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 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.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Calasanz Wins Kyokoshinkai Tournament : Loses Student


 What else could you want to know about us?

Mas Oyama
During the early 80's there was a wave of influence from Japanese Martial Artists including the well-known, and late, Mas Oyama (1923-1994) In America too there was a fad, cult following of this traditional style going on. Up to today Mas Oyama is credited with the creation and introduction of Kyokushinkai to the world and to the realm of Martial Arts. Our school (Calasanz Physical Arts) in the 80's, in the hay-day of Kyokushinkai karate, defeated the top international kyokoshinkai competitors... that will tell you what Calasnaz did using non-conventional and non-brutal training that he has practiced, taught and developed since the early 80's. What's more is that today, as Calasanz still lives, his system continues to evolve as a way of martial arts, self-defense, fitness and beauty.

Calasanz' students Roger Mayers (who is now a state trooper) and Reggie Blackwell ended up fighting each other for 1st place in a Mas Oyama Kyokushinkai tournament.  It took place in Brooklyn New York, 1986. 

If you go back and ask, "What was the most brutal martial arts with the best killers in the world in the 20th century within the martial discipline of karate?"  In order to answer you must then talk about Mas Oyama's Kyokushinkai.  These people did not have so many blocks, they did not train to block so they just learned the traditional blocks.  But they trained not to be human.  These people would spend in training half-hour to fourty-five minutes just punching each other in the chest with punches that were capable of killing someone instantly.  And these people would just take it.  Yes, this made them tough, but what happens to them as they lose their shape and as time passes is a different story.  A story that has to be understood and has to be said. 

When you physically prepare yourself like a body builder or a football player then yes, you are in great shape.  But when you stop training, when you stop playing football the whole picture changes.  The only thing that stays with you is the spiritual part of it, the mental and spiritual part of it.  The physical, you just lose it.  That is what happened over time to those practitioners of Kyokushinkai from the 80's until about 2000.

From the 80's until the 90's was probably the best decade of Kyokushinkai and when it had its largest following because during those times Mas Oyama opened a lot of schools in the United States.  Hundreds of them.  One or two years later most of them were closed because nobody could take the training, especially for extended periods of time.  And that is going to tell you what the Calasanz System was in the 80's when these two guys Roger and Reggie went to and won the Kyokushinkai tournament in Brooklyn.

In those times you could not distinguish a knock down tournament from a hard point tournament within Kyokushinkai.  Competitors for both trained the same.  And there were Calasanz' guys, delivering kicks and punches and winning.  One of the things that helped them the most was what we call the "system kick" or "system side kick".  Kyokushinkai did not have blocks for a fast strong side kick.  Again, we call it the "system kick".  And it was delivered there many times by Roger Mayers and Reggie Blackwell.

So they went, and one got first place while the other got second place.  That was during the 1984/5/6 era.  This particular example happened in 1986.  That was one of the toughest days that I ever could mention here in respect to Kyokushinkai and I'll explain why on the topic of another student of mine, Glenn Van Lesser (read more).


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Commit Yourself To REAL Learning and REAL Fitness

Calasanz Explains His Approach to Training : Commitment








"The reason that I work through commitment is that I don't like to hold anything back.  I am not Chinese or Japanese.  I am not Asian.  I like to give it to you to take it home with you.  I like to give it to you without holding back. That is one of the reasons why I teach anyone.

"Look, if you are going to spend 12 or 15 thousand dollars a year training here privately I am going to make sure that you learn.  But besides that, anyone can train with me for less; it's all based on what they get, how they get it and how much they get in a way that they can do it themselves.

"That is the way I work.  By commitment.  If you commit to a 1 year program under me I will  train you.  If you are committed I will give everything to you, I don't care anymore.  But remember, I train you not just by leading you, not just by sitting down and leading you.  We can do it that way if you like.  I can give you a personal trainer for half an hour once a week.  I can give you that even for one hour.  The person will lead you and you will get a good workout, and get fit.  But me, I don't work like that, I don't lead anyone because then I am not really teaching them.  But this is the American way... and this is what is called private training.  Lots of people spend tons of money every year because they don't want to think.  They just want to be led.  Which is good, but that does not mean that tomorrow if they stopped going to their trainer that they know anything.  By doing it that way they don't learn or know how to be responsible and do it themselves.  And that is not the Ancient or Asian or Oriental way.

"So I work under commitment.  You see with a commitment I can teach anyone.  For example, if I give someone 3 techniques per month for one year at the end of the year they will have 36 techniques.  Do you know how much 36 techniques is if you're doing it for one year on the 20 arm wooden dummy or the traditional wooden dummy?  What else do you need?  By that time you have accomplished everything you need to fight.  Again, it is not how many forms or katas or movements you learn, it is how often you are active and continue to do those movements.

"Another example : hitting the dummy creates endurance.  You can have that endurance with only 5 or 6 movements, which was what I did or what I was doing before I even knew that Wing Chun existed.  I was known as the guy being all over the place, hitting the tree.  I was known even on the farm and most of the kids knew me and saw me getting ready for a fight just hitting a tree or a pole.  I didn't know that I was doing Wing Chun.  There is a secret over there, that if people discover that 'secret' the game is up.

"That is one of the reasons that when I was training in New York City with Moyat... a story I repeat over and over...  I would go over there and I would over power everybody.  I had more endurance than anyone over there from my time hitting and hitting.  The other students had all the techniques and they would touch me all over the place using Wing Chun, but they had no power, no endurance.  Moyat wouldn't allow them even to see the dummy; and there is no Wing Chun without the dummy.  Ip man knew only 3 sections of the dummy and a little bit of Siu Lim Tau when he became the champion in Hong Kong.  Because he trained by repeating sections 1, 2 and 3 on the dummy over and over and over for hours and hours and hours.

"One thing that I say is that I don't take ANYTHING to the grave.  I leave it here because I know what I have and I know what I could have been by now if I had been organized.  You see, there are thousands of people who are good.  That doesn't mean that just 1 person is good "Oh yeah, Calasanz is good. No body else, everybody else is bad." No, far from it.  There are millions of good talented people around.  Millions of champions.  You know?  So, commitment is my way.  I like to get people committed so they can learn and develop.  That they can really get something out of their time here.  I hope that by the time that I get a little older that I can have that established like it used to be.

"I used to have a minimum of 3 years commitment to the school.  This gave me the time to really teach someone my martial arts.  You know, it used to be very expensive, but only very expensive for those that could pay.  For those who could not pay they would compensate by going and promoting the name by fighting and competing; so they almost got it for free.  That was how I created one of the most scary and reputable names in the mid 80's, by training those who could use it and go to represent me.  And they did.  And they won.  The guy who pays doesn't want to represent anyone.  He just wants to learn and to be in shape.  So... that is why I prefer to train by commitment.

"I will work with anyone and they don't have to spend ludicrous amounts of money.  But, if they want me to lead them then we are back to the old way.  Up until about 2008 I trained people and it was very expensive.  But now I've reworked the prices and the programs and we are back... if you train 1 on 1 at the upper level you are going to pay good money per hour.  That is the rules, that is just simple.  How many people are out there as personal trainers and say, "Oh I charge $250 per hour to sit down and tell a person, 'Lift.  Do curls.  Go use that machine.'" ... Great... Great learning... $250 an hour.  There are a lot of people who still do that, and there are even more people that still pay for it.

"What I give people when they train with me for one hour, it doesn't even compare.  I remember that when someone came in who I wanted to sign as a 1 on 1 student all I had to do was tell them, 'Today I'm going to give you 1 hour at the value of $380; then you tell me at the end if you want to do a private program or not.  Just talk to me after.'  Probably 90% of the people that I have done that with end up signing and making the commitment in order to get it at half or one third the price.

"But... what will you get in those hours?  You are taught to learn, to be coordinated.  Just now I am training a girl.  She has it all.  What I did for that girl in 2 weeks is the equivalent of what any other school would give her over 2 years.  A guy who has trained with me a long time came in while I was mid-session with her and he didn't know how long she has been training here.  I asked him, "Hey [N].  How long do you think she has been training here?" As she was training, kicking and punching in front of him.  He said, "5 years?  4 years?" and I said, "No, 2 weeks."  I did that for her.  I had plans for her to do a solo commercial for us.  Just her.  It was going to be played on T.V.  But then... Good news Bad news.  After doing those two weeks of hard work with her she found out that her college owns her.  She has a scholarship through her college rowing team and they own her.  So unfortunately she cannot do that for me.

"So that is the story of commitment.  I can do anything.  I can do anything in the martial art.  I can take you further than ever and further than anyone else.  Another example, Joe a young student here, his father signed him up for 3 months.  I said, "Give me a year membership and I will train your kid privately.  Otherwise he can come at 7 o'clock at night for the group classes."  He replied, "No, no, no Calasanz I will sign him up for the year."  and then he got trained by me.  So, that is what is going on.  Understand.  Commitment.  You want to see a change in your kid?  You want to see a change in yourself and you don't want to complain that you spend 7, 8, 10, 15, 20 thousand dollars?  Commit yourself to a period of time that I can have to work with you and you will see that change.  In that time you will understand what real fitness training, real martial art and real learning is."


Calasanz Physical Arts                               
Norwalk, CT 06851
507 Westport Avenue
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Taken from an Audio Recording of Calasanz
Transcribed and Developed by Alan Wedell