Purple Dragon Martial arts school is grateful to law firm Conyers Dill & Pearman (Cayman) Ltd. who have invested in the Purple Dragon Martial Arts scholarship programme to fund a deserving student for one year of instruction at the facility.
The scholarship programme is for primary and secondary students, offering them an opportunity for personal growth through training in self-defence and self-discipline.
Staff and management at Conyers Dill & Pearman have committed to support a single student for one year. Organisers hope to find funding for another 16 individuals, already identified by schools, social services and Purple Dragon administrators, who are prepared, they say, to expand the programme if necessary.
“We are pleased to lend our support to the Purple Dragon dojo, confident in the integrity of the organisation and the direct and overwhelmingly positive impact it has already had on Cayman’s young people,” Conyers Senior Partner Kevin Butler said.
“This programme is something we can do directly to invest in the country’s future. We embrace the opportunity it presents for everyone. It’s a privilege.”
The scheme offers selected candidates a chance to learn martial-arts discipline in a programme designed around associated values of self-confidence, self-control, motivation and respect.
The candidates come from all walks of life, some with mental, behavioural or physical challenges, some victims of broken or disadvantaged homes and some who would love to be a part of the dojo, but simply can’t afford to.
Cost per student is $1,500 per year, encompassing not only tuition, but a full uniform, safety gear and two annual opportunities for “belt grading”, formal promotion through the ranks of trainees.
In exchange, sponsors will gain a contract from each student, committing to regular attendance and timeliness, maintenance of school grades and behaviour reflecting respect for individuals and property.
Sponsors also receive twice-yearly reports from the Purple Dragon teachers, parents, school and counsellors, tracking the performance of each student.
Additionally, each participating company will gain invitations to such special events as demonstrations and gradings, offering a chance for first-hand observation of sponsored students, creating a comprehensive system of accountability for both pupils and the Purple Dragon dojo itself.
Sensei Floyd Baptiste said: “The martial arts instruction is proven to have a positive impact in people’s lives, no matter their age, working to increase strength and ability.
“The formal discipline provides a foundation for personal development and growth for all of use, but chiefly in children and teenagers.
“We seek to achieve not just physical strength in our students, but also to instil a kind of emotional maturity, producing well-rounded persons with a drive to succeed and prepared to act from a position of quiet personal strength.”
“As a sponsor, you will have the opportunity to make an important difference in the life of a child and within the community, leading to a brighter future tomorrow.”
Michael Myles, government’s liaison officer for at-risk youth, lauded the scholarship initiative, reflecting on achievements already gained by Purple Dragon: “On behalf of the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment, I value and appreciate the partnership with Sensei Floyd and the Purple Dragon organisation.
“Because of the mentoring, structure and discipline the programme has afforded our young people, we have observed improvements in behaviour and academic achievement. We continue to look forward to exposing more of our young people to the Purple Dragon programme,”
Purple Dragon was founded in Trinidad in 1969 by Professor Don Jacob who has grown it from a tiny operation in Port of Spain to a global organisation boasting 44 schools across the Caribbean, the US, Canada, Australia and Ireland, serving more than 50,000 members.
Sensei Geddes Hislop founded Cayman’s dojo in 1989, ultimately giving day-to-day responsibilities to Sensei Floyd in 1996. Today there are five Senseis. Geddes and Floyd have been joined by Senseis Karen Baptiste, Cindy Alison and recently arrived Trinidadian Sensei Atonio. They operate the new 4,500 square foot dojo on the second floor of the Mirco Centre.