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

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

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

I had earned the reputation of one of the best waiters at Victoria Station.  I was quick, courteous and efficient.  One night, I served a table of twenty-five and worked my tail off for them.  When they were finished, they got up from the table and went into the bar.  They left me a tip of $5.00.  I went into the bar and asked if they were not pleased with the service because they didn’t leave me the customary 15%.  They were so obnoxious and condescending that I lost it.  I grabbed the biggest guy by the hair, brought him to the ground and pressed his face into the carpet with my fist.  The police were called and immediately five cops were pulling me off of this guy.  Because I had become a fixture jogging through the streets at all hours of the day and night, the police were kind enough to convince the restaurant to return this parties money so that they would not press charges against me.

It was now time to get started on my original plan for coming to the United States. I wanted to become a well-rounded martial artist.  My first plan was to spend at least two years of hard work on my Goju Ryu forms, since this was the primary martial art I had devoted the first half of my life to.  I next planned to extract three to four concepts from a group of carefully selected disciplines-Wing Chun, Cheng Chuang Long Fist, Hapkido, American Boxing and dance.  I made it very clear to all my teachers that my main style was Okinawan Goju Ryu and while I had great respect for their style, I only wanted to learn some basics.

I heard that some of the best martial artists and boxers were in New York City.  I was curious to see how my skills would match up against boxers, so I trained at Gleason’ Gym for a while.  I also studied tai chi from a master who lived there.  As a sign of respect for this man, I paid him $4,000 to come to Connecticut to correct my form.  I also studied Cheng Chuang Long Fist and wanted to learn four forms very well.  My teacher however, didn’t understand.  He was interested in teaching me over ninety forms!!  This would take a lifetime and was not part of my plan.  While I respected his skill and what he taught me, we started having philosophical differences.  Another instructor would call me into his office every two weeks and badger me about my training.  I explained where I was coming from and that our deal was that I pay in exchange for lessons.  Once I achieved an advanced rank in his school, he started giving me problems.  He was under the impression that I wanted to teach his style, but this could not be further from the truth.  I wanted to learn some basics.  I had already envisioned how my system would look like and I didn’t want to be confined by one style.  I shook his hand, wished him well and haven’t seen him since.

I then went to study with Moyat, a Wing Chun master who also had a school in New York City.  Challengers would come to the school from time to time to fight Moyat’s students.  Many of his students, even those who had been with him for many years, were not allowed to use the wooden dummy.  The  wooden dummy is a martial arts training tool that is indispensable in learning how to fight.  I was not about to back down from a challenge.  I went on to fight some of these karate practitioners who wanted to challenge the Wing Chun system.  Wing Chun is a very practical martial art and a lot of these guys learned how effective it was when we took them on in the name of our school.  Moyat saw my skill and told me that I could be teaching Wing Chun within four months if I applied myself to intensive training.  I accepted his offer.

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

 

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

Why I Created “The Calasanz System”: By Calasanz

I have been in the martial arts business for over thirty years.  My school and student membership has grown every year since I started teaching.  I have survived good and bad economic times and have watched my critics open and close their door front dojos.  My school would have closed a long time ago if I didn’t offer valuable services to my students. 

The secret to my success is The Calasanz System™.

I was originally trained in traditional martial arts, but at some point decided that I wanted to be well-rounded athlete.  This was back in the 1970’s when straying away from your traditional style was frowned upon.  Back then, there was no such thing as “eclectic” martial art styles.  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.

I decided however to venture out and defy tradition.  The Calasanz System™ was created during my martial arts journey. I found the traditional hard style karate I studied in the Dominican Republic was too limiting. I studied Wing Chun Kung Fu to balance it out.  I liked its softness and economy of motion.  All too often, karate practitioners rely way too much on their feet, so I went to Gleason’s Gym to learn how to use my hands.  I studied Cheng Chuan Kung Fu and Wu Style Kung Fu for its artistry and philosophy. The combination of styles improved my overall skill, so I integrated all of their best elements into my training.

I also developed an appreciation for physical training.  I incorporated the use of weights and stretching exercises into my martial arts classes, as well as my own workouts.  I trained men, women and children and had to create workouts and classes that catered to their needs.  I trained boxers, streetfighters and corporate executives.  Each of my students has taught me something about how the human body works and responds to training.

Thirty years later, I took all my knowledge and pulled it together into one system.  The result was a martial arts training system that produces results.  The Calasanz System™ teaches you how to defend yourself. Its physical arts component helps you create a strong, flexible and healthy body. Unlike so many martial arts schools, I am still in business.  The reason is that the system works.

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

Jeff Prescott at Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness on Facebook

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

Overall Description of the Calasanz System

The Calasanz System, a martial arts and fitness style, is a blend of karate, kung fu, wing chun, boxing, kickboxing, MMA, ground fighting, and self-defense. The system appeals to men, women, and children of all ages because it is grounded in beauty and practicality, as you can see from the videos that have been posted. Calasanz, the creator of the system that bears his name, believes that effective martial artists must not only know technique, but also be physically fit.  To help his students achieve this goal, he created Calasanz Physical Arts. Calasanz Physical Arts consists of holistic and functional exercises that are meant to increase strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, coordination, speed, agility, and body unity. These exercises can be used by all levels of athletes in all sports looking to enhance their athletic prowess and can also be used by anyone, any size, shape, age, or ability to increase mobility, health, and well being. The Calasanz System attributes its success to its simplicity; simple enough for beginners and unique and effective enough for professional martial artists.  The Calasanz System has been in existence for over 30 years and continues to draw new students every year based on the goodwill it has generated.  Simply stated, the system works.

Calasanz adult & youth fitness

Calasanz DVDs

The ancient, Eastern method of teaching the martial arts required the student to watch the instructor and then mimic his movements without one word being exchanged.  Western students demand a lot more explanation and often ask too many questions.  This leads to over-analyzing on the student’s part, making the learning process much more stressful than it really needs to be.  Perfection of the movements in the Eastern sense comes with time as the student matures. Sometimes, it’s best to just watch, see the bigger picture, and then start practicing.  

In keeping with this ancient tradition, Calasanz has created a series of instructional DVDs designed to help you grasp the “bigger picture.” Watching the DVDs at home or here at the dojo before class lets you know what to expect and helps you relax the mind as you visualize yourself doing the movements. The result is that if you do your “homework,” your time in class will be more productive.  The reason being for watching the DVDs at the Center is to keep you from making excuses if you bring them home, most of the time it makes impossible for you to spend 10 minutes them before going to the School. 

Calasanz offers over 700 videos covering topics such as basics, forms, self-defense, weaponry, kickboxing, Regular Boxing  Recreational Boxing, Wing Chun, Goju Ryu, traditional and 20 Arm Wooden Dummy, Chinese Boxing and physical conditioning through Calasanz Physical Arts. Special DVDs are also available to help you improve your athletic performance in non-martial art related sports like golf, tennis, soccer, baseball, football, and ice hockey.  The DVDs are easy to understand and are a great instructional tool for students at any level of training.  

Modern technology now makes it possible for you to have a private session with Calasanz for the mere cost of a DVD. Special rates are available for members of the Okugi, Rinkiohen and Young Athletes program.  

Make an appointment with Calasanz today to choose the right DVD to help enhance your martial arts training! Young Athletes will be watching the DVDs upstairs, they will spend 10 minutes either before their session of during their session. Many of the Young Athletes who train privately upstairs with Calasanz, they don’t have to worry, Calasanz already knows what DVDs best for them.

Young Athletes-Enhanced Athletic Performance through Martial Art Training

For over 20 years, Calasanz has helped young people improve their athletic performance in youth hockey, football, soccer, tennis, little league baseball and competitive martial arts. Calasanz Young Athletes program, is a consolidation of the best movements of karate, kung fu, boxing, kickboxing and Chinese boxing into an exciting program designed to enhance your child’s performance in his or her sport. 

Participants begin by learning the basics.  Strength training and stretching exercises are emphasized to develop muscular endurance and increase flexibility. Balancing and plyometric exercises are incorporated to maximize control over the body while in motion.  Breathing techniques traditionally practiced in the martial arts are also taught for the purpose of bringing a fresh supply of oxygen to the body and helping the athlete remain calm under pressure.  The program also offers other benefits such as developing concentration, stamina and hand-eye coordination.  

After the basics, it’s on to the martial art portion of the program. The kicks, punches, blocks, strikes, stances and footwork unique to each discipline are what make Young Athletes an effective athletic training program. The techniques of Calasanz Kickboxing and Goju Ryu Karate yield explosive leg power along with shoulder and forearm strength.  Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu and American Boxing techniques help develop powerful hip movements and increased hand speed, while Chinese Boxing enhances grounding and balancing skills.  

Young Athletes is designed to complement your child’s athletic performance and teach him or her how to train safely and intelligently.  Participants who put the time and effort into this program will enjoy the results. It’s also a fun and exciting cross-training alternative.

A Warning to Consumers of Martial Art Services