Cayman’s first ever grappling tournament is on at the Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym this weekend.
After the Muay Thai kickboxing seminar and the Brazilian Jui Jitsu seminar will be a grappling skills competition on Saturday. Competitors from four clubs on island including a competitor from Cayman Brac and the Bahamas will compete in three divisions.
First up will be the lightweight beginner division for competitors with less than 12 months of grappling experience. Since this is the first grappling event ever held in the Cayman Islands some of the competitors have only trained for a couple of weeks and some are so green they will take the seminar and then throw themselves into the tournament to gain valuable experience.
Organiser Bob Daigle said: “This is making history. To be able to say that you competed in the first grappling event in your country’s history will never be forgotten. I remember running the first karate tournament over 25 years ago in Cayman like it was yesterday. Every once in awhile I see someone who competed in that event and they tell me they show the pictures and videos to their kids and they say: ‘Dad had some moves when he was young’.”
Next will be the beginner heavyweight division. Competitors have several ways to win. They can win on points or by submission. The match can end suddenly when one athlete puts the other in a hold that forces them to tap (submit).
It could be an arm bar or a leg lock or a triangle choke or one of many submission techniques. Special guest Brazilian Jui Jitsu instructor and grappling champion Derek Weaver from Las Vegas will be the referee.
Danny Davis Jr. a professional MMA fighter is also well versed in the ground game. He will assist.
After the two beginner divisions are finished Cayman’s most experienced grapplers compete alongside guest fighters from the Bahamas.
“I can feel the excitement in the air about Saturday’s competition,” Daigle added. “Everyone’s hearts are racing wondering how they all will do in actual competition.
“The competition will be intense I am sure. But once all is said and done athletes – especially martial artists – shake hands, hug and have a new found respect for each other. There will be some tough battles but there will also be some new friendships made as well.
“Special thanks to Cayman Airways, the major sponsor of these seminars and sporting competition. Without their support this event would not have been possible. We would also like to thank Burger King, Cayman Kickboxing Academy, BIS, the Government, Coconut Car rentals, Red Bull, Bud Light, Villas of the Galleon for providing accommodations for the seminar instructors and Aqua Beach for their sponsorship.
“Aqua Beach will be hosting a get together for all the competitors and martial arts fans in Cayman on Saturday night. They will be showing UFC Brazil on the big screens for everyone to enjoy.”
Martial arts students and instructors from Jamaica, Honduras the Bahamas, Las Vegas, Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac are involved. “We will also kick back and talk about the knowledge gained in the seminars and the thrill of competition that took place that day.
“Our visiting guests are in a for a real treat on Sunday. We chartered a boat and we will take them on trip to Rum Point and Stingray City. When they return to their countries they will tell everyone about the beauty of the Cayman Islands and the new friends they made. I am sure more friends will join them for our next event.
“And the winner is…the Cayman Islands for working together to host this event.”