Cayman’s Purple Dragon karate club had a special visitor to oversee its latest round of grading and he was suitably impressed with members’ progress at the club base in the Mirco Centre.
Professor Don Jacob, creator of the whole Purple Dragon phenomenon, conducted seminars and supervised the two grading sessions on Sunday and Monday.
He also motivated the students as they look ahead to the world championships hosted by Purple Dragon in July next year in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Jacob’s homeland.
Jacob said that since his last trip to Cayman seven months ago, Purple Dragon students have improved significantly and understand clearer what his Don Jitsu-Ryu system is about.
He commended all the senseis (instructors) for that progress, particularly, Floyd Baptiste, Antonio Thompson and Geddes Hislop because no-one failed.
Purple Dragon regularly put on public demonstrations, which helps attract new members and keeps the students keen.
Jacob feels that the many who have come through the 50 or so Purple Dragon clubs around the world, which have 10,00 members, have contributed tremendously to producing model citizens to their respective countries. More than 40,000 have come through the Purple Dragon system since Jacob started it in 1970, aged only 15.
“The senseis here, their job is to prepare young people for adult life and every one of them should be able to give 40 of the most productive years of their life back to their countries,” said Jacob.
“We are trying to give back to each nation. It doesn’t matter if it is through sport, culture, academics, medicine, research …. One of them might even be able to find a cure for a disease that was previously thought of as incurable.”
His philosophy is to instill in his students the importance of good health and exemplary discipline.
Jacob has dedicated all those years since he was a raw teenager to building the Purple Dragon brand. Retirement is not an option just yet for the still supremely fit and tireless leader.
“I have a lot of young people all over the world waiting for me to see what we do,” he said. “A lot of them are young males who do not have a strong male figure to look up to and I consider myself, without bragging, one of those few strong men that travel the world to help people.
“My life was designed and engineered to help people, aspiring, motivating and helping, especially the young boys, telling them to put down their guns and other weapons.”
His message is to accentuate the positive, using martial arts as a vehicle. He is proud that lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs and all manner of professionals have passed through his system. “We have produced a few criminals too,” he laughed. “We’re not proud about that. We’ve had good weather but some bad weather too.”
Cayman’s Purple Dragon can boast some of the best performing students in the whole organization, Jacob said, because most of the instructors are from Trinidad and Tobago.
“I’m nervous for the world championships because Cayman Islands is looking so good and the fact that it’s mostly Trinidadian instructors who have come here and given up all our secrets. It looks like Trinidad and Tobago could be in some trouble.
“I’ve warned one Trinidadian guy who is traveling with me to go back and warn them that Cayman Islands will be there!”
He added that a strong team of 15 from Cayman, out of a total 68, will travel to Japan next month to research martial arts.
They will go to the village where the legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi grew up. In the 17th century, Musashi wrote the “The Book of Five Rings,” which is still an essential reference point for all martial arts practitioners. They are also going to visit the Butoku Kai in Kyoto, the world’s oldest martial arts institution – more than 2,500 years old – and visiting a ninja village.
“I think it will be a phenomenal experience and we will write a document so that people can see what happened. We are really excited about our journey to the Orient.”