Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Biggest Dummy : The Traditional Dummy Explained

Mook Yan Chong [木人樁]

And so now we come onto the topic of the wooden dummy.  When it comes to this we are obliged to discuss first the elements.  Here in the West we conjure up usually 4 (or 5 for you Captain Planet fans out there) elements.

Earth [ ]

Water [ shuǐ]

Wind - [ or kaze or "air", in
                        the Japanese Tradition]

Fire [ huǒ]

and of course..

(Heart [中心] - for you Captain Planet fans out there)

Many have also heard of the Stoic Greek addition of what is properly called by Plato and Aristotle: Aether  (or / sky / void / in the Japanese Tradition [空])

Fewer yet in the West have heard of the further Eastern
notions of  Wood [ ] and Metal [ jīn].

And now we can get back on topic.  The wooden dummy is a phenomenal tool.
The repeated striking of the Wooden Dummy or Mook Yan Chong [木人樁] readies the body for impact, building the bone through repetition over time.

Hint:  Turn the arm such that contact is made with either the inside or outside narrow blade-y part of the forearm (as opposed to the flat, broad, softer part) and never with the "knuckle" of the wrist.

^^ Highlight for a Hint ^^

We give up these secrets in the spirit of not holding back.  We don't intend on taking anything to the grave because there is no time but the present.  That those who are real and intend to delve this deep also intend to practice critically and with an open mind.

That being said, remember to be conscious fully as you go through your repetitions, remember to be present.

The Zen Master would say the only way to do that is to not be conscious at all, in other words "Just do it".

        .... Try it, you might 
                 like it! ....     

This also happens to be the secret of the true Thai Boxers.  If you ask a guy where he studied Thai boxing.  He says, "America" then he goes to Thailand and loses in seconds.  Why?  Because he takes a kick from a guy who has been conditioning his shin since he was 16.  The shin is so well developed through repeated impact over time and use of special topical medicines and oils they rub on the leg that it's not even a competition!  One of the most famous Australian kickboxers got taught this lesson, losing handily upon his going to Thailand.  We have similar stories here even at Calasanz Physical Art in Norwalk involving one of our students who was also a soccer player.  (What do you think the leg chi sau is for?
[Warning: DO NOT go start wailing on your dummy with your shin!]
  Hint:  Begin with rubbing and repeated light tapping.

 ^^ Highlight for a Hint ^^

If you do Taekwondo, a wonderful MA, you will develop really wonderful and good kicks, but you have not truely trained your leg for impact striking.  (We've all seen those clips. [Warning: Graphic and Cannot Be Unseen!!!])

This is why it is important to be making contact with the Wood [ ] itself and not padding which is (after pushing the analogy to the extreme) hitting a pillow.  It's too soft.  In the long run it will definitely give you something, but think about that guy versus a guy who has been hitting Wood [ ] for 30+ years, if it is indeed Kung Fu (or 'the long run') we are talking about.

Body development is a life-long every day happening whether you want it to or not.  It never stops.  What will you become?  Will you waste away in atrophy or will you rise above?  What will you be capable of down the line?

Happy Practice!

Inspired by Calasanz
Developed by Alan Wedell  




Monday, April 15, 2013

Expressive and Beautiful

Karate, Kung Fu, Mauy Thai Boxing, Recreational Boxing, Chinese Boxing, Wing Chun Kung Fu, Cheng Chuang Long Fist, Ninjutsu, Jujitsu, Fitness, Yoga, Tai Chi et cetera et cetera et cetera...

All of these Martial Arts are expressive and beautiful.  They can be competitive.  They can be non-competitive.  They can be practical in both style and reality.  All are viable and all have their own applications, advantages and pitfalls.

So many students and so many regular people believe that the purpose of the Martial Arts is based on defending yourself against someone trying to harm you.  Yes, that is the purpose at the root of it, but there is much more than just that taking hold, breaking ground, budding and growing into something much more massive.  It is about being successful.  It is about improving your personality and learning to walk with pride and confidence.  The beauty of Kung Fu and the meaning of it is much more than simple fighting techniques.  It is about building Martial Arts around your life, or more accurately, your life around Martial Arts.

The techniques you learn and training you do at your place of practice is only the tip of the iceberg.  The techniques and the time spent are meant to train you to protect yourself, yes, but as you learn, that which you learn becomes a part of you that you will carry with you wherever you may go for the rest of your life.  You are given great boons to utilize as you see fit in any situation, to build yourself, to be yourself, to become who you are and to help others along the way.

Happy Practice!

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Written by Calasanz
Edited by Alan Wedell

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

In Case You Were Wondering

When people come in to Calasanz Physical Arts for the first time they are never sure what to expect after stepping through the door.  We are not your normal every-day run-o-the-mill exercise facility like planet fitness or L.A. Boxing.

We are not here to count your reps as you do them or yell at you to "push it" if you are not actually working out.  We do things a bit differently here and many people are shocked or unprepared for our approach to training.  Here we teach you how to learn, how to think for yourself.  It is relatable to that old saying that 'You can lead a horse to water...'

Our programs are unique for every individual based on ability and personal interest but maintain a strong common thread in Physical Art and Martial Art.  The best way to learn at Calasanz is to come for a stint of time, be that an intensive week long program, a slower 3-month approach or simply a few lessons.  After each and every collaboration you will always leave with something new be that a new exercise, more movements in a form, corrections, or a new perspective.

People come here to take something home with them, and that is our promise and our duty to our respected students.


At the Martial Monasteries in China individual instruction is minimal.  The monks are given an exercise or something to practice and after the lesson are expected to practice it and perfect it on their own.  Upon the approval of their teachers and masters they are given the next lesson.

This is not far from how we operate here.  You will learn progressively as you prove yourself a ready and apt student as well as at the pace your ability and learning capabilities allow.  We do not sugar coat.  The purpose is to make sure of a few things, one that we avoid injury of our treasured students.  And two, because we want to teach it right.

While we may offend the egos of those with one's inflated, believe, it is for the best.  For example, even the most eager infant must first learn how to balance standing before he can learn to walk.

Come to Calasanz, Take Something Home With You.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Flashy Wing Chun

This post is going to get a little personal.  I'll be using 'I' a lot, I hope that doesn't bother you, if it does please write me about it or comment.

These days I see a lot of Wing Chun videos online, many show the techniques being performed very quickly.  Immediately one thinks, "Wow, they are so good, look at how fast they are."  But in my experience as I watch guys go through the dummy or go through a form, I'm not impressed by their speed in the same way I'm not impressed by videos of a quick handed "Master" dominating a willing / obedient actor or student with a flurry of blows. 

While I respect those quick-handed Masters I find that many of them subconsciously perform the techniques very quickly in order to hide their imperfection, to prevent observers to see how sloppy their technique really is.  It is the guy who is going through very slowly with synchronization, focus, control and precision that I want to learn from.  This is the guy who is getting down to the nitty gritty, the real stuff.  He is practicing the micro to a 'T' to develop the macro into perfection.  He's really getting down to into it and not just trying to look cool, besides, its the precision and definition that makes it look cool anyways.

Those videos of Wing Chun guys throwing chain punches and everything is very flashy and fun.  Very appealing to the eye.  But, when we get down to it Wing Chun is about finishing quickly, as quickly as possible in fact.  That's part of what makes the Art so dangerous, it is SHARP and DIRECT.  I think this guy hits it on the head in this short explanation especially emphasizing that every fight is different and that being versitile and situationally aware is better than knowing 1000 techniques.  (thanks Charlie Wildish, GREAT Vid.)  Here at Calasanz our videos are not so well liked or understood.  We want to show everything.  So we make sure to take our time because as teachers who want to teach it right we want you to take your time watching it to capture and understand completely.  If you are watching our videos and getting bored, its okay, you are out for entertainment, our purpose is education so we do our best to make sure you can learn something from watching any of our videos

The simplicity of Wing Chun means that it doesn't have to be made complicated.  Regardless of velocity the motion should in essence come out and develop identically when practiced slow or fast, and logically, naturally, it is easier to capture a necessary correction or focus on precision when performing the techniques slowly with purpose, focus and conscious awareness of the entirety of the motion.  When performed fast you obviously have a smaller time window to feel or see a flaw to be corrected not to mention those watching cannot capture the technique properly.  And as we said, we understand that and we acknowledge OTHER'S understanding of that and APPLAUD those who also strive to teach it well and teach it right.  We can agree that it's hard to get beginners to understand this concept, often they want to run before they can even stand.  Remember to take it slow and get it right, then pursue rythm and speed.

Inspired by Calasanz
Written by Alan Wedell

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

10 Respects at Calasanz Physical Arts and Dojo

1 - Proper Attitude - A DOJO is NOT a gym, nor are the Martial
Arts simply exercise.  Without "Proper Attitude" study of the
Martial Arts can be potentially very dangerous, the least of
which is serious injury to yourself and others.

2 - Respect - Respect those things that we respect and treat them
with great care and do not take them for granted.  Respect for
teachers, the school, its equipment and other students should
be self evident.

 3 - Bow when entering or leaving the school
    when approached by more advanced belts
     when beginning or ending an exercise with another student
      when Calasanz or other senior instructor approaches or    
         departs during training

4 - Display your PATCH on your SHIRT or PANTS while you are in
           the school.  When testing under traditional karate
             or kung-fu a proper uniform is required

5 - Recognize and respect the space of those who are engaged in a 
      class or workout and do not interfere or interrupt.

6 - Competition, Performance, and Sparring are not mandatory here
  at Calasanz Physical Art, but we encourage those who are interested
   in these pursuits to participate and inquire within.

7 - In order to work out with ANKLE WEIGHTS you must first receive instruction
   on how to use them.  Wearing them too often is not advisable
      and may lead to injury.

8 - Belts must be worn at all times with a GI or when      
participating in formal group classes.

9 - Testing - Tests are carried out every SIX MONTHS, we let
students know 2 months in advance in order to start training for a
test which will be video taped.

10 - Hours - The CALASANZ School is open from 4am to 11pm.  Depending on the
     program you sign up for you will know the hours available and
      not available to you.

Bonus: Other Schools - The 5 Cards Program will allow you into any
                  other school open under the CALASANZ System.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Calasanz Short

All on Calasanz is: At the beginning of this video you will see Calasanz with 50 pounds tool posing on one of his main exercises for Grounding (Don't go to the ground but if I do I will fight better than standing).

Why Is That Calasanz? 

Okay, because of the fact of creating one of the strongest Grounded horse stances ever, you can call it a horse stance or Call it a supper strong natural, relaxed squat, which just by creating a super strong general over all powerful stance or squat, you can over power any opponent, all done by Calasanz Martinez on Calasanz is: