Calasanz – Showing what is inside the Martial Arts – Part 2: by Calasanz

(Continued from part 1) Being sent to the city to study and immediately taking this journey of wanting to be the most educated person with just one purpose: to get a good job at a good company. Already having received the news from one of the best accountants in the Dominican Republic, Filiberto Rodriguez, and at this point was teaching all sorts of clerical business on his School (Academia “Las Mercedes”), Calasanz finished high school and was sent to Popular Bank one of the biggest banks in operation.

Jennifer And Calasanz

Calasanz soon felt uncomfortable because he knew that there was something better waiting for him, and did not waste time. Because of achieving so many diplomas, the bank would let me go to study and specialize in English as a second language in order to get much higher position, and this was very early in his career. All in Calasanz mind was going to America and making a movie with this he believed he would be just like Bruce Lee, but soon he realized after coming to the US, that was much more than just being like Bruce Lee.

In the beginning he even yelled and made sounds like Bruce Lee, and then he said to himself; “wait a minute I can be myself and I don’t need any to use from anybody else because of the ability I was born with”.

Cal dominican

When he got to Bridgeport University in Connecticut he was the talk of the town. In less than one week he was know all over Bridgeport, and this was all based on his training methods but specifically because of his immense athletic ability which was seen in his jumping kicks and that nobody else could come close to imitate.

One month later he called the bank, I just told Mr Simon Castro who was the Vice-President of the bank, “I am staying in America, the dream is too beyond to let it go, I am making a movie and I will be Bruce Lee or as famous as Bruce Lee”.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

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507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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Calasanz – Showing what is inside the Martial Arts – Part 1: by Calasanz

Calasanz Life in the martial arts has been completely about showing what is inside the Art of Martial arts. He feels that even still after Bruce Lee brought to the screen a sense of emotion, expression, style, beauty of the martial arts and introduced it to the world before anybody else, today many still can not grasp the concept of this.

Calasanz considers himself as being born with this gift to understand that there is much more to the martial arts. It is not just kicking, punching, going to the ground, shooting, striking somebody with a weapon, etc, but rather, there is reality, beauty, style, balance, grounding, flexibility, endurance, conditioning, posture, stance, reflect, pride, character, success, intelligence, etc. and all of this is part of Kung Fu and the martial arts. Kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, Mauy Thai boxing, American and Recreational boxing, this is was Calasanz believes and the understanding of the art of martial arts which indeed can be real, but it can be beautiful and stylistic at the same time.

Calasanz

A Calasanz’s Quotation, “Since I was a baby, a kid and a teenager, there was something that was beyond me, because of the age I could not understand, later on I could understand what was inside me”.

What brought the realization to Calasanz that something was beyond him? Calasanz going to the movies with his father and seeing Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”. It opened a new career direction and a clear idea of who Calasanz was, could and wanted to be. (To be continued!)

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 Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

 1-203-847-6528

507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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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

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Simply stated…Chi is the energy that powers life!

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 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.

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 referred his training system to help students access their Chi as quickly and as powerful as possible.

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” (which means hard ), and “Ju” (which means 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 certain styles of Karate, for example, are very “hard” or “Go” in their execution of techniques. While these styles are a brutal in their system of Karate, they also lack 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.

We 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 Martial Arts and Fitness

1-203-847-6528

507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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When An Instructor Corrects You…Be Happy! by Calasanz

It is the obligation of a martial arts instructor to correct his students’ technique and attitude. Some students are grateful that their instructor cares enough about their training to say something. Others find this offensive, and may even put the instructor in the same category as an “an employee.”

I was trained by “old school” instructors who wouldn’t hesitate to humiliate and embarrass you. I’ve learned over the years that getting angry or overwhelming students gets me no where. I had to learn to adjust and be more flexible in my approach when making corrections. This doesn’t mean that I stopped…just adjusted.

For example, if I’m telling you to make sure you pull your non-striking hand into chamber when executing a traditional karate punch. Let’s say I’ve had to correct you three times and you still didn’t listen. Then asking you to drop down and do 10 push-ups would be a reasonable request! This correction is very direct and to the point.

Other forms of correction are subtle and indirect. Sometimes it’s important to take into account the student’s personality. What works with one person, does not work with another. A teenager I was training was terribly uncoordinated. I used every ounce of skill I had to get him to improve, but nothing worked. My choice was to either throw up my hands and send him home or wait until he matured. The most promising thing about this student was his attitude and willingness to calmly work through the corrections I made. Eventually, he started coming around.

Another example was one of my best students, who trained with me for 8 years. He reached a point in his training where he was burned out and arrogant. He wouldn’t accept corrections from anyone and had a horrible attitude. The last time we saw him, he was gently corrected for performing a sit-up improperly. Instead of going head to head with him, we left him alone and he left the school. A while later, I received a 4 page letter from him, thanking me for the lesson we taught him, just by letting him spin in his own anger. He later saw for himself what he was doing wrong and how his attitude got in his way.

Whether it’s a direct or indirect correction of attitude or technique, it is the only way to progress as a martial art student. Accept what the teacher has to offer and be grateful for the attention. All it means is that your instructor wants you to progress physically and mentally. Anything less and you would be wasting your money.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

1-203-847-6528

507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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Well Balanced: Based on Strong Stance.

Here at Calasanz Physical Arts we end up seeing and teaching a lot of students from other martial arts schools. The first thing I look for when evaluating them is a strong stance. Some have excellent stances while others are weak and wobbly. When it comes to stances it is easy to see what is effective and what is weak instantly. You can think of a stance as the architectural arrangement of your own body. In architecture, if the blueprint is good you will have a strong building that will be capable of managing gravity and will successfully maintain its structure when confronting forces from all angles. If the blueprint is poor the building will be incapable and will fail when encountering outside forces. When it comes to the structure of your body this is no different. A good stance is your foundation. It is where every motion spawns from. Without a strong foundational structure any thing growing from it, like a punch or kick, will be comparatively weak to the same punch or kick coming from a structure that is fundamentally sound. Without a good stance, all the fancy moves in the world are nothing but superfluous.

“Being grounded” means you’re connected to the earth. In martial arts, grounding is your ability to grip the floor or the ground beneath you in a good, solid stance. If you are well grounded, it’s harder for your opponent to throw you down or knock you off balance.

I recall an incident many years ago in my Wing Chun class in Chinatown, NY. A karate practitioner came into our school looking for a challenge. Be aware that this is not the type of thing that only happens in the movies, as I’ve experienced a lot of this juvenile behavior over the years from plenty of guys who felt they had something to prove. This guy kept trying to sweep me off my feet and try as he might he just couldn’t. Every time he came after my leg to sweep it, I dropped into a strong, grounded horse stance. My connection with the floor was so strong, even the full force of his sweep was unable to successfully accomplish the goal.

So, How do you develop good grounding? First of all, do a lot of stance work, it is simple, if you want a good stance you must practice it as with anything else. The biggest mistake a lot of new martial artists make is to quickly learn their basic stances and then never pay attention to them. Practicing stances, both stationary and moving (forwards and backwards) should be done routinely.

The benefits that come from the simple act of holding a strong stance are often overlooked and really there is no better way to develop good grounding. The old-timers used to love to see how long they could hold a horse stance and this is really a good practice. Get into a good horse stance, do not move your feet and watch the clock. See how long you can hold it until your legs literally start to shake and you feel like you just can’t take it anymore. Log your time and work on increasing your time. You will see how strong your legs get and how powerful your stance becomes. Remember, martial artists who practice grounding exercises don’t need to do squats, leg curls or leg extensions in a gym, their grounding practice develops their legs properly and naturally without the risk of serious injury.

You can also practice your stance work with a partner. Get into a stance and have your partner try to get you off balance. This will test the strength of your stance. Another exercise I like to do at my school is to have one partner push their opponent, while he or she drops into a strong stance. This gets you accustomed to grounding while in motion. You can practice this with any basic stance within your style.

Next, pay close attention to your stances while practicing katas. Be aware of your foundational structure and make sure that with each transition, your stances are strong and grounded. Putting some effort behind your stances not only improves your katas, but you’ll notice that you have more control over your legwork when fighting. You will grip the ground better when necessary and your supporting leg will be rooted enough so you can deliver strong kicks with precision and balance. In the end a strong stance is the best place for any martial artists to start!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

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507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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Traditional Training – Not for Mainstream America: by Calasanz

I had the chance to relax and watch one of those great Chinese martial art movies.  You know the ones with the subtitles and great sound effects.  The film caught my interest because it was about Wing Chun, my absolute favorite martial art.  The actors displayed some of the most beautiful techniques I have seen that rivaled those of the late Bruce Lee

In one scene, the master is working with a student who apparently is one of his favorites.  The master however doesn’t coddle him and make life easy.  Instead, he demands perfection.  He yells at the student for his mistakes and tells him he is the dumbest and the most fool of any student he has ever taught.  If you have ever seen any of these movies, you will notice that the masters are extremely demanding and verbally abusive.

The film illustrates the reality of traditional martial arts instruction. I was trained this way and so were my instructors.  This was also the way my father raised me.   Today we call it “tough love.” 

I learned over the years that this method of teaching doesn’t work in this country.  American students who have had no exposure to traditional teaching methods often feel insulted when a teacher admonishes them, when in fact the truth is that he wants them to shine.  Also, many students look at their relationship with their martial arts instructor as that of a consumer and a service provider.  This is contrary to the tradition of respecting the master regardless of what he dishes out.

This doesn’t mean that I throw out useless and insincere compliments just to make students feel good.  Students who come from other systems sometimes tell me that they were complimented so much by their instructors even when they knew themselves that they weren’t performing correctly.  This I refuse to do.  We still have an obligation to teach and teach well. 

Too much coddling is counterproductive and creates an illusion in the mind of the student.  So while I’ve changed my ways for mainstream America, I haven’t stopped demanding that they give it all they got.  I’ve just changed my approach.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

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507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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Norwalk Boxing – Connecticut #1 Boxing Gym!!!

Norwalk Boxing……is a place where anyone can be a boxer. Here we recognize that everybody has the ability to think like a competitor even if they never plan to compete.

Norwalk Boxing teaches anyone that if a situation is ever getting out of control how to throw themsleves in as the role of a peace maker, instead of throwing punches, while still remaining confident in the fact that they will be able to defend themselves from a violent outbreak. Again, the percentage of those who train to compete in a fighting sport is much smaller than the percentage of those who want to be prepared for an emergency situation and to be sure that they will be the one to come out on top.

Norwalk Boxing is unique in that we train people for both. It is pure boxing for those who want to learn to throw a devastating and proper punch, and it is traditional for those dedicated individuals willing to take the time to learn the minutia of the art and become truly superb, but above all Norwalk Boxing is unique.

What makes us truly unique is that we train in both realms. We train the body to be prepared for physical confrontations that might arise and we also train the mind to be prepared so that a confrontation won’t have need to come to a physical head. And that even if a fight should occur that both body and mind are in phase with one another to react perfectly in synch and without discordance.

Our training is based upon simplicity. Our system is easy to learn if self defense is your main concern as the principle philosophy is to defend and counter.

As an aggressor attacks it creates an opening in its own defenses which is then capitalized upon by the defender. The philosophy of this system makes it simple for a defender to exploit the opponent’s defensive pitfalls and devastatingly effective to an aggressor which in its blind rage cannot see the weakness in its own action.

Calasanz as the head instructor at Norwalk Boxing will develop your power, endurance, and control. You will receive instruction in his original creation dubbed Physical Art. You will gain insight into fighting theory. You will learn the secrets to chin conditioning, neck rotation and head movement. Our training staff will make sure you never leave without something new and useful under your belt.

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

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507 Westport Ave, Norwalk CT 06851

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One of Calasanz Best Students: by Calasanz

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Ever since Calasanz has been inAmerica, in both his personal and professional life, one person helped him the most. Jennifer Li McNally, one of Calasanz’s best students and best friends, really helped promote the school and the methods Calasanz taught. When Calasanz came to the United Stateshe believed his “old school” ways of not accepting change was going to work here in the U.S.and occasionally he could be stubborn and difficult to deal with. However, over time he softened his stance somewhat on certain aspects mainly because of Jennifer’s influence. This was a great help to Calasanz at that time and in the years moving forward. She was able to deal with Calasanz at all times and deserves a lot of credit.

Calasanz will always remember Jennifer’s help with the movie “Crossing the Line” and the work she put in on the movie and in pre-production of the film. Her hard work, dedication, and respect she showed towards Calasanz and the school made her sensei and friend’s name more popular than ever. Calasanz truly appreciates Jennifer’s contributions and continues to be influenced by the example she set as well as her uplifting presence to this very day.

 Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

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Bruce Lee was and is still my inspiration in the world of martial arts: by Calasanz

Please click the link below to see images of the beauty and expression of the Calasanz System!!!

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Bruce Lee was and is still my inspiration in the world of martial arts. When I came to this country a friend of mine brought me a copy of Lee’s book, “Tao of Jeet Kune Do,” and when I read it, I said I wanted to be as good as Bruce, especially because everything he wrote, all his notes, and philosophy was what I believed and was what I was already doing.

Even many years ago when I was just a child, a strong child growing up on a farm, I figured out how to bring a cow to the ground by looking how the animal was proportioned.  I noticed this gap on the cow’s belly so I used to step towards the cow by stepping with one foot behind my other, then I exploded into the cow with a heel kick knocking it down, sometimes for over a minute, then it got right back up and went about its business as usual eating hay and such.

I could not believe the same kick I used on the cow was the same kick I saw Bruce Lee performing in a film clip while demonstrating Chinese boxing. When Bruce would strike, he put his hips and body into every strike, which is something I have been doing all my life, and right there and then I knew I had a natural gift for martial arts.

Another trait of mine that follows Bruce’s way of thinking is that I never followed what everyone else was doing.  A great example was when I went to a karate school and noticed a couple of guys striking each other. They were going blow for blow without any real attempt to block. So I said to myself “you are telling me the person with the strongest gut was going to come out on top?” To me, that was not what the martial arts is all about, so I left for three months to train on my own and work on the things I deemed important as opposed to what everyone else was doing. When that time was up I was able to easily challenge and beat anyone in that school, including the instructors.

 Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851

203-847-6528

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