Sunday, January 27, 2013


Obsession is something that affects everyone in its own way.  Some people become obsessed with gambling, others with sports, others with "what-have-you".  Calasanz' obsession is Martial Art.  His obsession began when he was still a boy on a farm in the Dominican Republic.  His father took him to see the wildly famous Bruce Lee film, "Enter the Dragon".  From that moment on he knew his life's purpose and he began dreaming of going to America to become a Bruce Lee, to become the world's most well balanced martial artist.

His dream would begin to actualize in the early 1980's when he finally made it to this country, the United States of America.  Now he had some work to do.  While he will tell you that he was born with the gift of knowing martial art and especially understanding Wing Chun he also knew that in order to become well balanced he would have to learn a variety of styles and given its 'pot-luck' nature there was no better place to do that than in America.  He took a very logical approach.  He would pick some novel systems to learn to achieve his ends, study them and practice them down to their root.

While we examine and get into his course of study its important to know that his study of each particular style is not cut and dry.  Language will, unfortunately, limit the way in which I can convey, and the ways in which you can comprehend his progression of training but it is important to remember he as a living human was and is doing so much more than what can be exposed here through prose.  That is to say that as the topic changes schools or instructors, remember that his study and practice of previous styles or systems did not end.  In fact even today he continues to develop his skill of styles previously studied while adding the knowledge and training of newly learned systems, never throwing away what was obtained in years passed.  Still to this day he continues to develop, involve and evolve aspects of each of the styles he has trained within his system because as any real martial artist will tell you, you are never done developing.

He began his training in the Dominican Republic at a myriad of schools training disciplines including Karate and Taekwondo.  The first school he attended within the U.S., however, was under Moyat in New York City to improve and perfect his Wing Chun.  After one year with Moyat in Chinatown he moved on.  Years later Moyat would come to Calasanz' dojo for a seminar to promote Calasanz and instruct some of his more advanced students.

On his endeavor to become the most well balanced martial artist in the world he undertook the study of Cheng Chuang (translates to "Long Fist").  He studied this system with Angel Rodriguez under a Chinese master with only one English name, Henry, in New York City for 6 years, all the while improving his Wing Chun and developing aspects of body control through dance classes and gymnastics.  Cheng Chuang remains a large influence on his art and teaching style emphasizing extension and flexibility for greater range and a more capable body.

Each day he trained and learned he became aware that he could not satisfy his obsession.  He grew hungrier and hungrier.  His appetite for martial arts would grow faster than he could take it in. 

As he kept learning, practicing, and developing he would augment his previous Hapkido and Taekwondo training in the Dominican Republic with lessons under Master Lee in Darien, Connecticut. 

He would also attend Gleason's Gym in New York City regularly to soak in what he could of boxing.  I say soak in because at Gleason's Gym he could not step into the ring.  He was already making videos and doing the incredible and those who attended Gleason's thought he was crazy.  They would not even put him to spar.

As time passed he integrated all of these styles, taking Bruce Lee's ancient aphorism to heart, to take what is useful and disregard what is useless.  And like Bruce Lee, Calasanz understood the importance of dance.  He took up dance classes in several different styles including ballet, jazz, tap, modeling jazz and modeling ballet.  And, while dancing is not necessarily martial art, martial art is most definitely dancing.  Dancing, as another practice of bodily control and presentation, gave Calasanz another perspective and allowed him to grow as a martial artist in ways strictly martial systems had not.  This opened the mind and gave him another leg to stand on so to speak to be more well-balanced and more well-rounded as a martial artist.

His obsession had led him deep within the martial arts world and even outside of it altogether.  He would learn a lot by taking a step outside that realm and looking in through a different lens.  As he continued training his learned martial systems he would again branch out, this time into the world of gymnastics.  He would train under Darko, a Russian instructor in Westport at the time.  Darko is noted as being baffled at Calasanz' ability and workout routines.

The people surrounding and training Calasanz were more often than not confused by him.  They could not comprehend what he was doing, and more, how he was doing it.  His obsession drove him to extremes so far from so-called "normal" that many, including those at Gleason's Gym, dismissed him as crazy.  But this is exactly what happens to someone with an obsession so advanced and a desire so deep.  In anything he trained he would always want to know the meaning of the technique or movement.  He wouldn't stop.  For those on the outside looking in it is difficult to understand a person obsessed and their actions because they simply do not share the same motivations and desires.  Simply, they do not have the same obsession.

Surrendering to an obsession and to then pursue it with such vigor and passion does not come without a price.  As Calasanz trained doing rigorous activity for unhealthy and extended periods of time, his body paid a price.  He had successfully destroyed the joints in his body through over-training.  His obsession had become a destructive force and over time a lesson would be learned.  Even with the world's best body development system in his hands, the pitfall of excess showed its face. 

He would be the first to learn the perils of pushing one's self within his system while in the end it is better that it happened this way; that the creator should carry the burden of pushing his system too far. 

It is, however, exactly that, his obsession, and his relentless feeding of that obsession which spring-boarded Calasanz as a martial artist above and beyond all those around him including his instructors.  His inability to be satisfied, his unrelenting hunger to be the best, most well balanced martial artist in the world, and his determination and strength of will to do what was necessary to achieve that goal has led him in this lifetime to the fulfillment of that self same goal. 

This is Calasanz, the Most Well Balanced Martial Artist in the World

Inspired by Calasanz
Written by Alan Wedell

Monday, January 14, 2013

Challengers Welcome Part 2

Calasanz was and continues to be the biggest name in martial arts in the surrounding area of Norwalk Connecticut, not to mention his name's international renown. People after seeing his skill would often talk, “Wow, he's even better than Bruce Lee!” With a reputation such as that it was repeatedly required of Calasanz to uphold such a high acclaim. In fact, until recently there was always a sign on the door welcoming challengers to walk in.

Often times the meanest, 'baddest' punks in town would walk in with inflated egos and idealistic conceptions of themselves and of how their one punch would end the fight in seconds, only to find themselves realistically confined to roles reversed. Other times more skilled and practiced martial artists with a bone to pick would enter through the doors with their inflated egos and idealistic conceptions of themselves and of how their superior technique would end the fight in seconds, again, only to find themselves realistically confined to roles reversed. We are reminded especially of the story depicting Calasanz' fight against Kenny at George's Gym.

Today however we have unearthed, from the piles and piles of tapes, a video never seen before of footage taken when an entire school came to make good on the sign's promise. We look now at Roger Mayers, one of Calasanz most honest, loyal and recognized students.

In his time he was one of the best and fastest point fighters. Roger is a guy with great defense, great reflexes, and a great heart. He went up against people nobody wanted to fight, like Raul Ortiz, and he won tournaments so large he would go home with trophies as tall as 6 feet. His nickname, “Flash” fully characterizes the reaction people had when watching him fight. To see him moving around in a fight is like watching a Bruce Lee, and everyone who trained with him knew that if you touched him he would make you pay for it. He moved so fast people could barely see him attack. One of Roger's best moments was when he competed in a kyokushinkai tournament and ended up taking first place, his fellow student is in the background here and took 2nd place.

In these videos Roger “Flash” Mayers fights Dennis White, click here for a short anecdote about Dennis's personal encounter with Calasanz prior to this day, and a man named Michael.

Roger v. Dennis White:

As you watch the fights you will notice Roger landing many kicks to the hips of his opponents. After the rounds of fighting and sparring the schools meant to go out to lunch but the opponents were having trouble walking from taking these blows to the hips and unfortunately could not join us for the meal. But after all was said and done their aim of usurping Calasanz position and proving him a fraud was once again denied despite their best efforts.

Roger v. Michael - Round 1:

Roger v. Michael - Round 2:

Roger v. Michael - Round 3:

The sign has since weathered and was taken down after the school remained unopposed for such an extended spell. But the stories of those who came to challenge still remain within our walls and are testament to the resilience and truth about Calasanz and his system.

All the STRIKES!

Anecdote on Calasanz and Dennis White

This footage is taken of the man Dennis White and Calasanz. The footage takes place after students from Calasanz School and students from another martial arts center went head to head.  Calasanz shown here with Dennis is trying to get a small shot of footage with Dennis so it can be used in a commercial. Dennis as you can see is seemingly scared to throw a real kick and towards the end quits from being toe to toe with Calasanz, even just for show.

So the story goes that about 6 years before this day Dennis as an accomplished martial artist and respected fighter had come to Calasanz for a fight and stepped into the ring with Calasanz. After a short time Dennis went for a leg sweep nearly felling Calasanz. Calasanz regained his footing and lost it.  He approached Dennis in passionate fury and contacted Dennis with several strikes but without fully connecting them through his opponent so as not to hurt him.  All Dennis could do was utter the words, “Please don't kill me.”

This is why Dennis seems apprehensive when working with Calasanz.

To see more footage of that day check here!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Challengers Welcome - Part 1

Calasanz Physical Arts and Martial Arts Center in Norwalk has been teaching and training some of the best Martial Artists in the world since the 1970's.

People come to challenge the master when they cannot even defeat his students.  The clock strikes high noon while the best fighters in the area walk through the door unannounced.

Here is the story behind Darrel Dash and Dennis White.

Daryl Dash, in the white shirt with flat-top, was the first Black Belt under Calasanz.  He was known at this time for having the fastest head movement and his devastating countering ability, known as the master of counter.  Calasanz himself admits that if he was not 100% when working and moving around with Daryl he would have been in trouble.

Dennis White, in the full gi and beard, had an extensive Martial Arts background fighting people in schools all around the country.  For example, he had a 7th degree black belt in Judo but that is really only scratching the surface of his training.  This day he came with his Master and fellow students to the Calasanz center unannounced.

This group, from Stamford, made their living and their name by going to other schools, challenging them and converting students after showcasing their skills.  They were great fighters to be able to do that.  On this day at the Calasanz center they would be disappointed after their efforts.

Calasanz, without fore-warning, of their arrival had only his students in attendance to enter the fray while most of his best students were not present at the time.  Still, having faith in his system and his students he put them to fight.

Enjoy the fight, comment and like!