Purple Dragons were fired up

The Cayman Islands Purple Dragon
karate squad came home with a total of 25 medals at the recent Purple Dragon
World Karate Championships in Trinidad. The Cayman team nabbed nine gold, seven
silver and nine bronze and claimed third place in the extremely competitive
team demonstration.

After the two-day competition
in  Port of Spain, six members of the
23-member team were inducted into the Second Caribbean Martial Arts Hall of
Fame: Senseis Floyd and Karen Baptiste, Sensei Geddes Hislop, instructors
Euclides Pitta and Cindy Moore and junior instructor Benji Rivers.

The Cayman Islands team – sponsored
by Mongoose Global Intelligence, Cayman National, Dart Cayman Islands, Appleby,
Tower Marketing and Conyers Dill and Pearman – faced competitors from around
the world in divisions that included creative and traditional forms, point
fighting and continuous fighting and self-defence. All were in a range of categories
for beginners, intermediate and black belt levels.

“It was a very strong performance
and we are tremendously proud of this team,” said Sensei Floyd Baptiste. “Every
member worked hard and delivered their very best.”

The competition took place on the
40th anniversary of the Purple Dragon School of Martial Arts, the longest
established martial arts school in the Caribbean.

The Cayman team, both male and
female, ranged in age from five to 50. Gold-medal winners comprised Sensei
Karen Baptiste and instructor Pitta for traditional weapons. Pitta also won for
traditional forms. Jared Stewart, Susan Eden and instructor Cindy Moore won for
continuous sparring, Zoe Conolly Basdeo for creative forms and both Floyd
Baptiste and Felicia Dunbar for creative forms.

Silver was won by Luke Byles and
Susan Eden for point sparring, Bobby Schoenberg and Mario Dadal for continuous
sparring, Alex McDoom for traditional weapons and both Marilyn Conolly and
Bobby Schoenberg for creative forms.

Bronze medals were taken by both
Sensei Floyd and Sensei Karen Baptiste and Felicia Dunbar for point sparring,
Susan Eden, Mario Dadal and Jamal Paddyfoot for creative forms, Joseph Williams
for continuous sparring and Bobby Schoenberg for creative weapons.

Sensei Geddes Hislop was also
slated to compete but was unable to do so as he was in high demand as an
experienced judge for the large competitor divisions during the tournament.
Geddes was also honoured by being asked to judge at the highest level in the
Night of Champions along with a distinguished panel of international judges.

“We would like to thank our
sponsors, our members and the people of the Cayman Islands for their unflagging
enthusiasm and support,” said Sensei Geddes. “It was a tremendous effort by
everyone, and we gained tremendous experience, new training techniques and many
new friends. We are looking forward to our next opportunity to represent Cayman
on an international stage.”