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

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

The Eyes Have It!! Eye Contact and the Martial Artist: by Calasanz



In The Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi admonishes Daniel-san for not looking him in the eyes.  In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee points to the moon and tells his student not to concentrate on the finger or he will lose all the heavenly glory.  Some martial artists, however, spend a lot of time working on their basics, polishing their forms, but little or no time developing proper eye contact and focus.  Why are the eyes important in martial arts training? 

The eyes are a declaration of your fighting spirit.  What kind of self-confidence do you exude if you can’t look your attacker in the eye?  Is your sparring opponent going to take you seriously? Are you looking away? Are you looking down?  Look him right in the eye at the start.  This type of body language says you mean business! This is particularly important in self-defense situations on the street.  The eyes can be weak or hold the intimidation factor you will need to defend yourself.   

The eyes show respect and gratitude.  When bowing to our opponents, we maintain eye contact as a courtesy.  When we shake hands before and after sparring or working on self-defense, we thank our partners for their participation in our growth as martial artists.  That technique you had to use on the street was honed in a school with the help of a partner willing to practice with you.  Look him or her in the eye and thank them for being there. There are no second chances or “do over’s” with that attacker on the street. 

The eyes tell you where the attack is coming from.  The boxer has to worry about two hands.  Martial artists are concerned with four limbs and a variety of attacks.  It is important to maintain your eyes on the centerline, drawing your focus on the upper chest or collarbone.  This will give you a good scan of the entire body. Developing good peripheral vision is also important.  Practice looking out of the “corner of your eye.” This may help you avoid that roundhouse kick headed for your skull!

The eyes can “telegraph” your next move.  Don’t look at the target or you might as well tell your opponent where you’re going to hit him so he’s good and ready for you!

The eyes can trick your opponent by looking in one direction and striking at another.  “Fake” a glance at his thigh and strike at the head instead.  Bruce Lee, for example, deceived his opponent by looking him straight in the eye and dropping him to the ground with his famous foot sweep.  They never saw it coming!  

So remember, next time you’re in class working on sparring or practicing with a classmates, don’t neglect the eyes.  Applying these principles will add a new dimension to your training.

What kind of background must you have to benefit?

It doesn’t matter what you background is, Calasanz has worked and continues to work with people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and experiences.  From beginners at the dawn of their athletic experience, to professional athletes, seasoned martial artists from any and all disciplines, the physically challenged, athletes of all sports transitioning to (or supplementing their training with) the martial arts, Calasanz can help everyone!

If you study Karate (soft or hard style), Kung Fu (Northern or Southern style), Tae Kwon Do, Ninjitsu, Calasanz can help you improve.  If you are into competitive contact martial arts; Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Boxing, MMA, Brazilian Jujitsu, point fighters, Calasanz can help both strikers and submission specialists sharpen their fighting skills.  If you’re a performance martial artist (wushu, kata or breaking competitor), dancer, gymnast, or acrobat, Calasanz can help make your form and style more beautiful.  If you are in law enforcement, the armed services, fire fighter, body guard, bouncer, or are just looking to defend yourself in the street, Calasanz will improve your self defense skills.  If your looking to get in great shape or you’re an athlete (basketball, football, baseball, hockey, tennis, soccer, golf, lacrosse, or body building) looking for superior conditioning, Calasanz has the formula to increase your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, speed, body awareness, and athletic prowess.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness / 800-414-9455 / 507 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT / www.calasanz.com / www.interdojo.com / www.the-perfectfit.com

 

Soft and Hard Techniques in the Martial Arts: by Calasanz

I chose to master the style of Goju Ryu, mostly because of its’ beautiful techniques and ancient while modern at the same time application of distinguished, overlaying soft and hard techniques. For both combat and health, Goju Ryu requires the body to achieve a state of physical and mental balance based on the distinction between hard and soft, fast and slow, heavy and light, erect and angled – in short, Yin and Yang, a subtle yet strong distinction between these extremes is what creates enormous power.

The mind learns a logical use of self-consciousness and feelings for your inner self. It creates a real understanding inside and outside your own physical body with the universe.

The science behind this power is quite simply – the ability to produce flexible, fluid, constant power by way of training the body to issue a sureness of movement in a variety of cadences, angles, and speeds. And it is through practicing forms that are difficult to master, but highly practical, that eventually high skill is achieved.

Mastering forms on daily basis develops the explosive power of flexible strength. It is best revealed when the body achieves a relaxed, controlled, and natural ability to move efficiently between the forces of soft and hard – Yin and Yang.

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

Calasanz Martial Arts / wing chun demonstration

Developing eclectic styles of martial arts from the traditional: by Calasanz

My first martial arts school was a traditional karate club.  There I studied an art called Goju Ryu karate that originated in Okinawa.  When you study a traditional martial art, you study one style where the techniques are taught in their original form. 

A traditional martial art has geographic origins. For example, Aikido originated in Japan, Tae Kwon Do, Korea, Wing Chun, China, and Goju Ryu, Okinawa. Traditional arts also espouse a code of ethics and philosophy of training.  When you sparred in class or tournaments, there were strict rules that had to be observed.  In my Goju Ryu club, we wore a traditional uniform which consisted of a white pajama-like outfit with a colored belt around our waste to indicate our rank in the system.

While my first school was located in the Dominican Republic where the language spoken is Spanish, we held on to the traditions of our art by conducting the class in Okinawan.  If you wanted to study a martial art in the 70’s you picked a style of karate or kung-fu and stayed with it.  It was considered a big insult to your instructor to even think of training in another dojo or introducing a technique that did not belong in your style’s curriculum. Bottom line is that you studied the art and preserved its traditions.

Over the years, many martial artists, like me, decided to venture out and explore other styles. My reason was that I wanted to be well-rounded martial artist.  Others believed that the traditional arts were impractical and unrealistic for the challenges of the modern day. 

Many traditionalists like myself, developed their own eclectic styles by combining several traditional martial arts, along with body conditioning and even some military combat techniques.  One of the goals of an eclectic martial art is develop practical street self-defense skills.

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

Calasanz Archive images of Martial Arts Training

INTERDOJO: Edited by Stephen Melillo

Goju Ryu Karate Kata Form Videos and Instruction Sets on InterDojo.com. The martial arts multimedia website InterDojo.com features all 12 empty-handed Goju Ryu Karate katas via the Formula Video Series.  Each kata has its own video to allow easy selection and study. 

“The kata videos currently on the site are designed for students to absorb the sequence of movements and techniques.  These particular katas were not performed at 100% in the bunkai spirit.  In other words they do not represent how students should perform the kata in advanced ranks or in competition. Rather, these are relaxed videos so newer students can learn the sequence.”  Says Calasanz Martinez.  “Future videos will be designed for advanced ranks.  They will be performance based and will feature more bunkai or the analyses and applications of each movement or technique.  They can be applied in many different ways, including the seasoned excellence of a hard performance.”

InterDojo.com also features weapons forms including the bo (long staff), jo (short staff), nunchucku, sai, and wanto.  Additional weapons and advanced forms are now slated for filming.  InterDojo.com is also planning on putting together sequenced pictures for each movement in both the empty-handed and weapon katas.

InterDojo.com also features unique exercises designed to enhance the karate practitioner. InterDojo.com plans to eventually have the entire Goju Ryu system on video as well as many unique educational materials.

For a free week of full access: interdojo.com

Erin and Calasanz Video and Pictures

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

Kata under the Calasanz System of training.

Under the Calasanz Karate, Kung Fu, Kickboxing, Boxing & Physical Arts system, this Kata that is being performed in the video above by Renee Fortin is called Ginsei San, or is also called coordination #3.

We are just performing pieces of it. For a long time all the Calasanz students have won many Kata competitions with this form. It was a great feeling the first time Calasanz sent Becka Slade a dancer to compete with this Kata in one of the toughest competitions in the world…the Kyokushin Kai tournament. Many martial artists around the world are well aware of this tournament. Any person even remotely involved in the martial arts can associate with the late Masutatsu Oyama, who accomplished what not too many Karate instructors around the world have done currently or in the past.

As a result, Becka Slade won first place! Our Kata is unique, strong. Its stances are well defined, balanced and grounded which can be seen and noticed at all times. This is one of several reasons why Calasanz is considered one of the best, well rounded, and recognized instructors in the world. 

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave. Norwalk CT / 1.800.414.9544 / www.calasanz.com

Check out this Calasanz article and training video!

CALASANZ: THE POWER OF CHI PART 2

Chi is an inner gift that we all possess, that we must cultivate in order to reap its many rewards. The development of one’s chi takes patience, persistence, discipline and the repetition of techniques designed to stimulate this power. To develop his chi, a martial arts student must first understand the concept of “go” (meaning hard ), and “Ju” (meaning soft ), and its application in the execution of martial art techniques. Bruce Lee was a master of chi and because of this, he was able to deliver powerful blows with his hands, his feet and his entire energy system.

A student who is too hard or too soft in his practice is out of balance. The right combination of go and ju is necessary to help facilitate the chi and deliver its power. This is why Calasanz emphasizes proper technique, when training students. If a technique is sloppy, the chi can not be effectively directed toward its target. If the technique exerts too much energy, the chi is wasted, and the student will lack endurance. Styles such as Kyoku Shinkai Karate, for example, are very “hard” or “Go” in their execution of techniques. While this style is a brutal system of Karate, It lacks balance. Too much Go, not enough Ju. Proper balance of Go and Ju is what makes the Calasanz system of Karate & Kung-Fu effective and popular among its students.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT

1800-414-9544 / 1-203-847-6528 / www.calasanz.com

CALASANZ: THE POWER OF CHI PART 1

True Martial Arts mastery is in the spirit… in the mind… in the heart. The true Master teacher- the sensei, the sifu – analyzes each individual’s potential and brings out the best he or she can be.

Simply stated, Chi is the energy that powers life –all life, human, plant, animal, everything in our universe that lives. In Asia, Chi has been recognized and understood for millennia. It’s the basis for both Martial Arts and traditional Chinese medicine. It’s the force that Luke Skywalker accessed in Star Wars, the universal energy field that taps the electromagnetic fields of our earth and our universe. Like radio waves or microwaves, it can’t be seen, but must be judged by the results it produces.

In this segment of the program, Calasanz will demonstrate the Explosive power of chi and how this power can be utilized in breaking, kata, and fighting. For many years, Calasanz has trained like a modern day shaolin monk, developing his chi and his martial arts skill through daily eighteen hour workouts in his dojo. It is Calasanz’s goal to help his students develop this awesome power, without having to engage in the grueling workouts he himself has endured throughout his years of training. To achieve this goal, he has refered his training system to help students access their Chi as quickly and as powerful as possible.

Calasanz – Karate, Kung-Fu, Kickboxing and Physical Arts

507 Westport Ave, Norwalk, CT

1-800-414-9544 / 203-847-6528 / www.calasanz.com

The Real Birth of a System

Calasanz Karate and kung Fu – where body, mind and spirit learn balance, courage, health and harmony.

Martial Arts…the name alone conjure legends. Karate and Kung Fu…Ninjas and White Cranes….Wing Chun and Goju Ryu…age old systems for honing body, mind and spirit into such brilliant harmony that superhuman feats become commonplace. Bruce Lee conquers the dragon… Chuck Norris keeps an entire town in line… Steven Seagal thwarts armies of terrorists… Mr. Myagi teaches the Karate Kid not merely to know how to overcome an opponent, but how to know oneself.

Where does the truth lie amidst these fabulous legends?  And does that truth have something to offer your life? Calasanz, renowned Master of The Calasanz Karate, Kung Fu, Kickboxing, Boxing and physical Arts system in Norwalk, Connecticut, believes it can change your life…..

Calasanz Says: “I believe Martial Arts offers something important to everyone on the planet- the chance to be the very best you can be. No matter what age you are…no matter what physical shape you are in… Martial Arts can transform your life.”

Calasanz Karate and Kung Fu Dojo in Norwalk is a revelation. With its high rafters, punching bags, wrestling and MMA mats and regulation size boxing ring, it looks like a place where machismo is the only order of business. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The grunts, slaps and kiais –those powerful sounds Martial Artists use to boost the power of their chi– can be heard coming from a surprising variety of students. Male and female, young and old, and every possible variation in between.

Calasanz Martial Arts & Fitness 1-800-414-9544