Cayman Associated School of Karate has grown from a handful of students to more than 125 in the seven years since Sensei Greg Reid founded it and for the next few months he will be away networking and instructing in the martial art form in Japan and his Canada homeland.
In Japan, Reid will go to Hokkaido and Okinawa to reconnect with some of the most influential people in the sport he has known for decades because he intends to bring some of them in to help his students develop into world-class competitors.
Reid will be based in Victoria, British Colombia, and teaching students at the National Association of Canada and will be back and forth to Cayman on vacation.
He is leaving Shodan Patricia Rutkowski in charge, who surprisingly has only been a karate student for six years and is already a second degree black belt.
Arun Abraham will help run the school too. Rutkowski’s two kids are in the program – Robbie, 13, who is a second degree black belt too, and Richie, 9, a brown belt – as is her husband Mark, a blue belt about to take his brown grading.
Like many parents who spend a lot of time at the dojo at the King’s Sports Centre, Rutkowski decided to give karate a go and immediately fell in love with it.
“I was bringing my kids all the time, so I thought I might as just do it too,” she said. “I’m looking forward to running the classes, it’s going to be fantastic. I’ve done it before, many times when Sensei Greg has been away.”
Rutkowski was captivated by karate from observing children who started at CASK whose concentration and confidence levels were low and seeing them flourish at school and socially through progressing in the sport.
“Sometimes you see them starting really shy and soon after they are running the class,” she said. “It’s really great.”
Her kids hope to be competing at the Uchiage tournament in Vancouver on March 7, a warm-up for the Pan American Games later that year in Toronto.