Kicks, punches and weapons have been flying about from the smallest children to the most seasoned veterans and soon the participants will get a chance to unleash their combative skills on all-comers.
The Purple Dragon School of Martial Arts hosts its first big tournament in the Cayman Islands in five years next week and head instructor Sensei Floyd Baptiste is confident of a good showing as his pupils are doing well.
The Cayman Islands Karate 2013 Championships are on 27 April and the club is inviting all local karate schools to participate at the St. Ignatius Catholic School on Walkers Road from 1pm.
It’s a light contact tournament using international open circuit sport karate rules to ensure that no advantage is gained by any particular discipline. All categories are included – sparring, katas, self-defence and weapons – as well as age groups and abilities for children ages 4 to 17 and adults older than 18.
Sensei Baptiste, a fifth degree Purple Dragon black belt and head of the Cayman Islands Purple Dragon Dojo, is organising the event. Any martial arts student may enter to be crowned a Cayman Islands karate champion. Registration is $25 for two categories, with a $5 charge for each additional category.
Additional money raised will go toward the Purple Dragon child sponsorship programme, which gives Cayman’s underprivileged children the opportunity for personal growth through training in self-defence and self-discipline at Purple Dragon.
“The last big tournament we participated in was in Trinidad at the Purple Dragon World Championships in Trinidad in 2010,” Baptiste said. “Then last year we relocated from World Gym to the Mirco Centre and now we’re trying to get back into having activities like this. This isn’t as big as the 2008 one we had, this is a national tournament. We have not invited any overseas competition, just local schools.
“We’re trying to revitalise the sport and get it going again because it is a great discipline and we want to promote it a bit,” he added.
The tournament serves as preparation for the Purple Dragon world championships in Trinidad next year.
The club has about 120 members of which 15 to 20 are active black belts. The club’s instructors are Baptiste, his wife, Karen, as well as Geddis Hislop, Atonio Thompson, Cindy Moore, Leonard Lewis, Mario Dadal and Euclides “Beco” Pitta.
Sensei Baptiste is pleased that attendance has peaked recently. “Yes, this tournament is helping because they have something to work towards,” he said. “It’s always nice that a tournament helps to bring the camaraderie out.”
After that, five of their instructors are going to test for their black belts in Boca Raton, Florida with Purple Dragon founder Professor Don Jacob. They are Leonard Lewis, Mario Dadal, Cathy Williams, 12-year-old Lance Jefferson and Steffen Pitta, 16.
“We like the new location,” Baptiste said. “It has been a challenge with additional overheads and some preferred the old location because of geographical convenience, but we’ve adapted.
“If my members are happy, so am I.”