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

Calasanz and the Movie “Crossing the Line”: The Real Story (part 1)

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

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography:The Early Years – Part Three

Continued from “A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography:The Early Years – Part Two”

I was fortunate at the beginning of my martial arts training to meet and train with some exceptional teachers.  I trained with Pacheco, Rafael Martinez, Victor Loraine, Lizardo and my teacher Tamajoshi Sakamoto. I put most of my earnings into my training in hopes that my investment would pay off one day.  A lot of my training was private, but I would often join classes for the purpose of working on my sparring skills.  Sparring in a traditional martial arts school was not like it is now.  We had no protective gear, no mouthpieces, no one to stop the fight, and a room full of guys who wanted to beat the daylights out of you.  If you try to do this in this in the United States, you immediately expose yourself to lawsuits and your students will drop out in droves.  

I remember one day when I was in class and Rafael called me to spar with him.  I had not been in class for about two months.  I think he may have been under the impression that I wasn’t training and that he was going to make an example out of me.  He was shocked when we started fighting.  I held my own during that match and gained even more respect from my fellow students. Rafael was a formidable opponent.  He weighed 190lbs, held a black belt in Goju Ryu and was a professional boxer.  That night, he came to my house and found me training.  He watched me work out until 2:00AM.  He could not believe the amount of effort and dedication I had. 

Victor Liriano is another man who was one of my greatest Goju Ryu mentors.  He was one of the first teachers I had that put a lot of emphasis on developing good counterattacking skills.  I told him about the experience I had with the cow and how I reacted immediately.  We both agreed that reaction without hesitation is essential when fighting. 

Lizardo, the star of the group, decided he wanted to spar with me.  During the match, he was very careful to keep his distance.  I was so conscious about conditioning and developing power that some people were afraid of my power.  One day when Lizardo and I were sparring, he asked me if I would take it easy on him.  Lizardo became one of my teachers and also a good friend.  From that point on, I couldn’t fight with him any more.  It’s always been hard for me to spar with someone I liked and respected. 

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 Master Thinks He’s a Black Belt, Why Not You Tube?

Calasanz with Tameyoshi Sakamoto

You Tuber:

Truth be known, Calasanz/Shadowind quit the practice of goju at a green belt level, when he figured he didn’t need to learn any more. He still falsely claims to have a black belt in goju. Too bad his ego exceeds his learning capacity. This is not goju, it is calasanz bullshitziu.

Response:

Let’s get a few things straight before we go on any further.  When you speak to “Shadowind,” you are speaking to a variety of staff members who work for Calasanz.  He is too busy teaching and running a successful school. As far as your assessment of his credentials, you are extremely incorrect regarding his rank.  If he were such a “bullshitziu” practitioner as you so disrespectfully call him, his teacher, Tameyoshi Sakamoto, father of Goju Ryu in the Dominican Republic, would have turned his back on him a long time ago.

Note: In a seminar in October 2009 at the Calasanz Dojo in Norwalk, CT, Tameyoshi Sakamoto awarded Calasanz a 5th degree in Goju Ryu Karate.

Goju Ryu Karate

What’s Style is Calasanz Goju Ryu Karate?

You Tuber:

hey, which goju ryu style is this? i take yosei goju ryu style here in florida, but it’s sort of like the nisei goju ryu style, there’s not that much diffrentation. and i’ve seen this kata before. it was a while back, but when you put it with some speed and emotion, it looks good

Response:

Thanks for your positive feedback. Calasanz teaches his own style known as the Calasanz System, so what you’re seeing is a hybrid. It contains influences from Goju Ryu, Wing Chun, Chinese and American Boxing and physical conditioning techniques. Calasanz studied Goju Ryu under Tameyoshi Sakamoto, father of Goju Ryu in the Dominican Republic, back in the 70’s, so the katas are based on the principles that he learned from his teacher as well as his own interpretations.

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.