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.”

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