New Students : New Perspectives

Watching him work today; the student had learned about 6 movements on the dummy.  It was amazing to see the softness and control the student displayed after just 2 lessons.  It was, in a word, phenomenal.

 

He refused to let the student get away with a detail on the first step / turn of the form.  The way he taught the correction of the form and how to capture, look, and see a movement in its entirety simultaneously was like witnessing a miracle or having a profound realization.

 

This is why teaching Wing Chun or Martial Arts in general is both a challenge and at the same time greatly rewarding.  If done right it is not just a technique or movement that is being taught.  It is shining a light on undiscovered facets within an individual and then bringing that facade outward to the surface.

 

Image

 

The surfacing of such an internal change is not always easily noticed and rarely immediate.  Often times the input is received in the moment yet the lesson is not learned until one goes through the process and takes the time to replay the experience retrospectively through memory catalyzing that change and bringing it realistically into fruition towards a meaningful shift in future reality and perspective.

 

What better venue to learn about and change yourself than martial art??

 

Learn to use your body.  How it works as a unit.  Feel more aware, confident and “in your skin”.  Feel more confident and more in control of a situation knowing you have the ability to defend yourself.  Learn body anatomy, get the body working all together.  Be coordinated.  Think for yourself.  Be independent.  Be confident.

 

Bruce Lee in an interview said that the people he trained were not looking for a fight; they were seekers of knowledge and that in the end all knowledge is self knowledge.   So what are you actually learning in martial art?  You are learning about yourself, you are learning about who you are, what you are, what you are capable of and much, much more. 

Flashy Wing Chun is Flashy

Wing Chun is a principle based Martial Art.  As we teach it here at Calasanz Physical Art in Norwalk it is taught not for the purpose of “looking cool.”  It is taught for the purpose of teaching good wing chun.  Besides, good wing chun just looks cool anyways, no matter how fast or slow you are doing it!  We share with you now one of our student’s take on wing chun through:

Flashy Wing Chun

Read, Comment, Share, Enjoy!

The Wing Chun Traditional Dummy

The Traditional Dummy Explained

The traditional wooden dummy is a staple in Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean martial arts.  They do come in various shapes and sizes, but the most prevalent design is 3 arms and 1 leg.  The Dummy is especially used in the practice of Wing Chun and is used to practice techniques, build bone density and train sensitivity.  To read more about the wooden dummy, its history and its purpose please read more here

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

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

www.westportpersonaltrainers.com

The Benefits of Personalized Attention in Martial Arts Training: by Calasanz

I have built a successful martial arts business by tailoring techniques to suit the specific needs of my students. I don’t operate like a traditional school that has a one size fits all approach. In most schools, you have to fit their mold. If you don’t, you’re left behind. My approach makes martial arts training accessible to a wider audience, so anyone can enjoy its benefits.

One of our students is a 60 year old woman who while training in The Calasanz System, became interested in the art of Wing Chun. I was delighted when she showed an interest in this style since it was created by a woman and would be perfect for her! She had been struggling with some knee problems for a long time and they were particularly bothering her during Wing Chun class. I took her aside and worked with her.

What I focused was her ability to use her entire body when she would slide or pivot to perform a block or strike. Her major problem was improper alignment. She was forcing her knees to help her pivot or slide from side to side. I told her to even out her posture and to imagine a straight line running from the top of her head, through her spine and down to the floor. I showed her how to move her body so that her whole body was in alignment. In no time, she was moving pain free and is still enjoying her Wing Chun training! Without the proper attention and adjustments, I would have lost this student.

In some classes, this issue would have gone unnoticed because the instructor doesn’t have the time or desire to personalize training. Students come in all shapes, sizes, and ability to follow class instructions. Taking the time to make the proper corrections and personalize a students training helps avoid injuries and prevent drop outs!

­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.wiltonpersonaltrainers.com

Wing Chun – An Introduction to the Balanced Art of Self Defense: by Calasanz

Two hundred eighty years ago, China was ruled by the repressive Manchus, who outlawed all weapons and forbade the Hans to practice any form of self defense. The Hans began to train a secret army of revolutionaries. The SilLimTemple became the sanctuary where masters of many ancient martial arts systems deliberated on how to create a single style that would be deadly enough to serve their revolutionary purpose, but which could be taught faster than the traditional form that took 20 years to master. Five of China’s greatest grandmasters jointly created a new system, but before they could teach it to their secret army, the Manchus burned the temple and put the masters to death. Ng Mui, a Buddhist nun, was the only survivor, who in secret and in great danger, taught the art to an orphan girl she named Wing Chun, which means “hope for the future.”

The art of Wing Chun is a blend of hard and soft techniques that are based on the movements of the tiger, crane, dragon, leopard and snake. Wing Chun equalizes the height and weight advantage that men have over women because it brings combat in closer to the opponent’s body where length of arms and legs no longer determine advantage. Wing Chun emphasizes the principles of simultaneous defense and counter attacks, economy of motion and center line attacks, as opposed to the use of brute strength. Wing Chun is suitable for both men and women of all ages, sizes and physical abilities. Those who practice Wing Chun find that it reduces stress, increases physical fitness, increases confidence and improves overall health.

Wing Chun is the style of Kung Fu taught at the Calasanz martial arts dojo. This course delves into this ancient art that is just as practical today as it was two hundred years ago.

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

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 on the birth and development of his system.

The birth of my system I must say coincides with my very birth. From the day I was born I’ve known the natural workings of the human body. How it works, how to optimize. Even when I was a child in karate class, I would hide my movements from my instructor because I didn’t want to get in trouble.

Throughout my years I’ve learned to apply the knowledge I was born with regarding the functional movements of the body to real fighting situations and have also developed it into a physical system for naturally improving the body. The system is called Physical Arts. It utilizes natural holistic movements and is aimed at the long term development and maintenance of the human body over a lifetime.

This is not a “get ripped” program. It is not a superficial body building regimen. It is Physical Arts. It is making your body into a walking masterpiece. Welcome to Calasanz Physical Arts.

Over my lifetime I have spent every day dedicated to martial arts. Somehow I knew from the time I was a child that this was my calling. The first martial arts school I attended was a Karate School. Upon visiting this school I noticed that there were a lot of punches landing between the two contenders, too many. For me fighting is not trading blows and determining the winner by who has the best physique. A real fighter will defend against an attack and then try to connect with the target. While the karate approach may be a good way to condition the body to take a punch, it is not real fighting.

Real fighting is common sense.

First, be aware that your body performs best when it is in perfect working order. To have a broken arm in a fight is a great disadvantage when fighting a two armed man. Protecting the physical body is of primary importance in a fight. It is essential and foundational. Your body being in perfect working order gives you the best chance of survival. This is achieved by blocking or evading successfully. Essentially, a good defense is imperative.

The next element of real fighting is to be able to disable or eliminate the threat to your physical body as quickly as possible. This is achieved through Wing Chun. The body that remains fully functional for longer and acts most efficiently and effectively is bound to prevail.

Now we come to size. Size is something a lot of people deem to be a good judge of strength and even fighting ability. Often times people will fear an opponent due to sheer size. Let us consider now, two rifles aimed towards two watermelons. Place in front of one, 10 inches of marshmallows. Place in front of the other 1 inch of steel. Which watermelon would you stand behind if the triggers were flicked? Size doesn’t seem to matter much now. While it should be taken into consideration, it is not always of great importance, and this is no different when it comes to fighting. Similarly the size of the man matters not, but it is his mettle, his character, what he is actually capable of that holds greater bearing.

It has been proven again and again in the real world, as well as in boxing, and other martial sports. Frequently a larger opponent with an incredible physique is set against a smaller man who’s physique is comparatively lacking. While the larger man seems more formidable, this is merely in appearance. It has been seen repeatedly that a contender inferior in stature can easily be victorious with superior technique. A phenomenal physique can only give someone an advantage up to a point. If technique is lacking and a contender’s offense is unwieldy, it is easy for a proficient fighter to penetrate and take advantage of an opponents untrained flailing, capitalize on exposed vulnerabilities, and dismantle his opponent. It is important to realize that just because you have the biggest body it does not mean that you are capable of functionally using that body to be effective in a fight.

Street fighters, for example, believe they are good fighters based on the fact that they are aggressive and willing to fight. However, when a street fighter squares off with someone who is a trained and an accomplished practitioner of the art it is clear within seconds that their overly aggressive approach does not work. I experienced this first hand in the early 80’s when street fighters would challenge me and my students constantly. No doubt in an attempt to debunk me personally and the system I have come to develop. In time I would place a sign on the door welcoming challengers. I remember two gentlemen distinctly, Jay and Kenny.

I met these two gentlemen in Norwalk in 1987 after attending the same gym for a time called George’s Gym. Jay, at this point, was considered the biggest body builder in CT. He also did not like me very much when I started going to that gym and everybody wondered how long I would stay there given his disposition. Kenny, now, was known at this time as the “Terror of Norwalk”. Everybody knew him either from getting in trouble or simply knowing of his preceding reputation of beating young guys. George’s Gym at this time had, without a doubt, some of the toughest street fighters coming through there, not to mention some volatile body builders as well. I remember telling somebody, “I need one week here before everybody is training under me.” And it was just exactly that which ended up happening. After demonstrating to Jay my power, speed, endurance, and grounding, based purely on martial arts skill, Jay signed with me immediately for a month of private training. I remember, also, Jay being at the gym pressing 1500 to 2000 pounds with his legs using a machine.

One day I put Jay to the test and asked him to pick up his leg and push against my stomach. Jay could not even do so much as make me budge, and in less than a second I was showing Jay a new way under my system. There was a difference of understanding between our two mindsets. In his mind, and in that of much of the Western world, to push iron and pack muscle onto his frame was the ideal. This is achieved through monotonous movement and mechanical repetition creating tight, inflexible muscle.

In my mind natural, flexible, long muscle built through physical art is what brings the ideal into fruition. This is achieved through exercising motions that naturally accommodate the anatomy of the human body and develop real strength by engaging the entire body as a whole. Synchronizing breath and motion into pure, fluid, natural, transformative moments of life itself. To this day he remains a faithful convert.

Kenny, on the other hand is a bit of a different story. He is 6′ 5″ and always made his mark on his opponents. As we continued to spend time in the same building his frustration with me continued to fester and grow. He eventually took the liberty to invite every member of the gym to come and see how easily he would defeat me. The terror of Norwalk once more coming against an opponent to validate his status in front of everyone; his ego eager for all to gather and see for its own satisfaction. Only this time he did not know who he was up against, me, Calasanz.

On that day, the fight was over almost as soon as it began. We touched fists, and from that moment sympathy ceased to exist. The fight, it had to be stopped in less than 10 seconds after a single blow. I had placed the heal of my foot into Kenny’s hips, and after taking the shot Kenny’s gait was knocked off its axis and he would not walk properly for a time afterwards. The kick was powerful enough to nearly dislocate Kenny’s hips and caused stop to his offense immediately. I can’t remember if he ever came back.

After that day I ended up training many of these street fighters, and I trained them for free. Over time they would go to competitions and compete in my stead. Within three years the name Calasanz was recognized all over the United States and even internationally. Fighters under my system were making significant impressions every where they went spreading the name, Calasanz. One competition in particular stands out in my mind, one involving KYOKUSHINKAI where two of my students won. Each of them competing within their own brackets and finishing on top.

Looking closer now at the KYOKUSHINKAI practice itself, it is a brutal form of martial arts popularized in the 1980’s. When competing, full force kicks are thrown towards opponents’ heads or anywhere else for that matter and no protective gear is used. Punches are allowed but are only directed towards the chest. Often times in a KYOKUSHINKAI tournament there will be a great number of knock downs and knock outs from head kicks. The kick being the most powerful weapon an unarmed fighter possesses, you can imagine the danger in combating someone trained in this practice. My students competed with full confidence and continued to win the tournament in their respective brackets.

Again, keep in mind that at this time KYOKOSHINKAI was a very popular martial art with a multitude of dedicated practitioners making it vital for a competitor to practice as more than just a hobby. In such brutal competition one must really have their wits about them else he may get knocked out, or even killed, very quickly. My students showed their talents. Both of them victorious under my coaching and Physical Arts Body Development system.

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

Wing Chun: The Perfect Style for Women – by Calasanz

Of all the martial art styles in existence, I would say that Wing Chun is perfect for most women.  While women have excelled in many styles, Wing Chun is the one art that most utilizes a woman’s natural gifts.  To appreciate Wing Chun training for women, it’s important to first look at its history.

Two hundred eighty years ago, the repressive Manchus ruled China. The Manchus outlawed all weapons and forbade the Hans, who comprised 90% of the population, to practice any form of self-defense. The Hans began to train a secret army of revolutionaries. The SilLimTemple became the sanctuary where masters of many ancient Martial Arts systems deliberated on how to create a single style that would be deadly enough to serve their revolutionary purpose, but which could be taught faster than the traditional form that took 20 years to master.

Five of China’s greatest grandmasters jointly created a new system, but before they could teach it to their secret army, the Manchus burned the temple and put the Masters to death.

Legend tells us that Ng Mui, a nun, was the only survivor of the original Grandmasters group. In secret, and in great danger, she taught the system to a talented young orphan girl whom she named Wing Chun, which means, “hope for the future.” The lineage and secrets of this extraordinary system were closely guarded for two and a half centuries.

What makes Wing Chun a fantastic martial art for women is that it equalizes the height and weight advantage that men have over women because it brings combat in closer to the opponent’s body.  At close range, the length of the opponent’s arms or legs no longer matters. It is the ability and speed to attack that is important.

Because of the discrepancy in size between men and women, a female defending herself is not going to want to engage in a prolonged battle with a male attacker. Fortunately, Wing Chun does not require the use of brute force, but rather fast, flowing movements. Women are better able to grasp the concept of softness that allows for the efficient and effective flow of movement necessary to stop an attacker. Wing Chun teaches her to quickly defend and immediately attack.  

I have also found that women are very good at developing the sensitivity needed to successfully engage in a Wing Chun practice called “sticky hands.”  The purpose of  “sticky hands” is to learn how to react quickly and efficiently depending on the opponent’s attack. It’s been my experience that the women I have trained over the years tend to master this practice a lot faster than their male counterparts. 

In addition to helping women develop overall physical fitness, Wing Chun tones the hip, buttocks and stomach area where women tend to store fat. There’s no better way to develop “buns of steel!” Wing Chun generates explosive power from the lower body with the use of proper stances, shifting and leg and hip movement. Women tend to pick these techniques up very quickly and when properly trained, are amazed at how much power they can generate.

Ladies, if you’re looking for self-defense and a great overall workout, this art was tailor made for you!  Find yourself a good Wing Chun school and see for yourself!

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

The First System to Implement ‘Items’

For so many years I wanted to have a system that could be so simple that students would not have problems challenging themselves at anytime, especially if they did not maintain a previous active lifestyle. I maintained students for years and showed them different styles of martial arts on top of what they were here studying, this way, after they earned their black belt; they already had the knowledge to build on those skills. I was not interested in belt rank, and I wanted to keep students involved at all times, but when they took a break and got out of shape, they lost most of their technique. Instead of being able to pick up an additional certification on top of their black belt, it would take many lessons since they stopped training. Had they continued their regimen, it may have only taken two lessons.

For example, one student said, “Calasanz, I have not been there and I want to take two weeks to get back in shape.” Since this student already had a black belt, I wanted to get specific with his training and get him some certifications on top of his black belt, which we call “Items” under the Calasanz System. My suggestion for his training was two weeks of mixed martial arts, certification in either American or recreational boxing, and part one of a Kata, which is great for getting in shape. I would have loved for him  to take part one in Wing Chun but it is too slow and takes longer to get in shape unless you take part one of Chinese boxing.  I told him to let me know what he prefers since there are around 700 hundred basic items, with sub-items exceeding 4000.

Before I give you another example, I have to mention Kyle. He is eight years old and is very happy to be a black belt. Once in a while, Jeff or I will ask him, “What about the next certification?” He just says, “Of course, my parents and I are all for it.” Kyle has the legs chi sau certification, and he just got the first part of Wing Chun certification. Being so young, it is exciting for him, but also it is cute to see how happy he is and how effective this program is.

Another student is a U.S. Marine named Erik, who was the first student to get 17 certifications along with his black belt. During the course for over two years, he has become one of the best qualified instructors from my school and he is getting ready to open a school in Florida which will be based on private one-on-one personal training.  He is also qualified to speak and demonstrate in a martial arts seminar.

An important item we offer is boxing, both traditional American boxing and recreational boxing. Traditional American boxing is what you are accustomed to seeing on television but recreational boxing is something you would take up without having to become a competitor. Recreational boxing will make you faster, stronger, and more flexible, grounded, balanced, to get in better physical condition, and will give you the best self defense. It only takes Calasanz a half hour to give you enough self defense, to enable you in becoming capable of surviving on the street against any opponent. You could experience a thug throwing punches at you and by closing the gap, you will not get hit and you can counter at any time. The reason why is simple: the guy on the street is not a boxer and if he was a boxer, he may not have attacked you in the first place. Recreational boxing makes it easier for you to take care of yourself without getting hit and makes it easier to hurt the attacker.

Make sure you understand that if you take a half hour of boxing to learn how to defend yourself, if there is no power in your arsenal, you have not gotten the point of the exercises and that is why we also give  you the responsibility to learn these exercises so you can practice them at home. Real defense means you are empowered to take care of yourself, your grounding, and your balance. These are the main tools you need in order to be successful on the street.

In boxing, there are a few techniques but it can take you many years to master them. It is similar to Wing Chun, there are few blocks, a few kicks and punches, but it requires talent, intelligence and a lot of work in order to be able to master that art.

Since I went to my first karate school, I already understood this and I did not believe in rank. I remember seeing all these ranks on a black belt, but I also remember going to one class and not coming back for about three months, and being able to develop on my own during that time. Still, I was not completely sure where I was in the martial arts. All I knew was that I understood something that they did not. During that first class, all I witnessed and experienced was brutality and I knew “martial arts” was much more than that!

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,NorwalkCT06851

1.800.414.9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com