Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Becoming Bruce Lee and Purposeful Practice

Before we go on we want that you understand the beauty in martial
arts.  There is a certain beauty that comes with being a Bruce Lee or
a Muhammad Ali or a dancer whose movement inspires.  Calasanz believes
it is in the movement of these wonders that inspires us.  It all comes
from knowing yourself and understanding why it is that you are being
so watched by an audience.  It is because movements produced with such
confidence and synchronization are captivating to those observers.
The sheer balance, and control of a human body demonstrates its
capabilities, potential and beauty.  This is something that attracts
the eye and is difficult to ignore.

Beauty in martial arts does not come from knowing thousands of
techniques or their potential effectiveness.  It arises from the
controlled and proper execution of these techniques.  In practice it
is most helpful to observe yourself in the mirror, it allows you to
see yourself and correct your movements to make them more and more

Mindless execution and repetition does not produce true development.
It is the calculated, disciplined and deliberate execution of
techniques and movements that allows for a real improvement in
proficiency.  Observing one's movements visually gives the user
something so they might critically asses and evaluate their own
standing in order to make developmental corrections.

Practice your moves, but not mindlessly.  Correct them with the
purpose of making them prettier and prettier, striving to make them
so.  As you look in the mirror and watch yourself, you will know how
they look.  If the body looks contorted, writhing and out of line, a
correction is necessary.  If the body looks poised, stable, balanced
and strong the movement is beautiful and correct.  You will know this

At any moment that you let anybody control that for you, that is when
the knowledge and beauty of what you are doing will be lost.  When you
come to study the Calasanz system think of learning something that you
can take home with you.  It brings you to the point of not just
understanding the techniques and exercises of any martial system, but
more importantly to the point of understanding your own body.  By
reaching this level of understanding you can train the exercises and
techniques to look good and beautiful doing them.  In understanding
your body in this way anything you participate in in daily life will
be improved.

Train to elongate your muscle.  Work out with the purpose of
developing a nice posture.  All of these things can be improved under
the Calasanz system and training Physical Arts.  The techniques are
applied to more than just American Boxing, Kickboxing, Karate, Kung Fu
or other martial systems.  They are applicable to universal movement,
general motion, everyday action.

When you train to become a competitor things change within the mind.
Your view is to train hard and hurt people.  Looking at Muhammad Ali
or Bruce Lee their movement looks so natural and beautiful, the
harming of their opponents is almost a secondary component.  The
fruits of their training are apparent.  In the ring they are as
graceful as ballroom dancers.  They are killers but still look good.
Sometimes you must be born with that, but if you are not so endowed
training is where you gain it.  First you must gain posture,
coordination, technique, rhythm, balance, and control.  After
acquiring these you can develop flexibility, strength, sensitivity and
power at alarming rates to become a Bruce Lee, to become a Muhammed
Ali.  You will know yourself, you will be yourself.

Inspired by Calasanz
Written by Alan Wedell

Friday, December 7, 2012

The concept, design, and purpose behind Calasanz' Interdojo and Videos

The concept, design, and purpose behind Calasanz' Interdojo and Videos

Subliminal input softens the mind. The way ancient martial arts used transmitted was very different from how we pass along our talents, skill sets (and "secrets") today.  In the past the students were told by the grand master to follow the movements.  He would demonstrate the movement a few times and then put the students to practice it for several hours.  This was not only practical seeing as in order to punch better you must practice punching, but was also a 'test' of each individual.  As the master would walk around or watch from around the facility he would notice who was dedicated and disciplined and who was lazy or became bored and started goofing around.
As the students progressed (or didn't) the master would give the students who were ready the next movements and left those who hadn't mastered the techniques yet with only the same lesson.  Today we are not holding back on anybody.

Simply following the master would help the students understand the techniques better by giving them an experienced and developed visualization of the technique.  This visualization is absorbed in the student's mind while following and is then reinforced significantly when practiced in solace or practiced at all.  Following the lesson and practice the dedicated student might even be patient enough to sit, listen and receive focused instruction from the teacher afterwards.
The idea behind the Calasanz' interdojo and DVDs is based on watching a movement or technique 3 to 10 times BEFORE being taught.  You don't have to be interested in learning the specific motion depicted, but is watched just to see a movement to allow your brain to process and understand human movement.   This softens the mind and relaxes the brain to better understand movement itself and afterwards when the master teaches you, your understanding will be enhanced and deeper in comparison.
Immediately an experienced instructor makes an assessment of how slow or fast you can learn.  He will determine if you are ready to be taught or only ready to follow the movements.  You usually see this done in the practice of Kung Fu, especially by the monks participating at Shaolin schools.  But, you don't have to be as dedicated to martial arts as they are to learn in the same way.  You can still learn by watching or following.  Anyone can learn in the traditional way without having to be a monk.  People learn both ways, traditionally and non-traditionally and we recognize that fact and entertain both paths of learning.
Imagine a master or teacher that wants to teach you the first 5 movements of a kata or form without you ever having watched it or having followed him.  This might take you 2 eternities to learn without a demonstration or visual aid.

Imagine now that you watch a video clip of the first 5 movements 10 times or simply follow your teacher 10 times.  Now you have at least a general idea of the movements and the flow of the form.  With this "leg-up" some learn the first 5 movements in as little as 10 minutes, what a time saver!  The difference is what we call softening the mind and relaxing the brain to capture, memorize, learn, and understand something more deeply and in a shorter amount of time.  This is the skill, idea and concept behind the Calasanz System videos.
Notice also that there is almost no talking within the Calasanz videos.  The intent is for the viewer to follow the movements, not listen to words.  It is much harder to synthesize words into meaningful movement than it is to capture a movement visually to reproduce it.  It is a much longer and more complicated process to teach someone through words as it is not only necessary to be said and heard, it must also be interpreted correctly to produce the desired results.  However, a short talking lesson can greatly augment a visual one to help the student make sense of the movement and its purpose.
For example, when you read a book you can often reiterate the essence of the book's meaning but recounting every specific detail is quite difficult.  When it comes to physical exercise the process is much the same.  The videos are designed to give the viewer an idea of the general essence of the movements so they have a grander picture of what it is they are aspiring to.  After watching and gaining this larger perspective of what is being taught the instructor comes in to fill out the details.  This way of learning develops a student's understanding right away and helps them progress much faster than the traditional way of study which usually involves seemingly endless repetition and (until the last movements are taught) an incomplete picture.
There are easily two types of intelligence.  When it comes to Physical Art, the smarter you are in regards to book study the slower you will learn movements that require physical ability.  This is the dichotomy between mentally gifted and physically gifted minds or people.  That is not to say that a bright person cannot be taught, it just means that there is a steeper learning curve for those with mental prowess when it comes to understanding physical movement.  This idea is being exposed all the time.  Those who are book smart, are very capable of understanding and completing ideas, concepts and mental processes.  However, it is often difficult for them to understand or assimilate things in the same way when it comes to physical action.  (The opposite holds for those who fall on the other side of the spectrum.  They may be able to perform physical actions easily but find it difficult to entertain the abstract.)

The visuals provided on and by Calasanz' DVDs are designed to bridge the gap.  They are designed to soften the mind to give the viewer full perspective of the movements and techniques to reduce learning time and enhance his or her understanding regardless of their natural disposition towards a more mental or a more physical prowess.
This tells you the entire story of what Calasanz brings with the interdojo.
Again and again you can watch his videos, it does not have to be a professionally filmed video or formula video.  It can be any video, even a home made video.  We intentionally avoid words and verbage within many of the videos to allow the viewer to fully capture the movements in focused isolation. The goal is to soften the mind first, because then it will give a better understanding of what is being taught to enhance the learning process.  Calasanz' advice is that before and even during downtime after a workout, while you are resting, watch a DVD or video, or even just have it on in the background to relax the mind and absorb.