Robert Schwartz continues to try growing Mixed Martial Arts in the Cayman Islands.
The Miami, Florida resident was in Cayman this month to lead seminars relating to highlight jiujitsu, grappling and self defense. The visit was organized by Ironshore Martial Arts Club – under lead instructor Leif Ristimaki – and Cayman Fight Factory, a budding MMA gym under Flloyd Moxam. Schwartz says the fight culture here is slow but steadily growing.
“Cayman is a place I used to call home,” Schwartz said. “I finished high school in 1987 at Triple C and worked here for a little bit before moving back to the United States for college. Cayman still has a special place in my heart. So for me, I was returning home after being away awhile. This is the second time since December 2013 for me coming down to teach seminars and work with some grapplers on island and I’m already seeing big improvements.
“MMA culture is starting to build [here] but [it’s] still behind the rest of the world. I notice some striking styles – karate, Muay Thai – which have been around awhile and grappling styles – submission grappling and Brazilian jiujitsu – are starting to take root. But for MMA, you need to merge the two to be successful and I don’t see that just yet,” he said.
Schwartz worked with small groups of about six people per session – which drew the likes of Ironshore member Dan “Dandy” Lamarca – on various grapples and techniques from arm bars and leg submissions to counters and defensive tactics.
The man nicknamed “Lobster” has an impressive background in the sport. The first degree black belt and Brazilian jiujitsu instructor trained under Moacir “Boca” Oliveira Jr., a disciple of Ricardo De La Riva and the legendary Carlson Gracie. He is a multiple Grapplers Quest champion, a North American Grappling Association champion, the Abu Dhabi World East Coast trials champion and Pan–Am champion. He currently trains and coaches fighters for Strikeforce and Fight Time Promotions.
Schwartz, who has a gym in Doral, says he will be competing as well as training in the future.
“Getting back in the gym to learn more and train more is what’s next for me. I love competing and I’m planning to go to California at the International Brazilian JiuJitsu Federation Masters Brazilian JiuJitsu tournament in September, then the Miami Open in October. I’m also teaching Brazilian jiujitsu classes and training MMA fighters in Miami. I would also like to continue to visit Cayman and work with the guys to help develop grappling/MMA on the Island.
“Building sports in Cayman is so important for the island,” he said. “Companies and the Cayman government can support sports by bringing in talent from around the world so they can pass on their knowledge to Cayman; it would do wonders for the people, especially the kids. With the help of the community, I could see Cayman hosting grappling and MMA events in the near future.
“I would like to give thanks to all the great sponsors who made this trip possible: Travel Pros, Sunset House, Duke’s Cayman, Ironshore Gym and Cayman Fight Factory.”