Don Jacob grades Purple Dragons

A major martial arts figure recently graced these shores. 

Professor Don Jacob, the founder of Purple Dragon and Don Jitsu Ryu martial arts, was here last week for the Cayman Islands Purple Dragon grading. The event took place at the Purple Dragon dojo in Mirco Centre. 

Professor Jacob, who is from Trinidad, spent much of last Wednesday’s session passing on life lessons to students and parents. 

“As black belts you are also responsible for the younger ones,” Professor Jacob said. “In struggling, you develop strength. 

“The first lesson is we as a family are protection for our kids. Every child needs an external immune system. Don’t let people in to break up families. When you practice Don Jitsu Ryu, you’re supposed to take it home and find strength to do everything in life. 

“This is a lifestyle. What we’re practicing is not just kicking and punching. We’re surrounding kids with morals. The kata, for example, means a way to do things properly. Purple Dragon is not about kids looking pretty. It’s about doing things properly.”  

Professor Jacob, who is nearly 60, is a martial arts Hall of Famer and world champion who introduced Don Jitsu Ryu in 1970, on which the Purple Dragon School of Martial Arts is based. 

The grading, which only occurs a few times in a given year, dealt with most of the available belts. Kids aged 12 and over attempted to advance from green belts to higher ranks while kids aged 11 and under were looking to progress up from their white, yellow and orange belts. They were tested on their stances, fighting ability and fitness.  

Each session lasted over two hours, with Wednesday’s edition stretching to four hours. It was a test of endurance for parents as well as students, a fact Jacob acknowledged. 

“Congratulations to all who passed their grading. You worked our patience like Job but it also means you have to work harder. 

“We want to make parenting easier. We have the patience and time for the kids. We hope the parents do the same.” 

Professor Jacob, who brought down Shihans Thompson and Antonio, had help from local Senseis Floyd Baptiste and Geddes Hislop, Sempai Euclides ‘Beco’ Pitta and numerous instructors and black belts like Leonard Lewis. 

It is the second time this year Professor Jacob has graded Cayman students. Back in April, six people earned black belts in Trinidad by way of a three-day grading. The locals were Zarek Deosaran, 12, Leyton James 14, Leyton’s dad Steven James, 52 and three ladies in Dorisley Jackson, Dianne Gordon and Susan Eden. They were among 34 students from eight countries to achieve black belt status. 

Professor Jacob was in Cayman last year for grading, which took place at Camana Bay. He mentioned his son was murdered by an armed burglar in Trinidad and states crime is growing to alarming levels here. 

“I’ve been hearing about crime in Cayman now. Before, it was just beaches and off-shore banking. Trinidad is ahead of Cayman with crime but Cayman is catching up.” 

Don Jacob

Dozens of kids displayed their stances in the hopes of earning a higher belt. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES