challenge his students.  The students taking the group classes could not handle the problem because at the time, he reserved certain training methods, like wooden dummy, only for his private students.  I had been in so many confrontations like this in the Dominican Republic that this was old news to me.  I fought any of the guys who came to his school looking to cause trouble and eventually put a stop to the problem without anyone getting seriously hurt.

My method of Wing Chun training is integrated in The Calasanz System, so my students have a well-rounded approach, not only to Wing Chun, but also to self-defense.  This integration was never meant to disrespect or criticize my Wing Chun teacher or any other Wing Chun instructor.  It is my way of expanding this traditional style to supplement its softness with the hardness of other styles, to create a well-rounded martial artist.  It is an approach that many have benefited from and enjoyed over the years.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

1-203-847-6528

507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

www.norwalkkungfu.com

Martial Arts American Style – Part Three: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

Continued from : Martial Arts American Style – Part two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

I also enrolled as a student at a martial arts school in Darien where I experienced one of the biggest challenges of my career.  One of my more experienced classmates kicked me.  As a got ready to challenge him in a sparring match, someone stopped the fight.  Even though I was considered to be a very powerful fighter, I saw this incident as a big wake up call.  I was determined to get even.  I started an intense training regime.  I did up to 10,000 kicks per day, sometimes training for hours.  All the rigorous mental and physical training, as well as the counter attack skills I developed with one punch and side kick, were my reward from this incident.  This man and I never fought again. He and I became good friends and I won his respect by improving myself. This is what I mean by winning without fighting.

Something similar happened in the Dominican Republic.  My classmate, Alejandro kicked me with a hard spinning kick.  My teacher stopped the fight because he knew I would retaliate.  Alejandro was getting ready for a tournament, so he was using me as a practice target.  The next time we fought, I was determined to give him a run for his money.  I hit him so hard that he started bleeding from his ears, eyes and mouth.  My teacher was furious and almost threw me out of the school.  I later spoke to Alejandro and explained to him that while he had to get ready for a tournament by trying to kill me, I had to get ready for him.  My teacher never did kick me out of the school because aside from my determination not to lose a fight, I was a helpful, devoted student. 

I wanted to look good in the execution of my martial art techniques, so I was willing to “humiliate” myself as a man and study dance.  The humiliation turned to fun when I found myself in a class of twenty women!!  I studied ballet, jazz, and tap.  Dance training paid off because it taught me poise and self-expression.  I have incorporated many of the stretching and training techniques I learned there into my martial arts classes.  To this day, new students will often ask my more senior students if they ever studied dance.  I tease my students, especially the men, by telling them, “Do you know you’re learning dance techniques without having to take dance lessons!  You don’t have to do a pirouette in front of twenty women.  I did it for you!” 

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

Martial Arts American Style – Part two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

Continued from “: Martial Arts American Style – Part one: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”

I had earned the reputation of one of the best waiters at Victoria Station.  I was quick, courteous and efficient.  One night, I served a table of twenty-five and worked my tail off for them.  When they were finished, they got up from the table and went into the bar.  They left me a tip of $5.00.  I went into the bar and asked if they were not pleased with the service because they didn’t leave me the customary 15%.  They were so obnoxious and condescending that I lost it.  I grabbed the biggest guy by the hair, brought him to the ground and pressed his face into the carpet with my fist.  The police were called and immediately five cops were pulling me off of this guy.  Because I had become a fixture jogging through the streets at all hours of the day and night, the police were kind enough to convince the restaurant to return this parties money so that they would not press charges against me.

It was now time to get started on my original plan for coming to the United States. I wanted to become a well-rounded martial artist.  My first plan was to spend at least two years of hard work on my Goju Ryu forms, since this was the primary martial art I had devoted the first half of my life to.  I next planned to extract three to four concepts from a group of carefully selected disciplines-Wing Chun, Cheng Chuang Long Fist, Hapkido, American Boxing and dance.  I made it very clear to all my teachers that my main style was Okinawan Goju Ryu and while I had great respect for their style, I only wanted to learn some basics.

I heard that some of the best martial artists and boxers were in New York City.  I was curious to see how my skills would match up against boxers, so I trained at Gleason’ Gym for a while.  I also studied tai chi from a master who lived there.  As a sign of respect for this man, I paid him $4,000 to come to Connecticut to correct my form.  I also studied Cheng Chuang Long Fist and wanted to learn four forms very well.  My teacher however, didn’t understand.  He was interested in teaching me over ninety forms!!  This would take a lifetime and was not part of my plan.  While I respected his skill and what he taught me, we started having philosophical differences.  Another instructor would call me into his office every two weeks and badger me about my training.  I explained where I was coming from and that our deal was that I pay in exchange for lessons.  Once I achieved an advanced rank in his school, he started giving me problems.  He was under the impression that I wanted to teach his style, but this could not be further from the truth.  I wanted to learn some basics.  I had already envisioned how my system would look like and I didn’t want to be confined by one style.  I shook his hand, wished him well and haven’t seen him since.

I then went to study with Moyat, a Wing Chun master who also had a school in New York City.  Challengers would come to the school from time to time to fight Moyat’s students.  Many of his students, even those who had been with him for many years, were not allowed to use the wooden dummy.  The  wooden dummy is a martial arts training tool that is indispensable in learning how to fight.  I was not about to back down from a challenge.  I went on to fight some of these karate practitioners who wanted to challenge the Wing Chun system.  Wing Chun is a very practical martial art and a lot of these guys learned how effective it was when we took them on in the name of our school.  Moyat saw my skill and told me that I could be teaching Wing Chun within four months if I applied myself to intensive training.  I accepted his offer.

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

Be Well Rounded and Balanced By Learning Other Styles: By Calasanz

The United States has a great wealth of martial art talent.  There are many schools, both traditional and modern, that offer excellent instruction in arts that we couldn’t have even imagined 30 years ago.  If you have mastered the basics of one style, you may want to “round out” your martial arts training by learning a martial art that is totally different from your original style.  This keeps your martial arts training fresh and introduces you to new skills and philosophies.

Notice that I said “mastered.” The worst you can do is hop from style to style and never master any single one.  You may want to try out some classes in different styles until you find the right one for you, but once you do, give it a chance.  It is only when you have gotten a good grasp of the basics that I recommend looking into other styles. Mastery in the basics of one style will ensure that you’ll be able to integrate your new knowledge and avoid confusion.

My martial arts training began with the Okinawan style of Goju Ryu in the Dominican Republic.  The beauty of Goju Ryu was that it combined both hard and soft techniques and it was a wonderful way to be introduced to the martial arts.  One of my reasons for coming to the United States was to become a well-rounded martial artist.  I was excited to be in this country because it provided me with the opportunity to expand my martial arts training with styles that were not available to me in my native country.

I decided to balance my training by learning Wing Chun Kung Fu. I took the train into New York City to train with Moyat, who was a student of Grandmaster, Yip Man, who taught the late Bruce Lee. I was intrigued with Wing Chun because of its interesting history and it’s close combat philosophy. 

Wing Chun equalizes the height and weight advantage that men have over women because it brings combat in closer to the opponent’s body, where the length of arms and legs no longer determine advantage. It is also a martial art that can be learned within a fairly shorter length of time than more traditional forms of Kung Fu.

What would you like to do to bring balance to your martial arts training? If you’ve trained in a hard style karate like Shotokan, why not try a soft style like Tai Chi. If you’ve done many years of Tae Kwon Do, where the emphasis is on a lot of kicking, why not take up boxing so you can get really good at using your hands? If your current style lacks a lot of self-defense training, why not take up something like Krav Maga to create some new skills?  Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to expand your knowledge and bring yourself into balance. There’s much to learn!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness / 507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT / 1-800-414-9544 / www.calasanz.com / interdojo.com / www.the-perfecrfit.com

“I’d like to offer you the chance to transform your body and your life.” Part 2: The Making of a Legend

Calasanz grew up on a farm in the Dominican Republic.  From earliest childhood, his natural athletic gifts of power, endurance and alignment, startled neighbors and family.  At age 5, he began to develop his own brand of training for his physical skills, by working in the fields… by 10, he fought a grown man, a neighborhood bully, and won.

Recognizing his son’s uniqueness, Calasanz’s father sent him to the city to study.  There, he achieved multiple diplomas, always testing his own endurance by stretching the envelope in extraordinary ways.  He began to study Goju Ryu Karate with Tomajoshi Sakamoto, one of the most renowned Martial Artists in the world.  His grueling regimen of training, and his own natural gifts soon brought his skills to the attention of other Martial Arts Masters.  Calasanz studied Wing Chun Kung Fu under Moyat, another near- legendary master.  It became apparent that while he was still on the career fast-track at one of the largest banks in the Dominican Republic, his true path lay with Martial Arts.

Nana at Calasanz Pau Fa Yoga on Facebook.

After 30 years in the Martial Arts…Calasanz and his system still stand strong and so do his credentials.

Comment:

With all due respect Mr.Calasanz. I find your boasts of having to defend some random and esoteric “internal arts master’s school from trespassers looking to start trouble” and that “it was Calasanz that had to do the fighting. The internal artists retreated in the background.” a bit sensational and outlandish. Much like your biographical passage…

“One day on the farm, Calasanz was ordered to milk the nastiest cow. She did not want to be milked that day, so she kicked him in the stomach. Calasanz’s reflexes caused him to automatically kick her back and to his surprise, he knocked the cow out cold..”

Lets be honest here, your martial arts lineage is spotty at best yet you claim to have been learned by this and that master of this and that style yet you only mention “Tamajoshi” Sakamoto by name, and even THEN its mis-spelled, I’ve trained under two great masters, Tadashi Yamashita & Ma Jin Long for over 24 years! I would never mis-spell there names. Meanwhile these other so called “masters” you claim to have learned from/ defended are just mere mentions in some grand self righteous egocentric story about what an amazing martial artist you are.

In my professional opinion Mr.Calasanz, your ego overshadows your grip on reality. While you ARE physically fit, very flexible, and a great performance artist. You surely not a martial arts master of any kind.

Sincerely,

Sensei Tony Perez

Reponse:

We appreciate your comments but would like an opportunity to respond.  Regarding the scene in the internal martial arts school, Calasanz was there, you were not.  The account is true and is told for the purposes of illustrating to students the importance of balancing hard and soft approaches to martial arts training.

In 1987, Wing Chun instructor Phillip Holder came to Connecticut and began attacking Calasanz Wing Chun credentials much like you are right now. Calasanz brought his Wing Chun master, Moyat to his dojo, proved that he had been his private student and put this issue to rest. 

Now here we go again with challenges to Calasanz karate credentials.  As far as Calasanz “spotty” martial arts lineage, Master Tameyoshi Sakamoto visited Calasanz dojo in October of 2009 and awarded Calasanz his 5th degree black belt in Goju Ryu karate. (See http://blog.calasanz.com/2010/04/06/calasanz-master-thinks-hes-a-black-belt-why-not-you-tube/ )  What is so “spotty” about this?

Calasanz doesn’t need a “grip on reality” as you so put it.  He has real credentials, a real successful martial arts business, and real students who see the value in his training philosophy.  What he has done differently is to go outside of the traditional arts and incorporate innovative ideas that tend to ruffle the feathers of more conservative martial artists. His approach and those like him in the martial arts world always attract critics.

This is a man who has spent over 30 years in the martial arts, working night and day on his craft.  He may need to check his spelling once in a while; that we will admit. However, make no mistake about his credentials and commitment to his students and his community.  We are glad that you are proud of your spelling abilities and that you have never misspelled your teachers’ names.  We will take that criticism under advisement and admonish our editors to be more careful next time.  As far as your other comments are concerned, we have been dealing with naysayers for a long time and will long after you are out of the picture.  At the end of the day, Calasanz and his system still stand strong and so do his credentials.

Calasanz Martial Arts Images

Calasanz Studied Wooden Dummy with Moyat While You Were a Child!

Criticism from a young man, who says he studied with the Moyat family.

You Tuber:

stay vertical! hunching toward the target his chin is dangerously close to the wooden arms. there are many deviations from the old school form here. what is the raspy grunting about?

Response:

Thank you for your observations. Calasanz is well aware of the distance between his chin and the wooden dummy arms. Calasanz doesn’t play “patty cake” with the dummy but likes to get a good workout on it, which sometimes means that he may use unconventional movements. As for the “raspy grunting,” it is just a deep exhalation and this is his signature sound, which is nothing earth shattering in the martial arts. We will take your comments under advisement given the fact that while you may have studied with the Moyat Family, Calasanz trained with Moyat in Chinatown back when you were just a child.

My Training, My Teachers

When I started Martial Arts all I wanted was to be a good fighter.

My plan was not to learn one style of martial arts and stick with it for the rest of my life. I also had no aspirations of creating my own system or even having my own school. What I wanted to do is make myself a well-rounded martial artist. All I wanted to be was a good fighter, nothing more, nothing less. Today I teach the CALASANZ SYSTEM, an eclectic style I created and a reflection of my personal path as a martial artist.

My informal training to the fighting arts began on the farms and streets of Dominican Republic where disputes between men were often settled with fists. My first exposure to formal martial arts training however was in Goju Karate and where I initially earned my black belt credentials.

My instructor was Master Tameyoshi Sakamoto, who introduced Goju Ryu to the Dominican Republic in 1958. What was interesting about Tameyoshi Sakamoto was that he was trained in Judo and introduced his students to the concept of combining ground fighting along with karate. It was there where I met two exceptional martial artists and friends, Rafael Martinez and Lizardo Diaz.

While I had great respect for Goju Ryu, its history and my instructors, I quickly noticed the limitations of the style in terms of practical street fighting and self-defense. I also watched my classmates take punishing blows to the body and thought to myself, there had to be a better way.

The practicality of what we today call “mixed martial arts” training was so clear to me that I decided to learn one style very well and then pursue others to at least a brown belt level to round out my martial arts training.

When I arrived at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut in 1980, I met a young Japanese man who was a fourth degree black belt in Judo. Because we were both students, money was scarce so we decided to trade. I taught him Karate and he taught me Judo, enhancing the basic Judo training I had started back in the Dominican Republic .

Once I completed my brown belt training in Judo, it was now time to focus my attention on learning more about pressure points and joint manipulation, so I took up Hapkido. I was fortunate to have found Yong-Man Lee, an eighth degree black belt in Darien, Connecticut. Grandmaster Lee is an outstanding instructor and I learned much from him. But I kept my promise to myself and moved on after brown belt.

My next step was to learn how to use my hands effectively. Realizing that traditional “hard” style martial arts rely way too much on kicking, I wanted to learn how to punch from the very best, so what better way than to study some Western boxing at Gleason’s Gym? So I did and as a martial artist, it was one of best decisions I made. Mastering a few boxing principles taught me how to use my hands as weapons and not just to distract an opponent while I prepare to throw a few kicks.

Once I was satisfied with the boxing, I felt it was time to pursue some of the “softer” and more Kung fu based martial arts. I chose Wing Chun because of its close quarter fighting, centerline, and economy of motion philosophy. To do this, I took a train into New York City to study with one of the best teachers in the area, Moyat. I also spent a considerable amount of time and effort learning Chang Chuan kung fu and Wu style Tai chi. Kung fu and Tai chi balanced my “hard style” training and taught me how to approach fighting from a new perspective.

From the time I arrived in the United States, I worked as a waiter to support my martial arts education and myself. I taught a few guys how to fight and it wasn’t until one of them convinced me to open a school that the thought even entered my mind.

In closing, my system is what it is, a reflection of my martial arts path. It has gotten people into shape, taught them how to defend themselves and get a grip on life. It has prepared people for tournaments, trained police officers, soldiers and security personnel and even given some peace of mind. And all I wanted was to be a good fighter.