Purple Dragon Karate Club, Cayman’s longest established club, had their mini-slam competition at St Ignatius School hall on Saturday. It was preparation for their grand slam tournament in George Town in a few months’ time.
The grand slam is a big international tournament that Purple Dragon branches from all around the world as well as other organizations, will compete in on 5 July.
They had over 100 people from tiny kids to seasoned exponents competing in forms – which is like a ceremonial dance – sparring, self-defense, weapons and team sparring. The last grand slam Purple Dragon went to was in Vancouver with over 300 competitors. Purple Dragon expects around 400 at the Westin Casuarina Resort.
‘Sensei’ Geddes Hislop works at the Purple Dragon part-time and runs the club with full-timer ‘Sensei’ Floyd Baptiste.
‘Professor’ Don Jacobs is the Trinidad based 53-year-old martial arts expert who started the Purple Dragon clubs with his Don-Jitsu-Ryu system in the Seventies. He will be the guest of honour and adjudicate.
Hislop has excellent sporting pedigree as he is a cousin of Shaka Hislop, the former Trinidad keeper. ‘Cayman, of course, we have to defend our house,’ Hislop said. ‘We’re having a series of mini tournaments to get these kids ready for the competition. When we announced that the next slam was in Cayman a lot of people jumped at it. There’s even a charter coming from the Caribbean that will be stopping from island to island to pick people up.’
Co-ordinating all these visitors and various aspects of competition is going to be a tough task for the two instructors. ‘Sensei Floyd and I will not be competing. We’re the hosts and be judging, organizing and so on so our students will be representing us.
‘This will be very good for the island because I know there hasn’t been a sport karate tournament here since the Nineties. This will be a big boost because they’ve seen the mixed martial arts caged fighting. This one is a lot more fun and competitive and more safety involved. And, of course, all different age groups can take part. The little six-year-olds right up to the over 35s.
‘Apart from Professor Jacobs, we’re hoping to get some star karate names from Boston and New York. And I know that in the North American karate circuit, some of the top fighters out of California and the New England area, these people know of Professor Jacobs and hopefully we can attract a couple of those.
We hope this will boost the club’s subscription and raise the profile of the sport of karate generally. Actually, not just the Purple Dragon but other karate clubs in Cayman, they’ve been doing very well overseas. So Cayman is emerging as one of the major sport karate venues.’