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