Daigle raises fight talk in JA

The popularity of mixed martial arts is booming worldwide on the strength of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and in the Caribbean there is a fresh energy emerging through enthusiasts networking like crazy.

Regular UFC shows generates interest because they are so exciting. Fighters like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre are some of the most respected athletes in combat sports.

The recent seminars in the Cayman Islands given by Las Vegas superstars Danny Davis Jr and Derek Weaver re-ignited interest here and because there were martial arts practitioners from Jamaica, Honduras, the Bahamas and Cayman Brac, that enthusiasm is spreading around the region exponentially.

Davis is a three-time national amateur kickboxing champion/pro MMA fighter who is also a world class Muay Thai fighter and Weaver is a North American grappling champion who also teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Three days earlier Weaver and Davis had given a seminar at the Clifton Hunter High School which was well received by pupils and teachers alike. Some of the kids even showed enormous talent to pursue the sport seriously.

The grappling contest at the D. Dalmain Ebanks Boxing Gym after the seminars was the highlight of the day with four gold medallists crowned at the end of some absorbing contests.

Leif Ristimaki won gold in the advanced open class and the other winners were Robert Campbell of the middleweight novices, Elvin Cruz (Honduras) in the novice lightweight category and Marlon Cerrato who also came from the Honduras and won the novice heavyweights.

It was all superbly organised by Bob Daigle, the former world heavyweight karate champion, who ran his own highly successful karate school here for 14 years from 1987. The school became world renowned and they competed internationally to wide acclaim.

Russian Slavik Moskalev came over from Jamaica for the seminars and the martial arts instructor based in Kingston for the last 16 years was so impressed that he has invited Daigle over for five days next week to promote mixed martial arts in his adopted homeland.

Moskalev has generated a lot of media interest over Daigle’s visit so the prospect of more seminars and martial arts competitions here, in Jamaica and around the region augurs well.

Moskalev opened Extreme Edge fitness training club last year in Kingston. “We wanted to introduce a new approach to fitness which was completely different from the usual gym setting which many of us had become bored with,” he said.

“The idea is to train without the standard gym equipment in a more natural and rugged environment, incorporating para-military techniques.

“Our members experience a different combination of routines every day, carefully put together to produce maximum effect and to challenge their stamina. No two classes are the same.

“I have developed at Extreme Edge a programme called Systema Serp, which combines an intense fitness training session with combative defence techniques against single and multiple attackers. Many of the techniques used are taken from Rukapashka which is Russian military fighting style re-designed for sport competition.

“We use natural implements such as rocks and wood posts for strength training and we incorporate martial arts moves in cardio exercises. I have been involved in sport, fitness training and martial art training since I was a teenager in Russia.

“I have been exposed to many martial art styles and have over the years combined different techniques which I practice for my own development and pass on to my students. Interest is slowly growing.

“I will be introducing Bob to some techniques which can be use in self defence training and martial art training.”

Moskalev thought the trip to George Town was well worth it. “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and meeting the other participants and was encouraged by the plans to form a Caribbean martial art association to promote the sport in our area.

“I hope to see a surge in the promotion and development of martial arts in all the countries across the Caribbean leading to exciting competition within our region and globally.”

Daigle recently launched the Cayman Kickboxing Academy at the UCCI gym and gym at the state of the art facilities at the Cayman International School in Camana Bay and the response has been overwhelming. Contact [email protected] for the latest news on mixed martial arts in the Cayman Islands.

“I’m really excited to be going to Jamaica again where there are thousands of students currently training,” Daigle said. “I had very productive talks with Slavik when he was here and we see incredible potential for growth around the region starting with him tapping into the martial arts set up in Jamaica.

“I contacted many people I know in Jamaica and the name that kept on cropping up was Slavik’s. He comes highly recommended and I’m quite impressed with his knowledge of martial arts and how to best promote it.

“The feedback I got from the seminars and the grappling contest is that everyone is excited about attending more. There are plans to host more seminars this year and there are also plans to host another grappling event in the fall.

“People are joining martial arts clubs around Grand Cayman. It’s good to see them getting off their couches and getting involved.”

For more information on Cayman Kickboxing Academy contact [email protected] or call 925-6946

For more information on Cayman Kickboxing Academy contact [email protected] or call 925-6946


  1. Its great to see the advancement of MMA and the grappling arts in Cayman and the Caribbean.

    There are no negatives to martial arts training, only positives.

    What I would like to hear about is a concentration by these superb martial arts teachers in and visiting Cayman on the self-defense and protection side of martial arts training, especially for women and vulnerable people.

    There is a distinct difference between martial arts for sporting competition and martial arts for self-defense; they all know and are quite aware of this.

    With the crime and violence levels rising in Cayman on a daily basis, I’m hoping that these martial arts instructors will not forget their responsibilities in the areas of teaching effective self-defense skills to those who need them.

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