Purple Dragons set for grading

Purple Dragon Karate Club’s students have been training exceptionally hard in recent weeks in preparation for their latest grading exams this weekend.

From Saturday, Purple Dragon conducts their twice-yearly grading sessions, an opportunity for students to attain a higher belt grade, the first time since November.

Head instructor and Purple Dragon founder Professor Don Jacob is based in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, and Boca Raton, Florida. He is heading to Cayman from a grading in Vancouver, Canada.

More than 100 students will be graded in stringent tests in kata (a form of fighting against imaginary opponents), sparring, and their self-defense techniques. Fitness and discipline tests are also part of the process.

Purple Dragon is best known for its karate culture, but it also offers six kickboxing fitness classes a week for the less competitive.

They are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at affordable rates, ranging from $20 for one class to $95 a month unlimited attendance, or even by the term at a better rate.

“We have people from all walks of life and fitness levels coming to the kickboxing classes,” said instructor Sensei Floyd Baptiste, who takes them along with Sherika McTavish.

“The classes are high energy and can be intense, but participants are supervised by the instructor to ensure they are going at their own pace.”

The Monday sessions focus on the mechanics of a particular kick, punch or strike. Wednesdays are about combinations where students work in pairs. On Fridays, it’s freestyle, when bags are set in rotation and students do a particular workout depending on its color.

Intermingled with that is an interval workout where they do a complete body routine for maximum benefit for cardio. There are also calisthenic reps with push-ups, burpees and jumping jacks.

“We can work you from your eyes down to your toes,” Baptiste said. “It’s fantastic cross-training. You might be a swimmer, tennis player, play flag football – they all come in because it builds their conditioning. It’s great for overall fitness.

“We encourage you to surpass yourself and just go a little beyond, because that is what achieves the results, but safety is an important priority so we make sure that everyone is well supervised.”

Women make up about two-thirds of the classes.

Baptiste insists “the classes are a challenge for every fitness level, from the elite athletes who want to push themselves with the combinations and drills to the beginners who can pace themselves.”

For more information, call Purple Dragon at 946-1241.

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