Team Palaestra, the Cayman-based mixed martial arts squad, made good on its promise to better their performance from their Miami debut earlier this year by sending four fighters to Atlanta and returning with first, second and third place finishes. NAGA Fighter (North American Grappling Association) hosted the largest grappling tournament in the South Eastern United States with a record 1,400 competitors.
In his debut competition, Paul Farrow of Phoenix Construction earned 2nd Place in the Super Heavy Weight – Novice Division. Trevor Howard of Maples and Calder fought his way passed a Gracie Ju Jitsu fighter to the Advanced 189.9lbs Championship, bringing home the prestigious Submission Champion Samurai Sword to the Cayman Islands.
In addition to the 189.9lbs Championship, Trevor also competed in the NAGA ABSOLUTE Division, in which all weight limitations are forgone. This division establishes the tournaments Absolute Champion. Trevor battled and defeated some of the top submission fighters from the United States and Brazil, placing 3rd in the Absolute division and placing him effectively above the 1,398 other competitors in the tournament. Ronnie Carroll of St. Ignatius and John Mclean of Ogiers also bravely fought for Team Palaestra in their debut showcase.
The format of the tournament allows for all styles of grappling arts ranging from Judo, Wrestling, Ju Jitsu, Sambo, Jeet Kun Do and many more. Grappling is the world’s oldest known sport being recorded as far back as ancient Egypt and Greece. It is from the Greek origins where Palaestra derives its name, being the ancient gymnasium where Pankration fighters first cross-trained in grappling and striking arts.
Pankration was introduced to the Olympic games in 648 B.C. and comes from the ancient Greek words “pan” and “kratos” (meaning “all-powers”). Although it was not one of the first Olympic Games, it was likely considered the most popular, being arguably the first all-encompassing fighting system in human history. Pankration was disbanded in 393 CE by the Byzantine emperor Theodosius I, however advocates for the sport have formed National Pankration Teams, and it is possible that a modern version of the sport will be re-introduced into the Olympics in the future.
Throughout history, the goal of submission fighting in every form has been to control the opponent. For tens of thousands of years the techniques have remained the same, and control is still understood in four distinct ways: Take-Downs, Pinning, Throwing and Submission. The greatest exhibition of control is demonstrated by forcing your opponent to consciously submit. It is by this standard that NAGA tournaments are instantly won.
Palaestra Strategies has already begun preparations for their next competition in Las Vegas – Nevada, where they plan to bring more than twice as many competitors to what will be NAGA Fighter’s first ever Las Vegas Championships. It is the hope of Team Palaestra, to continue to honorably and respectfully represent the Cayman Islands on the world stage of Mixed Martial Arts, while forging a path towards what will become the future of Martial Arts in the history of the Cayman Islands.