Purple Dragon Karate School welcomed back its founder, Professor Don Jacob, for its second grading of the year at its headquarters in the Mirco Centre last week.
Students were put under three intensive days of examination in Jacob’s Don Jitsu-Ryu system, which he created as a teenager and has introduced to thousands of members all over the world, mainly in his Trinidad & Tobago homeland, but also in the rest of the Caribbean and the United States.
Around 30 advanced ranks and adult students were graded before 24 kids and beginners, after attending Jacob’s seminar, “Going Beyond Basics.” The pass rate was 100 percent.
Jacob’s visit coincided with his 60th birthday on Oct. 16. He had a grand celebration at Purple Dragon headquarters in Port of Spain. The occasion was limited to 600 students because Trinidad alone has more than 2,000 Purple Dragon members from its huge network of schools. It was also streamed live on the Internet and messages were relayed on Skype.
To celebrate Jacob’s birthday here, a special “Bring A Friend” training session was held, an activity to introduce non-Purple Dragon members.
Sensei Floyd Baptiste, who runs the Cayman Islands Purple Dragon school, said, “Professor Jacob was pleased with the overall standards here, but he is a perfectionist and there is always room for improvement, highlighted in the seminars on how we instructors can help the students with their balance, coordination and form, as well as their technique.”
Baptiste said that Jacob seemed most thankful that he had reached his milestone relatively unscathed. “He was thanking everybody for their loyalty, support and all they have contributed over the years,” he said. “That is the most appreciative I’ve heard him ever be.”
Baptiste added that Jacob stressed that on someone’s birthday, it is also a day for their mother to celebrate. By coincidence, Mario Dadal, a local member, turned 20 last Wednesday when Jacob was here. Dadal was chosen as an assistant to travel with Jacob on his grading tour last year, and Jacob emphasized how appreciative he should be of his mother.
Delecia Bethemy, a fourth-degree black belt from Trinidad, is Jacob’s assistant on the tour this time.
Looking ahead, Purple Dragon members are set to give a demonstration of their skills at The Crescent in Camana Bay at Christmas, and the team is putting its routines together for that.
They are also preparing for the world championships in Trinidad next July and will fit in another grading in the meantime.
“We’re looking to select our team for the world championships starting from now,” Baptiste said. “We want to take a considerable number, and we’re really hopeful that we can represent the Cayman Islands very well.”
He added his congratulations to all the successful students and thanked parents for their dedication in bringing the kids to the grading and for classes.
“The parents are helping make Cayman a safer and better place, one person at a time,” he said.
“Because one more student we have here is one less student out in the street doing something negative, whereas here they are doing something positive and developing their life well.”