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 Martial Arts and Fitness: Basic Philosophies – by Calasanz

WHAT YOU NEED TO FIGHT

You can have all the technique in the world but that doesn’t necessarily make you a good competitive fighter. Good technique is important, but more importantly, do you have the heart of a fighter?  If you get hit, do you lose your concentration?  Can you shake it off and remain composed? If you answered “yes,” then you have the fighting spirit.  Competitive fighting is different from street fighting. On the streets, you fight to ward off a non-deadly attack and to kill when confronted with a deadly attack. In the dojo or ring it’s different.  I don’t let students fight in the school unless they have control and can compose themselves after being hit.  The person who lacks composure is out of control and gets himself hurt.

THE GROUND

If you enjoy fighting and rolling on the ground go for it! But there are ways of avoiding most ground fights by training under the Calasanz Karate, Kung Fu, Kickboxing, boxing and physical arts. Ground fighting or not, under the Calasanz system you’ll still become a better fighter faster. Calasanz says, “I have said all along under this system that you can be a decent fighter without sparring or fighting but if you choose it then you can get the training that is necessary, including heavy drills. If you want to fight under in the MMA system you should go for some ground-training no matter what.”

BRUTALITY

Many student who are serious about the Martial Arts, would never understand that there is a way of becoming a decent fighter without brutality, but immediately you discover that you really want to be more than a decent fighter, meaning being a competitor then things all change, since the early 80s Calasanz has proved demonstrated that logic over and over, he trained some students that went beyond of being decent fighter when they stepped on the ring with some well trained competitor and they have won, this concept was proved over and over. We did that since the early 80s. Be brutal in your training, but still follow a basic discipline at the beginning of your workout. Those who want to feel and believe that they would like to learn how to fight but they do not like to spar then you could contact us.

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.norwalkboxinggyms.com

Being a Well Balanced Martial Artist for Self Defense

My main job is to teach students to understand their bodies and themselves. When people come to our martial arts and fitness center, they will take something home with them, knowledge. But above all, it is important to teach students how to do martial arts and exercise without causing them injury. That is my primary focus in my studio.

Since day one, I have met fighters who think they can fight with anyone. When you are a well balanced martial artist, you meet students who are good fighters, but are very tight, meaning their body is not relaxed. It is not just how tight they are but it is their belief of how great a fighter they think they are. Another common problem is that people forget to breathe when fighting. You can be a tough guy when you study at a traditional school, but they will not teach you what is necessary when you actually go up against a real fighter, that in itself is completely different. You cannot trade punches with a boxer who is relaxed when you are not even breathing. You can get away with this when fighting people on the street or at your school, but to step on the ring with a competitor is a different story. Here my school we can help you with relaxation and breathing when you fight.

I had one student that studied martial arts for about six years and nobody taught him how to correctly position and relax his shoulders. It was very difficult but it took me just two hours in a private session to correct this person that was carrying this problem for nearly six years. Do you have any idea how badly you can get hurt when your shoulder rises up and gets tight immediately? Many people, especially women, have the tendency to tense up which lots of times comes from being abused or scared. This is just an example of just one thing we here at Calasanz can help you with among many others.

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

MMA: A Balanced Approach – by Calasanz

Martial Arts originated out of necessity.  People had to defend themselves against humans and animals and the only weapons they had were their hands and feet. The battles fought by these individuals were for sheer survival, not belts or plastic tournament trophies.  When confronting life and death struggles, the ancient warrior had to condition his body to take the brutal physical punishment his opponents dished out.  He also had to skillfully maneuver in battle to minimize the physical damage to himself. 

Martial Arts eventually came to the West and were taught by instructors trained under the “old school” system-toughen the body by exposing it to a brutal training which included lots of beatings during sparring.  I personally witnessed this at the age of 14 when I took my first Karate class in the Dominican Republic.  Students, regardless of rank, were pummeled mercilessly with no training on how to block or simply get out of the way of a ferocious attack.  Don’t get me wrong, these fighters were tough and could take a blow but at what cost?

There is brutality in many sports, especially combat sports.  We’ve seen injuries, deaths, and the long-term effects of abuse on the body in Football, Boxing, Hockey, and Karate.  And while at the professional levels in any sport, the competition is so good that it is impossible to avoid brutality, I must say I am very impressed with many of the fighters in the UFC! 

The physical training they put themselves through allows them to take strikes that would kill an average man.  As impressed as I am with the physical, mental, and spiritual preparation it takes to step into the Octagon, I am astounded at their skills in avoiding brutality.  How is it that in over 18 years of MMA that none of these fighters have gotten seriously hurt or killed?  It is because these fighters can move, avoid, slip, and escape; they have tremendous timing and blocking abilities. 

The MMA fighters have brought Martial Arts training into balance. They are not only strong and conditioned athletes, but also admirable technicians skilled in the fighting arts. This is the essence of martial arts.  This is what separates a martial artist from a street brawler.

So if you wish to be a fighter, build your body to the maximum, because it is inevitable that you will get hit and you need to be able to take it.  But don’t rely on your body (or face) to absorb all the abuse.  Avoid kicks and punches to the head at all costs; block, move, slip, evade, fight intelligently!  This will keep you in the sport longer, and you won’t end up like Muhammad Ali when you retire!

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

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

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

In the 1990’s, we moved our school to 507 Westport Avenue.  I purposely wanted a school with a high ceiling so that we could have boxing and kickboxing competitions.  We started promoting our Fight Nights on a regular basis.  One day, an instructor from New York City sent two of his students to my school to take private lessons from me because they were scheduled to fight some of my people at Fight Night.  I was more than happy to have them as customers, but the problem was that they were not interested in learning anything. Their teacher had sent them to me to learn something about my system, instead all they could say was that they could knock anyone out.  On the day of the fight, they ran into some trouble.  One of them got knocked out 8 times and kept getting up.  I gave him a lot of credit.  The other guy left here on a stretcher to Norwalk Hospital and was in a coma for 4 hours.  He was so arrogant during the fight that he purposely took off his headgear and that cost him an injury that he is still paying for to this day.  The most embarrassing part of this story is that he was 34 years old and my student was only 16!

Another incident took place just before our first event.  A friend and fellow marital artist came to my school one day with a group of his best students and his challenge was that any of his students could beat mine.  I was surprised at his behavior because he and I were good friends and I even helped him organize his martial arts school when he went into business.  I had one of his guys fight a student of mine who only had one arm.  During the first fight, my student almost killed his opponent.  I personally trained this young man in the art of counterattack.  He trained hard and absorbed what I taught him.  His opponent had been training in karate for 10 years.

In another fight, a couple of my guys were matched up with competitors who participated in knockdown tournaments on a weekly basis.  My students were not competing regularly.  They were teaching classes and doing some light physical workouts to stay in shape.  Both of my students were defeated in this tournament.  People started criticizing my school and gloating about this defeat.  My goal now was to put an end to their celebration.  I challenged them to a rematch and told them to give me three weeks to get these guys in fighting shape.  Three weeks later, my students sent one opponent after the other to the hospital.  Some even retired three well known fighters and instructors.  My mission with these fights was to prove that I could use my skills to correct the mistake of letting students fight who were not personally trained by me.

One match that stayed with me was the case of a young Japanese man who was being trained by one of my students who claimed to be an authentic Thai boxer.  I let him take control of the situation and assume responsibility for this young man’s training.  On the day of the fight, this young man was beat up because of the poor training he received.  After the fight, I went into the office with the other instructors and asked for 3 weeks to train this man myself.  This would cost me over $4,000, but I didn’t care; my name was at stake here.  Three weeks later, he was able to defeat his opponent in a rematch.

I had to do this again against a group of Kung-fu stylists.  I had mismatched my students with this group, partly because their instructor used to train with me and is even in one of my commercials.  I let my personal relationship with this guy get in the way of good judgment.  My guys lost, which made their opponents very happy.  I went through the same challenge.  Over the next 2 events, I retrained my students and they were able to retire the Kung-fu instructor and his students.  In another fight, I trained a 14 year old student to go up against a guy who had been training for 8 years with 2 excellent boxers.  I trained this kid privately for one month and he was able to defeat this guy with 8 years of experience. 

To be continued…

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

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

 

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

I have prepared many students for competition, who could survive a real fight with a street fighter.  Not all students however, are able to do this.  This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t train in martial arts.  By training, they increase there chances for survival in a self-defense situation.  They can also enjoy the martial arts as physical fitness, mind development and as the study of an ancient art. When  I mentioned point fighters earlier in this piece, I indicated that real fighting and point fighting are really two separate issues and that successful point fighters shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that they are reality fighters.  This does not mean however that point fighters and other competitors are not true martial artists.  It takes a lot of discipline and self-denial to train for competition. Tournament training also takes facing your fears and becoming your own personal best.  These people have a place in the martial arts. 

I had a few students who came to me with the intention of becoming tournament point fighters.  Their names were Mark, Dave and Matt.  Because of the reputation I had built with my street fighter competitors, these guys were immediately matched up with opponents who were instructors!  I made a deal with one of their mothers and promised her that if she agreed to drive her son to the competitions, I would make him #1 in New England in his division within a year an a half.  It happened.  Within that period of time, he was #1 in New Englandand 4th in the nation in sparring and in kata.

As I mentioned earlier, I earned my reputation by training street fighters.  They fought not only in the streets, but I also sent them to tournaments so that I could prove myself in the martial arts community.  Many of them became popular competitors.  When they first started, they would get disqualified because they were accustomed to street fighting.  I decided that if we were going to continue going to tournaments, we would have to learn to play by the rules.  So I taught them how to play the game.  I trained them to score at least 12 points before their opponent scored 3.  Eventually, many of them started winning.  They did as best as they could, considering opponents went to tournaments every week and they were just competing on a part-time basis. 

It was a common practice to match my students with some of the toughest competitors.  Sometimes it was even hard for them to register in advance because they would purposely try to stack the deck against us.  I had tried point fighting myself and gave up on it because it was more of a game to me than a fighting art.  If you learned the little tricks of playing the game, you could win.  What I feared about engaging in point fighting, was that my fighting ability would suffer because I would develop bad habits.  Point fighting rules that require you to pull punches and make no contact with your opponent are directly opposed to the skills you need to learn to survive on the streets.  One guy who trained with me for point fighting tournaments earned the nickname “Flash” because his moves were so fast and fancy.  While he was one of the best point fighters, he had a problem when he tried to engage in hard fighting because of the habits he had developed.

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

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

 

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

Many of our messages have been directed at students who are very good fighters.  One of the messages I have to give over and over is that you don’t have to brutalize yourself in order to become a good fighter.  I don’t believe in this type of training.  I think that an effective fighter has to train “smarter.”  Sending a message or teaching a lesson to a student does not require that you physically injure them.  I’ve never had to physically injure a student in order to get my point across.  Why?  You train in the martial arts to be able to defend yourself.  Survival is not dependant on knowing thousands of techniques, but rather on your balance, grounding, power and most of all, heart.  Courage and intelligence will go farther in self-defense.  This is the key to surviving a life-threatening situation.  This is the philosophy behind many of my messages to my students.

I have taught many high rank students from other system, some of them have been very talented martial artists.  I enjoy teaching students from other systems because they bring their own special talents.  The one thing that does frustrate me sometimes is getting them to make the transition from their style to the Calasanz System.  I have designed this system to be practical.  With that in mind, I have done away with the tradition of teaching hundreds of techniques and forms.  Unfortunately, many students are more interested in quantity, not quality.  They haven’t even practiced a front kick to the point they can deliver effectively and they are asking, “What am I going to learn next?”  My philosophy is learning a few things, learn them well and make them as automatic as possible.  When you are confronted with a life-threatening situation, I promise that a lot of those fancy techniques will go right out the window.  In addition, an attacker on the streets is not going to engage in polite cooperation.  He’s not going to let you take your time while you respond to a wrist grab.

I have created a course called Street Survivor that teaches simple defensive techniques.  I can teach you some effective fighting skills within a relatively short period of time.  I once had a man training with me who was hired as a bodyguard for a well-known politician.  He was required to train as part of his job, so he was sent to me.  While he didn’t understand the difference between the different styles of martial arts, he understood the basic techniques I taught him, especially, heavy leg training and kicking.  I programmed him to counter attack with great ferocity.  One day, I put him to spar with a Thai boxer from Cambodia.  Regardless of the attack this Thai boxer delivered, this man was able to counter attack and hold his own.  I finally had to stop the fight because the Thai boxer had taken a couple of heavy kicks to the leg and I was afraid that any more kicks could lead to an injury.  The Thai boxer was humiliated and couldn’t eat for two days.  This sent a clear message to him.  He came to my school with the attitude that he knew it all and that he wasn’t going to learn anything from anyone.  I told him after this fight that he really needed to stop being so arrogant and try to learn something so that he could be as effective as the bodyguard.  I purposely gave two messages that day; one to the bodyguard and the other to the Thai boxer.  A message is more effective than giving a lecture to a student.

I sent a similar message to two other students who had come from another system.  They had a lot of techniques, so I decided to put them to spar with a student of mine who at first glance looked heavy and out of shape.  They were both hurt by this guy.  They couldn’t believe it!  This was done with training simple techniques and making counter attacks automatic.  This is what we create at Calasanz.

 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

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

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

My training in different schools, both here and in the Dominican Republic, has taught me that a martial artist with true skill doesn’t have to fight.  He can win respect by his skill and confidence.  If you have skill and confidence, you don’t have to lift a finger.  Let your training speak for itself.  I had another experience in that same Darien school.  I had another classmate who I sincerely believe could have beat me if we fought prior to my intensive kicking training.  I was able to take on anyone in the class in a full contact challenge now that my legs were super strong and fast.  I have to admit however that I would probably lose at point or Olympic fighting, which is a very common form of sparring in most martial arts schools.  I was used to full contact fighting, so fighting for points made no sense to me.  While I have great respect for those who train hard to engage in point fighting only because I admire their dedication to training, I sometimes think that they are lulled into a false sense that they can really fight full contact. 

An aikido practitioner came to class and challenged me to a fight because he heard that I was very strong.  He was much bigger than I was, but that didn’t bother me.  I grabbed him and he wasn’t able to move my hands.  I executing a takedown and sent him crashing to the floor.  I had him pinned to the ground and he called the head master of the school, a very talented martial artist.  The teacher told him how to get out of it by going with my power instead of going against it.  I was very impressed with his answer, but I was angry at this guy for calling the teacher over in the first place. 

When I worked as a bartender there was a tall, strong customer who was curious to see how strong I really was.  I politely turned him down, but everyone kept encouraging me to do something.  One day, the bar was full.  He started challenging me again, so I gave in.  He grabbed me and I have to admit, he was pretty strong.  I could barely move my wrist.  I took a deep breath and was able to twist his wrist so hard that everyone in the room heard a “crack.”  I ended up breaking his thumb and he had to spend four weeks in a cast.  I felt really bad about it, but he just wouldn’t let up.

I eventually got very tired of working in a restaurant.  There were a lot of rude, nasty customers to deal with.  I remember this one guy who was treating me like dirt while I was waiting on him.  He left me a tip that was so paltry it was insulting.  I was so insulted I followed him into the parking lot and stuck his tip into his mouth.  This was a nightmare for my employer, since this guy was a big shot who later complained to the headquarters.  Surprisingly enough, I was not fired from my job.  My general manager told the headquarters that he didn’t want to fire me because I was too profitable to the restaurant.  In retrospect, I know that I over reacted.  I just got so frustrated.  It was also a message to me that maybe it was time to move on.  I had been getting increasingly frustrated with the customers.  I knew that it was time for a change.  One of my friends encouraged me to open my own 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