Cayman’s Purple Dragon Martial Arts School came home victorious from another tournament in America recently but one winner felt compelled to give his top trophy away.
Karate instructor Euclides ‘Beco’ Pitta was part of the Purple Dragon team at the US Open World Martial Arts Championships in Florida.
The Purple Dragon school in Lawrence Boulevard, off Seven Mile Beach was started by Trinidad Sensei Geddes Hislop in the Nineties and is now well established.
Hislop was a student in his Trinidad homeland of the style’s founder Professor Don Jacob, who stylised the Don-Jitsu-Ryu system.
Last summer’s Slam tournament organised by Purple Dragon at the Westin Hotel, attracted competitors from all over the world and Beco took part.
The Purple Dragon’s full-time instructor in Cayman is Sensei Floyd Baptiste who is assisted by his wife Karen and Dean Lynee.
For nearly a year now Beco has been teaching at the Triple C School in George Town, the first Purple Dragon class in any school on the island.
Beco donated the trophy to the school because he appreciates how helpful the staff and pupils have been to make his classes successful.
He got first place in sparring against competitors from 40 countries who fought in different categories for two days. There was competition in weapons fighting and kata.
It was Beco’s third time at the US Open which is so respected that ESPN broadcast the tournament’s highlights last Sunday. Beco was second the first time he competed and won it last year.
He said: ‘I think I’m almost ready to retire now! I’m going to be 50 next year so don’t know if I’ll be fighting anymore.’
Quite an impressive achievement for someone who has only been practicing karate for six years.
More coaching beckons. ‘The Purple Dragon is doing great and we’re getting tremendous support from Triple C,’ Beco said.
Classes are $90 a month for kids and $100 for adults but he gives concessions where appropriate.
‘We’re not in the business of teaching violence, it’s more about discipline for the children. We help the parents to teach them at home. It’s a great system we teach.
‘We do give some scholarships to children that need it because their parents don’t earn much and I even buy them their gis (karate suits). They go through the same process as the others, it’s free.
‘We also give discounts to families because it’s a sport that everyone can join in. My wife is a brown belt, my son is a brown belt and even my daughter who is two is already doing it.
‘It really is a great family sport. Other modalities of sport like football you might get injured but in karate you rarely get injured. It is very safe.
‘In six years I have never seen anybody get seriously hurt. It is very disciplined and well controlled. We have helmets and hand gears for safety. Our main thing is not fighting, it’s to learn to protect yourself.
‘We’re thinking about expanding it to North Side, Bodden Town, East End and West Bay. We want everybody to do it, like in Trinidad where it’s in the schools.
‘Triple C is the first school to have it. The education minister in Trinidad is a Purple Dragon black belt. I’ve seen with my own eyes the discipline of the children. I think we should put it in the schools here.
‘Purple Dragon is in 25 countries worldwide and Professor Jacob travels around half the year grading. He never sends somebody on his behalf, he always goes to ensure that the system is working and he is the only one grading the people.’
The Triple C mixed class of adults and kids is about 25 and at least 10 children are pupils at the school. Classes have a community feel because they are open to the general public. Although the school is closed, the karate classes are still open throughout the summer.
That is thanks to the generosity of principal Tony Husemann who is appreciative of Beco’s contribution to the school’s sporting spectrum.
‘This is a wonderful honour for the school and for the karate programme as well,’ Husemann said.
‘We’re really enjoying them being here and a lot of our kids are participating.
‘They really enjoy it and you can see the improvement in their schoolwork as a result because they have more discipline and more personal drive to do something.’
- Classes are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5.30-6.30pm. Children $90 per month, adults $100. For more information, contact Beco on 938-8061 or email: [email protected]