Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Is Chi Shuo (Chi Sao) Applicable in Fighting?


Taken from an Audio Recording of Calasanz


Chi Shuo vs. Figthing.

Let me give you the first concept or idea about reality towards this.

If you are a Wing Chun guy and you want to get close to me to do Chi Shuo and we are standing there the first thing I'm gonna say is you can't fight because you have to get to me.  Before getting to me... say I'm a guy from Holland, a striker  or a Thai boxer or something...  I am going to strike, so that gives me the edge towards you.

If we are standing close and both of us are killers then in Wing Chun the guy who is smarter is gonna win because remember in Wing Chun the guy who delivers the first 2 or 3 shots probably will win because it is electricity.

Put two electrodes together and there is an arc, a shock, electricity.  You see... If I fight Leung Ting I can be the loser or he can be the loser; with my power I have a little chance.  You know, everyone around me always said no matter who it would be, "Okay, Calasanz is gonna win."  People would joke, "If Mike Tyson and Calasanz get into the ring who is going to win?"

Everyone said, "Of course Calasanz."  

Today I say, "Get outta here!"  I never wanted to be against Mike Tyson anyway.  Back then maybe it would have been allowed, but with the UFC and MMA being the way they are today that fight would never happen.  You see, back then the UFC did not exist and I had done so much that people really thought I was not human.  Remember, we are talking about 1986, guy, people believed that I was something from another planet.

'seems like because from then, having been so well rounded at that point in time no one else was so multidisciplinary... and you were.'

"Exactly, Exactly, so that is why today I can put it together so... chi shuo, again if you are a fighter you don't want to start the fight at close range because now the wing chun guy is going to defeat you.  That is the difference between being a fighter and not being a fighter.

If you know Wing Chun Kung Fu and you're also a fighter you are the deadliest person on the planet.  But if you just know traditional Wing Chun and you are facing a fighter, now you have to be careful.  Leung Ting can be against a UFC fighter, but if he is not ready to take the punishment the fight might not go his way.  This is what happened in "Fighting Black Kings" when most of the Japanese defeated the Chinese.  The Chinese were just regular people doing Wing Chun as regular people.  They were not competitors like the Japanese preparing for punishment and training for the fight you know?

Now you're on the street getting ready to fight the person... if the guy knows the same amount of Wing Chun as you, you are not going to fight him.  The wing chun guy, the kung fu guys don't fight on the street.  The two of you are going to end up as friends.  "Oh you train Wing Chun and I train Cheng Chuan Longfist.  Okay, you teach me Wing Chun and I will teach you my kung fu."  But if one of you doesn't know martial arts then there is going to be a fight.  Now the Wing Chun guy is gonna take the street fighter and have him by the nose.  This is what you would do to a street fighter with wing chun.  But again, the guy didn't know how to fight, and that's the difference.

When you're talking about the guy who is trained to be a fighter going up against a guy trained in Wing Chun doing traditional chi shuo and is a very good martial artist, but isn't a competitor start from far because then you have the edge.  You can probably kick or punch the guy.  But the minute you touch the Wing Chun guy as a street fighter with no Wing Chun you have to be ready mister.  How are you going to block 11 attacks?  That is why boxers don't block.  They have to cover.  If the boxer could block that onslaught they would be blocking, but Wing Chun is more than that.  Wing Chun is electricity.  It's not just that the Wing Chun guy is throwing 11 attacks, its 11 attacks followed by blocks.  Look at the Wing Chun punch, there was no block, but there was a block.  The punch is a block and a block quickly turns into a punch if the guy is not going to block.  If the punch is thrown he's gonna block.  But the guy that doesn't know doesn't feel and ends up getting hit because he just tries to act.

So still some cannot understand why the Wing Chun guy is faster than the boxer.  Of course, the boxer defends.  The Wing Chun guy doesn't defend.  Defense and Attack go together; one technique.

One of my students A. R. (name abbreviated for privacy) said, "I was on the street and all of a sudden I see five guys on the ground, but I don't know what he did."  If you know Wing Chun immediately you're going to make the assumption, "That must have been Wing Chun."  So this is a real story.  He recounted it several times and was disappointed.  It was funny, he said he should have taken Wing Chun.  Later when he found out, when he saw Wing Chun, he said that was exactly what he saw (Wing Chun).  Five guys on the ground that didn't know what hit them.

So yeah, Wing Chun and Chi Shuo are good for the street, but going into a cage against a trained fighter you are gonna want more than just traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Calasanz Remembers Moy Yat

Taken from an audio Recording of Calasanz



I remember I was looking for northern styles of Chinese kung fu.  I already had read about Wing Chun Kung Fu and I knew that two of the main styles in China were Long Fist, that is Cheng Chuang Long Fist and of course Wing Chun I knew about because of Bruce Lee.

My friend Angel said to me, "No, no, no.  Go to Moy Yat.  He was a classmate along side Bruce Lee."

Moy Yat
So I went to Moy Yat.  I went to his school in China Town and immediately paid $50 dollars.  They put me in front of the mirror...  I remember it so clearly.  We were in front of the mirror and they put me into a stance like a pigeon, the traditional Wing Chun stance, and showed me the first few techniques.  The lesson was Tan Shuo, with the left hand, heun, and chamber and then the same with the right hand.

"Okay, that's it for today."  they said.  I responded almost in disgust, "That's it for today?  You must be kidding.  You must not know who am I."
I started doing pushups, exercises... the incredible, doing all these things.  They got angry, but they let me stay there.

You see, when I came to this country with that dream of being Bruce Lee nobody was going to stop me.  Nobody stopped me.  I was the craziest little bastard, little gorilla, chimpanzee, black cat, cheetah... unstoppable.

During my first few weeks at Moy Yat's school I became well known very quickly.  People would come in to fight the Chinese; you know back then it was different from how it is now.  I remember specifically two occasions.  There was one guy, he must have been about 6' 4, easily 3 times my size.  He came in and we ended up doing Chi Shuo.  We were trapping and hitting each other for over an hour, but neither one of us said 'Uncle'.  It was one of the only times I would take punishment, I delivered a fair share of punishment to him as well.

While I was doing Chi Shuo with this guy the Chinese were all around looking, talking, murmuring among themselves out of the sides of their mouths behind open hands.  You see, at this point I was new at Moy Yat's school and didn't have any training in Chi Shuo, I was just reacting to him.  Fortunately, I already had the necessary skills involved from training with George Wood.  He would hold two sticks and I would rotate with the two sticks as he held them for me.  So that gave me the ability of chi shuo.  I must have ended up winning because the guy never came back. 

The other occasion took place, when a guy came in, again, to fight the Chinese.  He was sweeping and flipping them onto the floor like nothing.  They were landing very hard.  Luckily it was a wooden floor because they were landing very, very hard.  He was unimpressed.  "I come to Moy Yat and this is how they fight?"  Understand, a lot of the people training there had never even seen the dummy, let alone hit it.  They never did anything but Siu Nim Tau and rotating in chi shuo, so they couldn't take a shot, they could not fight.  He came over to me and I said, "Try doing that to me. "  When he came and delivered that kick to sweep me I did exactly what I did in the Dominican Republic.  I grounded my leg.  He came to sweep me but failed because I had grounded my leg so well and immediately I countered him.


You should have seen the Chinese when I came through the door the next day.  They started whispering; I remember one lady, this one little girl in particular, I will never forget.  She was the best of the best, probably only 75 pounds but she moved like a little cat.  She watched me non-stop, but I hear her murmuring still to the others, 'wshewsewshs... 10th degree black belt.' as she looked at me out of the corners of her eyes.  "This guy is black belt, he's 10th degree black belt, watch out for this guy shwhshsh."  They just talked and talked and talked.

Later on, Jon, a guy who worked for Moy Yat and who was responsible for bringing some of the bigger names in Martial Arts at the time to the school, came to me and said, "Go talk to Moy Yat."  So I went to the office and sat down there.  Moy Yat tells me, "Calasanz, we already know the skill you have."  He said, "Pay me this much and in 3 months you can teach, in one year you will have a certification and a picture with me."  It was exactly like that.

I went directly to Steve James, my boss at Victoria Station.  I said, "Steve, if you give me Saturday opening at 7 am and closing at 5 in the morning I can take wing chun with Moy Yat."  At that point I was the number one bus boy / waiter / employee there.  He said, "Of course Calasanz."  And I worked.  I worked all day and night, 22 hours.  By the time it was 5 in the morning I had about 7 or 8 hundred dollars cash plus whatever my hourly pay was at the time.  I had made the money for Moy Yat working at Victoria Station on a Saturday in just one day.

So I paid Moy Yat what he asked along with a $500 dollar fee which was what he charged anyone just to touch the dummy.  Normally nobody can see the dummy.  It was kept in a back room; maybe you could see it looking through a crack in the door, but it was kept away from the main area.  The minute anyone gave him the payment he led them to the room, took a key and locked the door.  I remember he led me there and locked the door and turned to me and said, "Okay Calasanz.  Now we go."  I'll never forget that.  At this point I am being trained privately by Moy Yat.  A lot of people who used to go there say, "But I never saw Calasanz there."  It's because I was in the back room working on the dummy.  The first day he gave me 'section 1' of the dummy and said, "Do section 1 as many times as you can.  Spend one week on section 1, then I can give you the entire dummy in 1 day if you want."  Exactly like that.

Here, this is a real story now.  This is real.  This is exactly how it happened.  When I finished there I spent 3 days just hitting the dummy.  I looked down at my arm there was nothing there.  It's all gone, all the hair on my arm gone, the skin almost gone.  It looked exactly how it looks when a snake peels its skin.  All the skin is gone, just peeled.  Think about it... hit the dummy for 1 day and still that is not going to happen.  I spent three days hitting it.  So now maybe you can understand what was the extent of the obsession that I had, that I hit the dummy enough to peel my arms entirely.  That was me Mr. Alan.  This is how, and that is the obsession that I had with being better than Bruce Lee.

Once I had completed that year we went to this cannoli place in Chinatown.  He was supposed to bring the picture and the diploma but he must have forgotten them.  Years later in 1988 I had him here for a seminar and even after calling him again and again to remind him,  "Make sure you bring the diploma."  he still didn't bring it.  You know, maybe if we do everything we can it could be that it is still over there.  Maybe someone in his family or someone over there has it because I know he would not break it or get rid of it.

Later on I figured out why he didn't want me to go and get the diploma.  Previously I had paid him no insignificant sum of money for a video of him on a projector doing the 3 forms.  Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu and Biu Tze.  I have the projector sitting right here in my office.  Not too long ago a good friend and long time student of mine, Mario, went to take a video of it from the projector so we could have it digital or whatever.  Ends up that on it was one of his students, a child maybe 11 or 13 years old, who was studying there at the same time as me doing siu nim tao.  So it wasn't even all three forms or done by him.  I wouldn't mind getting the forms from a kid anyway but that was a lot of money for Moy Yat to do it.  Anyway, probably he didn't want me coming and asking about that too if I went to get the diploma. 

Moy Yat, he was a good instructor.  He did what a good instructor does, you know.  He realized who I was.  He did not go and say, "Calasanz let me try to give you a lesson." and beat me up, not that he could have anyway at that point.  I respect him but he never had the capacity of giving me a lesson like that.  But he could have said that.  Instead he called me and said, "I'm gonna teach you."  That's what a good instructor does.

It's like me now.  When I see someone like that, dedicated and has passion for the Art I don't go trying to beat them up.  I want to raise them up.  For example, now I am building some of the youngest and most well rounded martial artists, the youngest masters I call it.  It's tremendous what someone with that sorts of mind-set, dedication, passion, desire and devotion to the Art is capable of learning and achieving even at a young age.  It's Incredible.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Alignment through Bodily Awareness and Martial Art

It is no secret that Bodily Awareness and Martial Art go hand in hand.  From continued practice any student can develop proprioception, exteroception, balance and grounding to an astounding degree over time.

Hand-eye coordination will become greatly enhanced.  Awareness will be amplified.   Awareness not only of yourself but also of your surroundings will pour in and be reflected through your action.  Confidence will radiate from you naturally through how you carry yourself.

When it comes to Calasanz' Physical Arts exercises these qualities are being absorbed and developed during concentrated and focused training.  Again, you must be careful.  As you train pay attention to your body and the signals it is giving you.  While a bit of "pain" normally accompanies the exertion and eventual exhaustion of muscles and tendons it is important to remain cognizant of what is too much or too far or too incorrect.  Stubbornness, ignorance and negligence will lead to injury.  Train smart.  Listen to your body.  Make adjustments.  Keep your wits about you and do not take anything on blind faith or false belief alone.  Revisit your technique regularly with honesty and integrity towards improvement and perfection.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Martial Arts and the Perfectionist

"Don’t be afraid to correct perfectionists because you feel it will upset them. An instructor who feeds into this is not really teaching. Constant praise is counterproductive and doesn’t help the student learn."

I appreciate martial arts students who want to do everything perfectly. They are usually very committed and hard working.  They sign up for classes ready to train and full of enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, this enthusiasm disappears very quickly.  The one problem is that perfectionists worry themselves to death.  They start off with a very positive attitude, but set the bar so high that they get depressed and disappointed if they can’t meet their expectations often times allowing the slightest error to completely deflate the moment and block reception of the lesson.

Students with such high anxiety also tend to ask a lot of questions and over-analyze the lesson or the techniques.  What happens then is that instead of enjoying their martial arts training, it becomes stressful.  Some don’t want to take promotion tests because in their minds, they are never really ready.  Usually they are of the mind that nothing they do is ever good enough.

I’ve taught martial arts for over 30 years because I love teaching.  I've said it again and again, I don’t like to give up on anyone, perfectionists included.  They can be superior athletes if trained properly.  My best approach is to encourage them to lighten up.  I have to constantly remind them not to be so hard on themselves.

I will limit the amount of questions I allow during a class.  As a sincere teacher and instructor I can’t ignore all questions because some are legitimate but sometimes the barrage of inquisitions gets out of hand.  A martial arts class, however, should not consist of a lot of chit-chat.  Most people want to work up a sweat and learn the art; talking simply inhibits the experience.  Too many questions can also bore and even agitate the other students so maintaining focus on everyone getting a good workout is important.

During open workout sessions,
I specifically direct perfectionists on what they should work on for that hour.  Some students are so self-directed that they show up to an open workout with an agenda of what they want to work on and can keep themselves busy for an hour.  Although, if the Perfectionist needs a plan... Give it to them!  They will rise to the occasion.

Don’t be afraid to correct perfectionists because you feel it will upset them. An instructor who feeds into this is not really teaching. Constant praise is counterproductive and doesn’t help the student learn. Make constructive corrections and tell the student how to improve!

Above all, focus on the overall learning experience!  When directed by a knowledgeable instructor perfectionists have the potential to be, to become, outstanding Martial Artists.  Encourage them to enjoy the journey!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Smart vs. Mindless Training

Taken from an Audio Recording of Calasanz


I have what we call upstairs 'science training'.  I can change someone in one hour.  I can change someone in half an hour.  That is how I developed a name, a good name, with Police Officers and Law Enforcement in general.  There are countless officers I have trained and given them this short amount of time to dramatically improve their job and ability to perform their duties on the street.  It takes me half an hour to teach them how to do the job better in respect to striking, subduing, general appearance, how to look and how to close the gap.  Since the 80's I've been known for that type of intensive training.

Not long ago I took in a student who had been attending lessons elsewhere for the past 6 months or more.  By the time I had spent 3 hours with him he already learned more than what he had gotten over the past six months.

When it comes to this topic, it is different from the subjects of kyokoshinkai and Mas Oyama, but it can be connected based on what it was that made us win those tournaments.  We won those tournaments because of what I could do with a person in 3 months, what I could turn a person into in that amount of time.

What I do for someone in 3 hours other trainers cannot do in 6 months, a year, 2 years, 3 years...  some probably take more than that.  What I can do for someone coming from a soft business school of taekwondo as a 6th degree black belt earned over 15 years or more... I can give that to them in just 3 or 4 hours of 'science training'.  Don't forget, Bruce Lee said, 10 minutes of smart training is better than 3 hours of 'mindless' training or 'dumb' training, however you want to call it.

You see, there is the difference.  You can do an hour of any sort of training without learning anything or you can do something smart for one hour and learn something.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Real Power through Simplicity

The Straight-Forwardness of Wing Chun Kung Fu


In the world of engineering often times the most celebrated solutions are also the most simple.  When it comes to martial art there is none more simple than Wing Chun

Review this video, especially those of you who have studied Wing Chun traditionally.  We love traditional wing chun programs but have also managed to cross the threshold by developing Wing Chun into something practical for more than just self-defense and street survival.

Calasanz studied Wing Chun under Moyat privately investing probably 3 times more than those who just love to talk.  When it comes to Wing Chun, even if you are not an expert or even if you are a beginner, just by taking Wing Chun you are already better than many other martial artists.  No matter what you do, no matter how abysmal your Wing Chun is, you are still getting 90% more than what you would get from any other martial arts school granted you are not making a concerted effort to ignore the lesson or refuse any sort of attempt at understanding the system.


Calasanz built his name by giving lessons to professional fighters who needed it.  You see, Wing Chun on the street is unmatched, but most guys who fight on the street don't know how to fight.  It's easy to win a fight on the street.  Watching a Wing Chun guy take down 10 guys on the street would only naturally make one of the mind that Wing Chun is best.  But again, those guys on the street probably are not good fighters.  So, when it comes to stepping into a ring, or now a cage you encounter a completely different animal.  Now you are fighting a fighter, a gladiator.  Now you are fighting someone who trains to fight.

That being said, Wing Chun designed for competition has to be more than just the traditional.  It has to evolve into something beyond.  While the traditional has much to offer in the marks of technique, body mechanics, spiritual development and general fitness it must be augmented for the cage when faced with the reality of fighting and with the knowledge and input gathered over time in order to participate in evolution proper.  Keep in mind, however, that evolution does not imply greater complexity.  In fact, it may even imply a step in the opposite direction towards greater simplicity.
Jeet Kune Do developed by Bruce Lee for example.  Lee introduced that concept of 'longest weapon attacks nearest target' which is undeniably and obviously sensible yet was strangely overlooked or undervalued for so long until its more recent revelation.  JKD was developed by Bruce Lee because upon coming to America he ran into trouble taking traditional Wing Chun into competition; meaning it needed to be converted into something effective for use in the ring against those trained to fight.  Behold the creation of JKD, behold the evolution of Wing Chun






Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Calasanz' Contemporary Recounts the Past

"I was on the circuit myself for years and was competing in tournaments and that's how I got to meet a lot of people throughout the country.  Some were real while some were just tackin' 'em in there."

An Ex-Instructor Describes His Experience with Calasanz


Over the years we would host tournaments at the local YMCA for forms, fighting, weapons and breaking.  Calasanz would perform in the breaking events to demonstrate his breaking ability which was pretty fantastic.  He performed an incredible amount of breaks.  At the time he did Ed Brown's tournament he did the most amount of breaks I have ever seen at any point in time in my life, it must have been some sort of record.  I believe he broke a baseball bat with his shin and generally, anything I heard about Calasanz I usually took as true because I had seen what he would do and could do in real life.

Ed would run these tournaments twice a year which would draw in the top competitors locally, and more than that.  People would come from all over the North East.  It gave the top competitors quality competition in those disciplines of: forms, fighting, breaking and weapons without having to travel into New York City.  I first met Calasanz at one of these local tournaments.

Calasanz, as long as I've known has always been an innovator when it comes to martial arts.  He was always working on developing new programs and classes; always trying to do something to better the martial arts.  I remember he called me over to his school years ago to have a look at a new class he was running.  He wanted to know what I thought about it.  Today they call it "cardio - karate".  He was an innovator of this and he had it going before all those names came out which I thought was really interesting, and again Mr. Calasanz as far as I was concerned was a quality, was a real martial artist.  He was a guy that just kept doing, kept training, kept making his art and is someone I've always respected.  He teaches martial art as something to be real, not just a place to pay money and get a 5th / 7th / 10th degree belt.

One of the hang-ups I had years ago was that you could have a school and if you were a real "traditional" martial arts instructor you weren't going to make any money.  So a lot of those real teachers left the industry.  The reason was that everyone wanted their kids to look like a black belt.  They wanted their kids to be able to throw 55 different leg kicks.  People didn't want to take the time to do what they needed.  They needed forms, meditation, exercises... the real stuff.

Most places having anything to do with martial arts at that time was more for show and tell than anything else because it was such that in those times you could only survive by teaching a lot of kids, and that meant doing a lot of things that weren't so much the traditional way.  There are still a lot of those places around that want to get 1000 students and keep them coming in for prizes [belts].

There were, however, at that time other instructors that really were teaching traditionally.  I call them traditional martial artists, that really stuck to the old ways.  They knew how a martial art was performed, how it was received and how it was really taught.  I always think of "Karate Kid" you know, 'paint the fence'.  I've always respected that Calasanz taught Martial Art as something to be real.  But let's say you went to Japan to learn martial art.  You would sit outside for months to get in and you would just sit outside waiting to get in.

So there was a difference between Martial Artists even before I was there.  What I saw in Calasanz was a REAL martial artist.  He was always real.  He meant to perfect his craft, always trying to progress it.

He was a for real guy is what I am trying to say.  A good guy.  I really like him.  He was one of the guys that had real fighting going on back then.  He was having full contact fights at his school, [similar to MMA today],  "Friday Night Fights" I think they called it.  It wasn't so big because the laws of the times wouldn't allow you to openly do what they were doing; but I remember that at one time he was trying to get that going.  The boxing commissioner was giving him the hardest time because they didn't want it to take away from Boxing's lime-light.


Account by Anonymous Contributor

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Calasanz Comes Clean : Why He Really Stayed Out of Hollywood

Photo courtesy of John Recor

Discourse Taken from an Audio Recording of Calasanz


 "For the first time in my life I will give you an idea why, why in this world or in the world I could still be here." 

Even before my career I was well received and well known.  I was known even as a child for singing and dancing.  It was one thing I did for a little money from one time to another.  I would end up performing lots of places.  When I came to America as a student at University of Bridgeport they immediately asked me to give a demonstration for the Freshman class of several thousand.  The University thereafter allowed me use of their gymnasium to use and to teach in.  They even bought several swords for me including nihontō [and others] to use to perform weapons forms at later demonstrations and events.

So, why...

...as a natural performer being so well known and being a guy like that, doing all this stuff and then being here... why in the world didn't I try to at least travel or at least go by car to California when Ron Howard called me twice to give me an address.  "Just go there."  He told me.  JCVD had someone flown all the way here to give me an audition...


All is based on one thing, that I am terrorized of water, and even more so I am terrorized of a car driving under a tunnel.  I don't even know how they'd get you out if it collapsed.  How do you avoid tunnels?  Airplanes.  I am fine in airplanes when it is over land, but when it gets over water it's just pure terror.  Not scared.  Terror.

High rises... when I get to about 4 or 5 floors up I think "Yes, if I have to jump I can survive." After 6 or 7 now I'm not so sure.

So there are a lot of things that have to be said so that people understand when they find me on google or wherever and see that I am doing what I do still.  They come here and say to me, "Calasanz do you know that you are supposed to be more famous than [____________]?  What the hell!"  And I know why, because I stayed in Connecticut.  Why didn't I get out?  And all the time I just tell them "Scared of airplane."

This is the first time that I go out and say it, that I am scared of the outside because I am scared of getting into trouble.  I have a temper.  Back on the island I was known by people, that you do not insult a lady in front of me because I am going to make you suffer.

So when I think about what I am going to encounter on the outside, am I going to confront a jerk?  Will I have to stay quiet to avoid problems because I do not like to be in trouble?  You see, because it takes me 5 or 6 days to recover.  When I see something like that and I have to stay quiet it eats at me and I have a lot of trouble letting it go and that drains me.  Its debilitating.

As I was filming "Crossing the Line" locally in Norwalk a guy was coming down the street and saw me.  He ran for his life because he knew me and he didn't know what I might do to him.  He went into the first hole he could find, a store or a restaurant or something.  Not because he was scared but out of respect.  He did that out of respect not because he was scared.

So when you go to the reality of it and ask "Why isn't Calasanz out of here?" it is much more than just airplanes.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Calasanz on Pressure, Life and the Afterlife

 Taken from an Audio Recording of Calasanz


Sometimes we can take a lot.  With life comes certain pressures and it is up to us to alleviate and exhaust that pressure in a positive, non-destructive way.  Imagine you having a brother who is depressed and does something wrong to you because he cannot control it.  What can you do?  It's hard to do anything.  He is your brother.  He is depressed.

Depression cannot be controlled.  The doctor controls it through medicine.  If you are depressed and start to take medicine.. good luck guy you've already taken 15 years of your life.  The minute you take the first pill to control craziness or depression or something you have taken 10- 15 years of your life.  But don't forget, a lot of people don't care.  It's like those guys who smoke.  They think, 'If I'm going to live 90 years unhappy because I cannot quit smoking then let me live 70 years happy and smoke."  I have heard those lines hundreds of times.  Those guys that chew tobacco or whatever, they know the consequences but they decide to partake anyways.

If you love this planet and you believe in this planet and you don't believe in another one after you are gone then you are going to take care of yourself; but when you believe there is something else there you will go about living your life.  In many cases leading to your detriment and demise and in as many others leading to your well-being and happiness.

"Oh yes, Calasanz is going to die and now he is going to another planet and then later on he's going to come back being a snake or a squirrel.  Who cares about being a squirrel.  That I am going to come back 20 years after.. this is what a lot of beliefs are.  Oh you come back being an animal.

"Yes, you are right, you are many animals.  Before you are gone worms are going to be eating you.  So now you turn into worms.  That is all the cells in your body turned into worms.. So yeah, but just for a while, I don't even know how long, maybe next you get eaten by birds and now you are bird.

"I don't believe in that.. I stay here in this one as long as I can."


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Non-Conventional Training : The Martial Artist's Way


Why didn't they get hurt?  In the early 80's I had my people training in what was called "non-conventional martial arts".  Today the people training are doing the same thing to get ready for MMA and the UFC.  We've been doing it here since our origination.  That is why challengers in the past were so often leaving disappointed.

I trained my guys in only the most basic fighting techniques and let them master these.  After that the fight mostly becomes natural and reactive.  Most of my students were police officers or street fighters anyways, they didn't need the more advanced stuff, but I would teach these to those dedicated and interested students.  That is why I tell my guys, "Learn body anatomy."  Secondary is the "non-conventional" aspect of training, that being our unique Physical Arts exercises.  These prepare the body to produce more power than any other system at a greater range of motion than any other system.  We taught (and still teach) striking that originates from the core for more solid and more effective strikes than what anyone else was doing at the time and still no one else does.  Getting hit by one of my guys is not the same as getting hit by someone else's.


Now, when I got to this country, my main training was pounding, horses.

I remember one day doing kata taikyoko geden.  We call it "Kata 1" over 100 times at Bridgeport University.  I remember that was when I came to the country, I was at Bridgeport University.  What is repeated in that form over and over?  Horses.  So that is one of the main training techniques to build power, coordination, balance and grounding.

Squatting.  Today they say some of the UFC fighters do over 1000 squats per week as part of their training.  I was doing 1000 squats in one day non-stop.  I would start at 6 in the morning and just do squatting until probably 6 o'clock at night.  Doing nothing but squatting, squatting, squatting.  I built one of the most scary names in the 80's that carries on up to today with these methods.

But we always go one step further.  How did I make squatting MORE effective for my system?  I would put on ankle weights and jump from a rock down onto pavement into a horse or a squatting stance.  It's what people do using tires or platform tables today, but really you can do it with anything.  There was I jumping with weights on each leg up onto a rock and coming down hard on solid cement.  I trained my students to do it with 5 pounds on each leg.  I even did it myself with 60/70 pounds on each leg.  This is something I do not recommend to anyone today. 

 What about the sledge hammer?  I was known for using the sledge hammer.  I would use it in such a unique way, here I was training and did it just to see if I could and it turned out just perfect. [at 2:07]  But again, this is what we are talking about when we say "non-conventional" training.


You see a guy lifting dumbbells and you say, "Wow he is strong and training very well."  You see a guy working with an iron long-staff, do you say the same?  It is just a different training tool.  Non-conventional?  Yes.  Just as effective?  Yes, and maybe some say more so.

 Taken and Developed from an Audio Recording of Calasanz

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Training the Best Defense and Not Getting Hurt

Story and Philosophy Taken and Developed From an Audio Recording of Calasanz

"Again and again I repeat it.. and I say... My people never got hurt"


"If you go to the reality of it, I could see Martial
Arts the first time that I went to a Martial Arts school.  I was 14 and it was not human.
"  The people were there punching each other all over the place. 

"I mean, it was NOT human."  what I witnessed in the Dominican Republic and what was happening down there.  The baseball stadium was full of people training day in and day out wearing the same clothes, sweating.  The smell was almost unbearable.  The  biggest thugs  and the  fighters  all gathered and they were fighting in these stadiums in Santiago.  It was not like it is today guy.  

People were violent, training, not caring who they hurt, punching one another.  "Seeing these guys hurting each other, and hitting each other. And I said, 'You're not gonna hit me.' And at that point I closed the gap.  I raised my front leg; when they throw a punch it bounces off the leg, when they throw a kick I cover and all cover came from something I practiced myself on the farm as a 5/6/7/8/9 years old [kid]."  

Then of course came the counter.

Why didn't my guys get hurt? Because I had that belief since day one. 
"You're not gonna hit me."  and I taught my guys that.  Close the gap.  Head Movement.  And that is part of my belief.  I say, "Don't go to the ground. Learn
body anatomy."


For Example, if you put the idea into your head that you are going to go through the 20 Arms Dummy [... just for a number...] 2000 times; the leg chi sau 5000 times, the traditional dummy 2000 


"Getting on the ground?... don't even think about it [after that]..."  Doing the 20 Arms alone that many times puts striking distance as identical to your entire range of motion.  You can deliver something heavy from anywhere.  But if you are a fighter it is different.  Just understand not everybody can fight no matter what they train.  You have to understand that... NOT EVERYONE CAN FIGHT no matter how many techniques they have.  But if you are a good fighter and you do that (the 2000/5000/2000) you are ready to go at any time.

[I'll never forget when [Roger Mayers] fought a 6th degree Judo Black
Belt that tried to bring him down.  He did something that no one, not even
me, had ever seen before. It was such a reaction...  I'll never forget the fight.  It is on Youtube with Roger Mayers.  When he is on the ground the first thing that you'll hear ...it is a kick landing on the head of that guy that took some... took some time for him to recover from.] 

[And that is all just striking.  
 My guys are taught to strike on the 
 ground. To use the core.  You do not understand that if you have a good core you can strike at 1 inch from the body on the ground as hard as you can standing, it's as simple as that.  What did they call it when Bruce Lee was here? ... they called it "death touch" or whatever, 1 inch punch.  But "death touch" is only applicable if you can use it at any time.]


Inspired by; Lived by Calasanz

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Evaluate Your Training and What to Look For to Find A Quality Instructor

When we talk about someone that is new to martial art and 'shopping around' for a quality instructor or simply looking to avoid an inexperienced one we are talking about someone who has little to no idea of what they are really looking for and often not even conscious of what to avoid.  We can make the analogy of a carpenter who is first trying his hand at musical composition with no concept of rhythm, harmony, tune or time.

What do you look for in an instructor?  Is it size?  Is it ability?  Is it personality?  Do you wonder if they really are knowledgeable?  Are their techniques sporadic or is there a certain degree of control?  Are you actually learning something useful from your instructor? ...CAN you learn from your instructor?

One should remember that even as an eager student attending a martial arts center one must remain a diligent consumer of self-thought and critical thinking.  One must verily be an active participant in his training FROM DAY ONE.  While submission to an instructor is a necessary step in order to create the "teacher <> student / student <> teacher" relationship it is not necessary to remain submissive or blindly faithful should the training bring about a grave disagreement, or culminate into either direct or indirect permanent bodily harm.

Should this occur we are now talking about either an inexperienced instructor or a new student not caring about what they do to another human being.  So be aware, and remember there are always more schools and more instructors out there.

For example, here at Calasanz Physical Arts we have always taught training without brutality.  There is, however, a long history of military and police personnel training here.  Some of them have been kind and dedicated enough to help at our school.  As officers, of course, they rise to the occasion.  They are trained to be like that.  To be a force.  They have to be like that.  They have to have courage.  Two officers, each about 250 / 260 pounds were working out together in the ring one day and tried to perform a suplex without any instruction, training, or practice one of these giant men tried to lift the other above his head and fall backwards.  Calasanz says, "When I captured that from the office I just could not believe it."

They tried it once.

Still to this day we are told by other officers that still they suffer.  Probably that day the officer completely lost his life of fitness.  This sort of technique experimentation and training that was brutally done without thinking took his entire life of fitness away from him.  Probably he was never physical again, but to this day the guy does not complain.

And we have more stories like that.  Another example was with a Kyokushinkai instructor.  Not that he did anything wrong, its just that he trained Kyokushinkai.  Kyokushinkai guys are different.  An instructor would have no qualms about tossing a student down 5 feet onto his head on hard concrete and the student would practically be expected to get up and say "Thank you.  Thanks for that."

But the people, especially new people, are not ready for that.  This instructor lined up several students.  If you don't know, the Kyokushinkai guys during class would yell, "HOLD THE BREATH!"  and then as the students are standing there would deliver hard punches to them just standing there.  So our instructor did that with a line of students.  Two of the students ended up on the floor.  Two wonderful private students, gone...  Never came back.

Let this be a reminder to those just getting in-to martial art or looking to get started.  Keep your head on your shoulders and be sure to really agree with the training that you are signing up for.  And for those already in the mix, be sure you agree with the training that you are currently doing.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Calasanz Origins : Childhood in the DR

Taken From An Interview with Calasanz

For any of those who know Calasanz or have spent time with him personally know how his mind works.  Here he has recounted a bit of his history and childhood growing up for us to delve a bit deeper into his personality and past so we might better understand where he came from and who he is.



"When you go to interview my family in the Dominican Republic, probably someday you will go there.  You will find out when they tell you that since the age of 3 I was a grown up guy.  I didn't dance with the little girls.  No, I danced with the 15, 20, 30 years old girls.  You see this little baby dancing with the grown ups.  ... I remember that. I remember me moving like a little... like I didn't even know where I was.  Everyone there they must have been out of their minds watching me.

How can anyone believe this?  There would be parties and there I was, a kid, and you are gonna have a party with the kids over playing around and then there is Jose.  Calasanz is at the party with the adults.  You don't find him at the party with the kids because he cannot be around kids, he was already beyond.  There he was at the party being around with the adults.

How I can talk to a kid? A kid was too stupid, too dumb.  "Look at that.. you're dumb... what is this you kids are playing with?  A doll? ...No, go take up the machete and work.  Milk the cow, go and harvest a plant, cut the tree.  This was me even at that young age. 

There was me, this little baby planting trees, coconuts... Still I believe my father has coconut trees that I planted there as a child.  "The minute I saw rain coming I would grab my father's tools and go to plant."  My mother couldn't find me around the house. 

So I was grown up as a kid since day one.  I could have done anything, anything at the age of 3, be whatever I wanted, anything I wanted already. 

O my god O my god O my god O my god.  I cannot fucking believe this what I am remembering now.  Make sure that when you get to this point you probably write about it because... you know that when I went to school they sent me to the afternoon.

When I was sent to school my teacher Natalia moved me immediately to the afternoon class.  In my town, Jessica, we had a school and the older kids would wake up to work on the farm and attend school in the afternoon while the younger kids would go in the morning.

I was different, I went directly to the afternoon class for the older kids.   The younger kids were taught during the morning hours and I was probably 4 or 5 years old.  On the farm at that age you get up in the morning to go to school and then after 1, 2 or 3 years you mature a bit and go to the afternoon. Not this guy. This guy was immediately transferred to the afternoon because he could not be with the kids because I could never talk to a kid.

They couldn't put me with the kids because mentally I was an adult already.  You see?




Taken from an Audio Recording of Calasanz

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Calasanz Loses Student : Glenn Van Lesser Scarred for Life

Story Taken and Transcribed from an Audio Recording of Calasanz


Okay, So we already spoke about Roger Mayers and Reggie Blackwell getting 1st place and 2nd place (read more)fighting each other at a 1986 Kyokushinkai tournament in Brooklyn New York.  But now, getting in a little deeper it must be understood that on that day we had about 5 fighters we trained to compete.  And here we arrive at 13 year old Glenn Van Lesser.

Glenn Van Lesser then was just a kid from New Canaan.  Glenn trained with us during those times.  A very tough kid from New Canaan who had never done or had any martial arts training before, I took him as a student and in as little as 3 months I took him aside to tell him, "Listen, if you are tough I will train you to go and fight in Brooklyn New York in this tournament and you are going to win." and I never told him "if they put you with the right guy."

To be clear, at that point I did not know so much about Kyokushinkai.  I personally believe that this was the 1st or 2nd tournament of that kind that we entered.  If this would have happened in '96 / '97 we would have been familiar already with Kyokushinkai and Oyama and more knowing of what to expect.  By that time we would have seen what was going on at these tournaments and it would be a different story altogether.

Moving on, this kid that didn't have any experience with anything, no combat, no nothing, just trained by me, Calasanz, personally fighting under the sole conditions that he was healthy enough to fight and he could move and had the stamina to do it.  But how can I make you understand?  This kid had only 3 months in martial arts, he was at the stage of infancy or less in the world of martial arts.

Just go back now.  If you know anything about Kyokushinkai, just go back and put yourself in the category of Kyokushinkai in the 1980's.  Putting yourself there and being aware of the circumstance you will know that this is an intense, serious and even dangerous situation.  Glenn's opponent, a kid 16 years old with a Black Belt coming from Canada, coming internationally to fight in Brooklyn, New York. Think about that, that this kid Glenn was fighting has already competed and won 2 or 3 times these types of tournaments.

Before the fight started I got into the center of the ring.  The center of the tournament.  Talking, yelling even to all these Japanese to stop the fight.  But by that time they did not care. They terrorized, they were terror, I was angry.  They did not listen.  I said, "How can you do this?  No, you cannot allow this to happen.  You cannot!"  But the problem is that also they pushed me to the limit in front of everyone and said that the kid has to fight.  I was trying to take the kid out of the fight.  I tried to take the kid out of the fight.  I said, "No, you cannot put that kid [Glenn], 3 years younger, only a white belt and with only 3 months training up against someone a Black Belt in Kyokushinkai that has competed for years already and won tournaments."

But do you know what?  In Kyokushinkai, if you were below 18 you would be put to fight anyone, from white belt to black belt. Can you believe that?  If you today would talk about something like that you would probably ask, how many lawsuits did they endure?  You see, in 1980 there were not lawsuits going around like there are today.  When you hear about what happened to this kid, you're gonna see that this guy from New Canaan probably should have sued them for what happened, but no in those times people would just take it; not even worrying about that sort of thing.  Nothing was organized.  If it would happen today you would find attorneys all over to take the case because it was the craziest thing we've ever seen. 

So... the fight started.  I couldn't stop it.  If I would try to stop it there would have been pandemonium at the venue, there would have been a massive fight with them.  What was I to do?  We were in Brooklyn, New York in 1986 surrounded by hundreds of Black Belt Kyokushinkai guys over there... and we were only 5 or 6 people from Connecticut.  ...When you hear about what happened after they started fighting you are going to just listen to what this kid did.  I taught this kid to close the gap and deliver one.  That was what he was taught.  I told him again and again, "No matter what comes, close the gap, deliver one."  We are the only system that teaches anyone to survive or even win and defeat anybody out there.  Just like the history shows, we have hundreds of my guys not being boxers and knocking out guys with two or three golden gloves championships.  A perfect example:  Lou Petrillo.  And there are many others.

When the fight starts Glenn is there and guy comes to kill him.. I mean this is a guy black belt 16 years old and again Glen Van Lesser is 13 years old.  Immediately the guy comes to him.  Glenn closes the gap and delivers a hard punch.  *BOOM* "One Point" says the referee.  (It was a 'hard point' tournament but 'hard point' in Kyokushinkai at that time was no different from a knockdown tournament in Kyokushinkai)  They reset and again the guy comes with kicks and punches all over.  Glenn Van Lesser defends perfectly, closes the gap and *BOOM* another hard punch to the body.  Remember, that in Kyokushinkai competitors can kick to the head but cannot punch to the head.  If the fighters could be punching to the head today the story that we are telling here would be different because Glenn Van Lesser would have defeated the guy.

As the fight progressed Glenn has 2 points and his opponent scores 2 points to tie.  They reset again and as they recovered and got ready and recovered the guy from Canada 16 came straight at him with all of his experience and delivered the hardest kick he had to Glenn's head and it landed solid.  Everybody watching that day thought that my kid, Glenn Van Lesser, was dead.  It was something nobody ever wants to see.  That we have this story today and have to say that these people, the Japanese, got away with that... It's insane. It's abusive.  It's impossible to believe that they could get away with something like that, and they did get away with it.

Today it is 2013, it is August 8th 2013.  And by now I haven't heard from Glenn Van Lesser since about 15 years.  I don't know what happened to Glenn Van Lesser...  All I know is that still he is suffering from that shot.   I am confident that it is something from which Glenn Van Lesser will never totally recover.


Story told by Calasanz
Transcribed and Developed by Alan Wedell


Now this is what I said not getting hurt, when we mention Glenn van lesser that was not something that counts... okay.  For example, do you count that if you are in a shoot-out and you are the best shooter and you are going to have a shoot-out with someone; but the day of the shooting the other shooter has a revolver, and you do not.  Now you get shot.  Do you count that as a loss if you don't die or a win for the other?  No, you didn't have a gun.  And this happened with Glenn Van Lesser.   He did not belong standing in front of a 16 year old, 4 time tournament champion... its like an unknown-boxer that did a little bit of boxing getting in the ring with Mayweather or Oscar De La Hoya or whatever. Its the same thing.. Alright, and that is not getting hurt.