Why Should You Avoid “Style Hopping”: by Calasanz

A prospective student came to the door, interested in martial arts training. When I asked him if he had any previous experience, he replied “yes, I’ve studied for about two years.” His training history consisted of 3 months in aikido, 2 months of karate, 4 months of kung-fu, 3 weeks of tai chi, etc., etc.. This is what we call “style hopping”…going from one style to another.

“What’s wrong with going from style to style?” some students say. Even Bruce Lee didn’t believe in styles. He believed that styles limited one’s true potential. As far as styles are concerned, Bruce Lee advised us to “absorb what is useful” and to discard the rest. Why can’t we be like Bruce Lee and just learn what we want and move on?

Bruce Lee’s advice is good for someone who already has a good foundation. Before experimenting with other styles, Bruce Lee studied the art of Wing Chun with Yip Man for approximately 5 years. He had an excellent foundation before he ventured into other areas.

All traditional martial arts were developed after many, many years of experimentation and dedicated study. Most traditional martial arts when studied with sincerity and regularity, will prepare you for expanding into other systems. Committing yourself to any one of these is the first step.

Focusing on one style at the beginning of your training will prevent confusion. At this level, you don’t have the sophistication to separate or integrate the different techniques and philosophies. But you start by developing strength, endurance and flexibility. You can learn how to stand, kick, punch and block. You can learn footwork and forms. You can learn how to react by sparring and working with a training partner. You can challenge your body and mind by progressing through your style’s curriculum. You can learn the principles of your art and the foundations of its origins.

 Let’s face it. If you commit yourself to one style and study it faithfully until you have at the very least achieved black belt or black sash level, you will have developed a good foundation. In reality, earning your black belt means that you mastered the basics of that system. It is the beginning of your martial arts journey. Once you’ve reached this level, then you can explore other styles.

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.westportpersonaltrainers.com

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness Presents – Executive Black Belt Intensive Training: by Calasanz

Ask yourself these questions: Is stress consuming you? Do you feel as though you are sleep walking through life? When was the last time you did something for YOURSELF!

People in Fairfield County are considered to be some of the most successful and hardest working in the country. With this success however, comes a lot of sacrifice. I’ve had busy professionals walk into my school feeling as though they were in a downward spiral and too exhausted to crawl out. Interestingly enough, after several months of training I saw a dramatic change.

Do you want a change? I have taken over 30 years of experience in martial arts training and created a program that will help you re-focus and re-energize…Calasanz Executive Black Belt Intensive. The first step is re-focusing. You and I will set a goal. Do you want to earn your black belt, lose weight, and get stronger? You tell me what you want to accomplish. I will create the program to get you there.

Next we revitalize. You and I will put your program in motion. Please understand that this is not your average workout. This is an intensive program and it requires a great commitment on your part of at least 2 hours per week. I know it can be hard at first, especially if you’ve done little or no physical training in a long time. That’s why I’ll work with you to slowly build up your strength and stamina.

The program contains a variety of disciplines to suit your personal preference. If you want to take out your frustrations on a punching bag, I can develop a boxing program for you. For the ladies, if you want to lose weight and look good in a bathing suit, I recommend Aerobic Isolation™.  If you’ve always been curious about Chinese Kung Fu, I can introduce you to the world of Wing Chun, the martial art practiced by Bruce Lee. If hardcore martial art training is what you’re looking for, the Calasanz Executive Black Belt Intensive program includes physical conditioning, martial arts training and one-on-one sparring. I have trained people in programs ranging from 3, 6, 9 or 12 months so we can develop a plan that works for you.

Bottom line is that this program works! It’ll work for you like it’s worked for so many who have walked through my doors. Whether you’re a new student or current student looking for a new challenge, let’s start today.

Get Ready! -Calasanz

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.westportpersonaltrainers.com

The First System to Implement ‘Items’

For so many years I wanted to have a system that could be so simple that students would not have problems challenging themselves at anytime, especially if they did not maintain a previous active lifestyle. I maintained students for years and showed them different styles of martial arts on top of what they were here studying, this way, after they earned their black belt; they already had the knowledge to build on those skills. I was not interested in belt rank, and I wanted to keep students involved at all times, but when they took a break and got out of shape, they lost most of their technique. Instead of being able to pick up an additional certification on top of their black belt, it would take many lessons since they stopped training. Had they continued their regimen, it may have only taken two lessons.

For example, one student said, “Calasanz, I have not been there and I want to take two weeks to get back in shape.” Since this student already had a black belt, I wanted to get specific with his training and get him some certifications on top of his black belt, which we call “Items” under the Calasanz System. My suggestion for his training was two weeks of mixed martial arts, certification in either American or recreational boxing, and part one of a Kata, which is great for getting in shape. I would have loved for him  to take part one in Wing Chun but it is too slow and takes longer to get in shape unless you take part one of Chinese boxing.  I told him to let me know what he prefers since there are around 700 hundred basic items, with sub-items exceeding 4000.

Before I give you another example, I have to mention Kyle. He is eight years old and is very happy to be a black belt. Once in a while, Jeff or I will ask him, “What about the next certification?” He just says, “Of course, my parents and I are all for it.” Kyle has the legs chi sau certification, and he just got the first part of Wing Chun certification. Being so young, it is exciting for him, but also it is cute to see how happy he is and how effective this program is.

Another student is a U.S. Marine named Erik, who was the first student to get 17 certifications along with his black belt. During the course for over two years, he has become one of the best qualified instructors from my school and he is getting ready to open a school in Florida which will be based on private one-on-one personal training.  He is also qualified to speak and demonstrate in a martial arts seminar.

An important item we offer is boxing, both traditional American boxing and recreational boxing. Traditional American boxing is what you are accustomed to seeing on television but recreational boxing is something you would take up without having to become a competitor. Recreational boxing will make you faster, stronger, and more flexible, grounded, balanced, to get in better physical condition, and will give you the best self defense. It only takes Calasanz a half hour to give you enough self defense, to enable you in becoming capable of surviving on the street against any opponent. You could experience a thug throwing punches at you and by closing the gap, you will not get hit and you can counter at any time. The reason why is simple: the guy on the street is not a boxer and if he was a boxer, he may not have attacked you in the first place. Recreational boxing makes it easier for you to take care of yourself without getting hit and makes it easier to hurt the attacker.

Make sure you understand that if you take a half hour of boxing to learn how to defend yourself, if there is no power in your arsenal, you have not gotten the point of the exercises and that is why we also give  you the responsibility to learn these exercises so you can practice them at home. Real defense means you are empowered to take care of yourself, your grounding, and your balance. These are the main tools you need in order to be successful on the street.

In boxing, there are a few techniques but it can take you many years to master them. It is similar to Wing Chun, there are few blocks, a few kicks and punches, but it requires talent, intelligence and a lot of work in order to be able to master that art.

Since I went to my first karate school, I already understood this and I did not believe in rank. I remember seeing all these ranks on a black belt, but I also remember going to one class and not coming back for about three months, and being able to develop on my own during that time. Still, I was not completely sure where I was in the martial arts. All I knew was that I understood something that they did not. During that first class, all I witnessed and experienced was brutality and I knew “martial arts” was much more than that!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,NorwalkCT06851

1.800.414.9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

PHYSICAL ARTS – AN EVOLUTION OF MARTIAL ARTS (Part 1): by CALASANZ

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

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

 

Calasanz and One-on-One Personal Training: by Calasanz

Over the last four years, I briefly departed from solely teaching on a one-on-one basis and ventured into small group classes. I began teaching martial arts in the early 80’s and built my reputation by training students one-on-one. I am pleased to say that I have decided to go back to my roots and concentrate on One-on-One Personal Training.

For 25 years, I’ve privately trained Wall Street executives, CEOs from major corporations, professional athletes like the Hartford Whalers ice hockey team, tennis star Ivan Lendl, best-selling authors Cathy Cash Spellman and Patty Davis Reagan, as well as Henry Kissinger’s personal bodyguard, and members of the military and law enforcement services.

I have decided to make this change because this is what I enjoy most and it is where I see the most progress with my students. Understanding that private martial arts training can be a costly, I have offered packages over the last 20 years packages for one, two, three, and even four years at a considerable savings for a long term commitment. A package avoids the high cost of private lessons, which can individually run from $95 to $380 per hour.

Many of you have been comfortable purchasing long term packages not only for the savings, but with the knowledge that I have been in business for over 30 years and am not some “fly by night” operation that is going to close its doors and leave you flat. 

I am currently offering long-term packages at great prices for those of you interested in embracing the martial arts as a hobby or as something special that you just do for yourself.

If you are interested in working toward the goal of earning your black belt for instance, you can commit to one year with a savings of more than half of what it would cost you in a month-to-month program. If you have already committed to a 3, 6, 9 month or one year program and would like to enroll long-term, you can still take advantage of the discounted program. Just see me and we can easily make an adjustment to your program.

For those of you who decide to take advantage of a package, I’d like to sit down with you and determine your ultimate goal. Would you like to:

Become proficient in Wing Chun?

Train like a fighter? 

Box? Spar? Point fight? Kickbox

Lose Weight? Get fit? Try our Physical Arts program?

Many of you want to learn self-defense and how to be more self-confident. This is and has been our specialty for over 30 years. I not only focus on the physical aspect of learning street defense, but also how not to “lose it” in a confrontation. Remember that Ted Bundy killed over 100 young women and was stopped by the one who fought back and got away! It was her description of this monster that finally put him behind bars. Bundy didn’t expect her to fight back…but she did and stunned him with the element of surprise.

My system is designed for the real world, for real people. It is practical enough to teach you the skills you need without brutal training regimes that serve you no purpose. For whatever your goals, I can work out a long-term package for you that will motivate you and save you money at the same time. Just make an appointment with me and we can work out the details. A good example to be aware of If you sign for a package to finish it on 6 months, if you decided to finish on 4 years still you don’t have to pay extra while you have lessons left, which is why a package is designed to be paid in advance, that is the purpose of the commitment and that is why you are saving more than half of the cost.

The Perfect Fit In Home Personal Training

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

Training Street Fighters: By Calasanz

When I opened my first martial arts school, a lot of barroom brawlers and street fighters came through my door. Some grew up in environments where they had to fight to survive while others just liked looking for trouble.

I wasn’t necessarily targeting them in my “marketing” plan.  Most of them were there to challenge me or one of my students to a fight. I earned their respect with my martial art skill which was gained partly through traditional training and partly through my own experiences with street fighters in the Dominican Republic. 

Many of them stayed on as students. As an instructor, I had to integrate these natural fighters into a class with the average martial art student who just wanted to exercise and learn a little self-defense. 

I had a few challenges dealing with street fighters in the dojo.  Some are there to prove a point and you have to worry about them causing a lot of trouble, both physically and legally. So I recommend strict supervision on the part of the instructor.

In addition, fighting outside of the dojo or tournament setting lacks rules and regulations.  Basically, anything goes for these guys, so the first lesson for the martial arts instructor to convey is the ethics of training in the dojo.  Every martial art style has some form of ethical code and it’s the instructor’s job to make sure everyone in the dojo adheres to it or they’re out! 

There are a lot of positive aspects about training street fighters. They show up with something that you can’t teach…guts! Just because someone has a black belt doesn’t mean they could fight.  There are a lot of black belts out there who would be demolished in a street fight or a real self-defense situation.  They may have a lot of technical skill, but no toughness to carry it out. 

Street fighters have a fighting spirit and that enthusiasm can often encourage and inspire classmates who lack that quality.  I have seen many of them push their more timid classmates to come out of their “shells.” 

Street fighters make good full contact fighters because they have the raw talent needed to get into the ring. The instructor’s job is to polish the skills they had when they walked in the door, introduce them to new ones and channel that talent and raw aggression into the ring. 

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

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

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

Training Students from other Systems Part Two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

Continued from: “Training Students from other Systems Part One: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”

In another case, a guy who was a third degree black belt visited me and enrolled in one of our Street Survivor classes.  I paired him up with a 16 year old who had been training with us for only one month.  I had them do some practical drills and the 16 year old got the best of him.  He kicked him in the shin and dropped him to the ground.  He got up from the floor and started crying when I told him that the kid who just knocked him down had only been training for one month!

Another problem with training students from other systems is that some lack the basics.  There are many good martial art schools out there.  The way I can tell if someone has had a good teacher is to look at their basics.  Do they have a strong foundation?  Can they throw a punch?  Can they throw a kick without losing their balance?  Are their stances strong and grounded?  Some students from other systems know a lot of techniques, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they know their basics.  It is just a house built on a very shaky foundation.  I had one woman come to my school who failed to mention that she had a black belt from another school.  She told another one of my students of her rank, who later told me.  I thought training her would be easy.  Wrong.  I gave her three techniques and asked her to put them into a sequence.  Start in a front stance, switch to a horse stance and then switch back into a front stance.  It took me 10 minutes to get her to do this right.  It should have taken a well-trained black belt 3 seconds to do this properly.

Some experienced students started training in a style that was not particularly suited for them.  For example, I have had some students over 40 who started training in a style that emphasized a lot of high kicking and jumping.  Other styles demand low stances or too much snapping when kicking.   It is no wonder that they come to me frustrated and feeling that maybe martial arts is not for them, even though they really enjoyed it.  Any style can be practiced by anyone.  It is up to the instructor to tailor the system to fit the student.  Unfortunately, many schools have a “one size fits all” approach.  This means that you have to keep up with the class with little or no special attention.  I like to tailor the techniques to the particular student.

One woman enrolled in my school after 10 years of training in another system.  She lacked confidence, could not fight and wasn’t very street smart.  I personally trained her for 3 months and saw her confidence and skills improve dramatically.  After the 3-month period, she decided to take the group class.  I paired her up with another woman who was fairly new and had not had any martial arts training.  This bothered her.  I was hoping that by putting her with someone new, it would remind her how far she had come in her training.  When she first started, she could not block a shin kick without experiencing pain in her leg.  I told her that this would soon change and it did.  Experienced martial artists who come to train with me are very often asked to assist with lower ranked students once we have taught them the basics of the system.  Because there are students with different ranks, everyone learns from someone else.  I also expected someone who had trained in martial arts for over 10 years to understand the importance of learning how to teach and assisting lower ranks.  She could not see this.  All she saw was that we put her to train with someone who was not as good as she was and this upset her.  She had a lot to offer and the higher ranks had much to offer her.  This is one of the ways we help students improve their skills.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t understand it not matter how much we explained it.

This brings me to the case of a student who came to me after he had been hired by the sheriff’s department.  He was having a problem dealing at job in controlling the people he was either arresting or transporting.  He had taken martial arts classes for a long time and even though he was a good kicker, he had no concept of the streets.  He asked his instructor for help and his response was “you’re smart enough to put it together.”  So he came to me.  I worked with him for 2 weeks.  He had a lot to offer, he just needed someone to help him translate it into something practical.  His teacher was not willing, but I was.  After the 2 weeks, he never had a problem again.  This man went on to become a police officer and trains with us to this day and has referred countless numbers of law enforcement officers to this school.

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

Teaching the Calasanz System – Part Two: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography

Continued from: “Teaching the Calasanz System – Part one: A Lifetime of Lessons – Calasanz Extended Biography”

Regardless of my students’ goals, I always like to give them some techniques they could use on the streets.  My private training in Wing Chun was the reason why I have incorporated this philosophy into my system.  I was not happy with the fact that some of my classmates had spent close to ten years training and had no street survival skills.  Many Wing Chun students spent all this time throwing punches without a purpose or sense of how they would use it in real life.  For instance, our Wing Chun classes emphasize bringing your elbow to the center, which helps your punch get very hard and learning how to get grounded.  I was fortunate enough when I began my Goju Ryu training that my teachers promoted self-defense skills and I have passed these skills down to my students.

Schools that promote black belts too quickly or don’t teach self-defense often trouble me. What troubles me more is the aerobic kickboxing craze.  Unfortunately, they give people a false sense of security in believing they’ll be able to defend themselves with a dance routine.  Understand that organizations that certify personal trainers often offer short-term courses or clinics that will teach you how to teach kickboxing.  This is an insult to all of us who have spent many years training in the martial arts and a scam on the public.  In some cases, students who have taken the aerobic kickboxing classes have been injured because of inadequate teacher supervision. While I train students who only want to learn kickboxing for recreation, I always incorporate some realistic movements so they can walk away with something useful.  No one leaves my school without at least some basic knowledge of street survival.

The Calasanz System is very simple.  Simplicity combined with skill allows us to take the best a student has to offer and improve on it.  An example is training women.  Because my style of fighting was always unsuited for tournaments, I found that I had to send “messages” of my skill to those who challenged me because I was not a competitor.  My favorite type of message was asking a female student to do kicking drills with an obnoxious male!  While women’s upper body strength cannot compare to that of a man, women do have naturally strong legs.  I take that ability in women and teach them how to capitalize on it.  Some of the best messages given here at the school were by women who embarrassed arrogant men!

Teaching a diverse population requires a lot of patience and natural skill.  You can train someone to be a teacher all you want.  If they don’t have it inside of them, they will never be effective.  In this business, you have to help not only the talented and coordinated, but also the uncoordinated, the slow learner and the student with a variety of challenges.  It is also a challenge to teach those who are very intelligent.  I had this one student who was very smart and had spent twelve years training in a well known martial arts school.  I was training him in kickboxing and trying to teach him how to protect his head when fighting at close range.  He told me “Calasanz, all I have to do is pick up my hands.  This would cause his opponent to look up, and then I could kick him.”  This guy with twelve years of experience just demonstrated the skill of a white belt.  I recognized was why his instructor had a hard time with him.  This guy thought he knew it all and didn’t need help or correction from anyone.

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

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

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

Santiago is a tough city.  When I first arrived, I had to quickly become accustomed to surviving in an urban environment.  There are two stories that stick in my mind to this day that involved two local tough guys.  One was named Calier, the other, Dario.  Calier was so bad that the police didn’t even want to deal with him.  I remember he tried to fight me one day.  I hit him with a right and he went flying over the hood of a car.  I was surprised because I barely put a lot of power into the punch.  This altercation turned into a nightmare.  I was concerned about his bad reputation.  Fortunately, things cooled down after a while.  The other guy, Dario, thought he was above the law and demanded respect from everyone. Dario was one of the most accomplished mechanics in the Dominican Republic.  He worked on racing cars and was the manager of one of the biggest body shop in town.  I had gotten a part-time job with him in order to make some extra money.  Dario was determined to pick a fight with me.  One day he got his wish.  Unfortunately for him, he found himself on the ground with two broken teeth.  The next day, over 25 neighborhood kids, including two of Dario’s brothers, came to see me and start taking classes with me. 

Two months after I started my martial arts training, I was asked by some friends to come to a town called San Jose de Las Matas to perform for them and their girlfriends.  I was just a white belt at the time and all I focused on was martial arts, work and school.  I put on a comedic martial arts demonstration and even had some black belts come and watch.  My performance was very aggressive and funny, and no one even bothered challenging me. I would go on to do many demonstrations in the Dominican Republic and in the United States, including my Super Breaks.  

One of my closest friends, Felo, had come with me to the first karate demonstration.  He started training in karate on the same day I started.  He couldn’t continue his studies, so I became his teacher.  Four months later, Felo was fighting black belts. There was a local martial arts club that needed a teacher.  Now Felo was in competition with me and wanted this job badly.  Felo challenged me to a fight to take place at the martial arts club.  Felo was much bigger than me. We started by teaching a formal class.  We then had a sparring session were the students fought each other as well as with us. Finally, Felo and I were left standing.  He came after me as if he wanted to kill.  I threw one of my favorite kicks.  I threw an extremely hard kick that landed on his head.  His mouth, ears, and eyes started to bleed.  Felo retired from martial arts after the match.  I had used this kick on an earlier challenger who came after me with the same vengeance as Felo.  He was smart enough to quit after he saw me throw the same kick.  

As a martial artist, I had no desire to compete in tournaments.  There were plenty of opportunities in the Dominican Republic, but I wasn’t interested.  I wanted to become a real fighter.  This meant fighting without pads, rules or referees. I upset my teacher once when I refused to enter a karate tournament he was sponsoring.  I took it upon myself to find out who won the point-fighting category.  I was determined to prove a point.  I didn’t believe in using gloves.  I found the winner, challenged him to a match and beat him.

 To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com