Purple Dragon Martial Arts has a new home and a fresh mission to grow their reach.
Sensei Geddes Hislop states the school has plans to cater to every district and island in the Cayman Islands.
“We hope to attract people to what we do,” Hislop said. “We have two locations now, with a smaller dojo on Crew Road. We want smaller dojos in each district with West Bay being the next stop further down the road.
“Most of the black belts now are younger people who can start their own business. We can train them up and there is a market for martial arts with the current focus on self-defence and physical fitness.”
Purple Dragon currently has two dojos in George Town with the main hub at Mirco Centre recently getting its grand opening. The occasion was marked by a ribbon cutting, awards ceremony and demonstrations featuring black belts and weapons like the nunchaku and the sai. Minister of Sports Mark Scotland was on hand in addition to community figures like Ralph Lewis.
Sensei Hislop, in addition to Sensei Floyd Baptiste, also staged a mock fight between two teams of martial artists, which ended up in a draw. A number of instructors, like Euclides ‘Beco’ Pitta and Leonard Lewis, were also present.
Baptiste states while Purple Dragon looks to expand, the core principles will remain the same.
“We teach a philosophy, it’s more than just physical exercise,” Baptiste said. “The goals of Purple Dragon are to build a strong universal self and a strong centre and core to build knowledge so that people can defend themselves. We also want (young) people to have a sense of justice and integrity, that hard work and dedication pays off.”
For the record, Purple Dragon practices Don Jitsu Ryu karate and recently sent six members to Trinidad for black belt grading (which is a three-day process featuring intense mental and physical testing). Another grading is slated to take place in May.
Hislop states in the future, the goal is to have more instructors who can lead the various dojos in Cayman.
“We have 16 or 17 black belts now and we sent six candidates, three men and three women, for grading. The hope was they would come back and add six more black belts. It’s more than just being able to fight, but also about being able to give back. They can use that as a qualification to put on their resume.
“We got young instructors coming up and we can do their teaching here at the new dojo. We can train them on one part while holding classes on another. We need more black belts to be instructors to teach the younger ones. Eventually we will have more senseis here, who are essentially an instructor of instructors.
“They, the Sports department in Cayman Brac, want us over in the Brac. We need to go there as they approached us three times. It has just been a question of having someone available who can move there and set up a full-time dojo and life there as Floyd and I are based here. That is where a younger instructor would come in.”