Three dedicated youngsters were honoured by Professor Don Jacob, the founder of Purple Dragon Don Jitsu Ryu System, when he presented them with their black belts at a special ceremony held at Cayman’s Purple Dragon Dojo at the Mirco Centre.
At the ceremony last week Sensei Karen Baptiste and Sensei Cindy Allison were also promoted to their fourth-degree black belts. Both women also earned renchi sensei belts, marking a peak of personal achievement for them.
To gain this accolade all five black belt recipients had taken part in a gruelling three-day grading event in August at the Purple Dragon world headquarters in Trinidad, alongside 30 other black belt candidates from around the world.
The ceremonial presentation of their black belts marked the culmination of years of dedication to improve their skills and enhance their fitness, both mentally and physically.
Sensei Floyd Baptiste runs Cayman’s Purple Dragon dojo and explained that the youngsters were able to realise this incredible achievement at such a young age through strength of character as much as body strength. “Dante Baptiste of St Ignatius is 11, Luke Byles from Cayman Prep and Joshua Kerr of Grace Academy, both aged 10, demonstrated tremendous dedication and determination and we are all extremely proud of them,” he said.
“Years of commitment to training culminated in the demanding three day event in Trinidad where they were required to undertake vigorous testing, performing different drills, katas, sparring, endurance and exercise routines.
“The testing, which was the same for the all the candidates, regardless of age, was as much a test of their mental will, discipline and self-confidence as it was their physical abilities and they clearly demonstrated that they were able to take on the challenges that lay ahead of them.
“These skills will serve them well in the future, both in the dojo and in every other aspect of their lives.”
Describing the last of the challenging three days, during which time they ate and slept together at the dojo, Byles said: “Sunday was the most exciting day to me. We woke at 4am and went on the five mile run.
“While on the run we had to stay with the team and sing chants until Professor said ‘go’ and then we had to run as fast as we could to the end.
“Then we had breakfast and then the sparring which was very exciting. Then it was time for the results.” Dante Baptiste said: “When they called us to get our results, my friends Luke and Josh and I were called up and we got our first degree ‘jet black’ belts. The Cayman Purple Dragon team had survived the three days of black belt grading. I felt so happy and relieved that I made it and that I persevered and never gave up.”
Sensei Karen said: “Attaining the level of black belt is the culmination of an extreme amount of effort by many people. Our instructors are dedicated to our development and are instrumental in our success.
“We are extremely grateful to Sensei Antonio, who put us all through an incredible three month training programme leading up to the black belt grading and to all our instructors and fellow students at Purple Dragon.
“Thanks also to Sensei Floyd and Sensei Geddes for their continuous support, to our friends and family and especially to Professor Don Jacob, for his leadership and continued inspiration.
“He and his wife also showed us all great hospitality when we were in Trinidad, for which we are very grateful.” Sensei Floyd said: “At Purple Dragon we challenge our members to show tremendous dedication and spirit and to stand out positively to help better their lives.
“I believe that these five individuals have demonstrated these virtues. Well done to everyone for their hard work that they undertook to develop their mental and physical stamina to such great lengths.”
For more information about the Purple Dragon Martial Arts programmes call 946-1241, email: [email protected]