This story is an excerpt from Calasanz Physical Arts: A Lifetime of Lessons and the Philosophy Behind the System. Click here to download the PDF to read the full story.

Posted: August 12, 2005

The Calasanz System includes my unique method of Wing Chun training. While I have used my creativity to expand on the Wing Chun system, I have great respect for the traditional roots of any martial art that I have studied and great reverence for the men I learned from. In my Bio, I talk about my training and that I learned from several instructors after I spent many years with my Goju Ryu master, Tamojoshi Sakamoto. My reason for doing this was to become a well-rounded martial artist. That is why I studied with others at least to the point of brown belt – to get a basic understanding of the differences.  I did however; absorb myself in the study of Wing Chun, learning the entire system from Moyat, a master based in Chinatown, New York City, by taking private lessons with him.

I studied Wing Chun because I wanted to learn a martial art from Southern China and to balance my history of training in “hard” styles with a “soft” one. I was also looking to work internally and expand on the philosophy taught to me by Tamojoshi Sakamoto, my Goju Ryu master. I remember having dinner many times with him in the evening and writing down every thing he said. He taught me two great lessons. One is that the enemy lies within; in the obstacles I placed between success and myself. The second was Narano-kan-nin, Surga-kan-nin. This means that forgiving the unforgivable releases the burden of carrying anger and hatred. Studying a “soft” style helped me integrate these lessons on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

When I left Moyat’s school in 1980, I did so on very good terms. I began teaching Wing Chun with Moyat’s blessing, because I wouldn’t do it any other way. In 1987, Moyat came to my school in Norwalk and conducted a seminar in Wing Chun. He did this out of respect for me, as well as to help my school deal with another Wing Chun school that was creating problems. The instructor at this school gave himself the title of “Grandmaster,” claiming that he too studied under Moyat, which was not the case. Moyat also came to Norwalk out of respect for our student/teacher relationship. When I was training at Moyat’s, he was having some trouble with people coming to the school to challenge his students. The students taking the group classes could not handle the problem because at the time, he reserved certain training methods, like wooden dummy, only for his private students. I had been in so many confrontations like this in the Dominican Republic that this was old news to me. I fought any of the guys who came to his school looking to cause trouble and eventually put a stop to the problem without anyone getting seriously hurt.

My method of Wing Chun training is integrated in The Calasanz System, so my students have a well-rounded approach, not only to Wing Chun, but also to self-defense. This integration was never meant to disrespect or criticize my Wing Chun teacher or any other Wing Chun instructor. It is my way of expanding this traditional style to supplement its softness with the hardness of other styles, to create a well-rounded martial artist. It is an approach that many have benefited from and enjoyed over the years.

"... Tamojoshi Sakamoto, my Goju Ryu master ... taught me two great lessons. One is that the enemy lies within; in the obstacles I placed between success and myself. The second was Narano-kan-nin, Surga-kan-nin. This means that forgiving the unforgivable releases the burden of carrying anger and hatred."