Karate teams prepare for competition

Cayman Karate Academy continues to prepare its students for international competition.

Cass Sigmon, who has been world champion 10 times and who is a member of Team Paul Mitchell, recently shared his fighting techniques with more 60 students at Cayman Karate Academy.

Bob Daigle, head instructor of Cayman Karate Academy, says he invites martial artists from any martial arts style from around the world to help get his students ready for international competition.

“What I look for in a guest instructor is character first and skill second,” Daigle said. “Team Paul Mitchell has assembled the best martial artists on the planet and every one of them are role models for our youth.”

Sigmon taught the latest footwork drills, defense strategies and speed drills. He asked students what all the greatest fighters in combat sports history, like Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, etc., have in common? They all have great defense. Sigmon taught the students interesting ways to defend kicks and punches.

“I was amazed at the hand speed of Cass Sigmon,” former world champion Daigle said. “I have fought some of the best fighters our sport has ever seen and I have never seen a front hand as fast as Cass Sigmon.

“Having fought seven-time world champion Billy Blanks and numerous other legends, I can honestly say that there has been significant improvement from 20th century fighters to 21st century fighters. We can’t wait to test these new training methods in actual competition,” he said.

Daigle added, “The parents and children all loved coach Cass as an instructor and role model for their children. We are so grateful to have the complete support and trust [of] our karate parents and the business community.”

Daigle says it will be a long road before Cayman can compete in the official world championships, run every two years by the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations, known as WAKO, which has 126 member countries registered with it.

Last year, the world championships for juniors under 18 years old were held in Remy, Italy. The next official adult world Championships will be held in Dublin, Ireland.

Daigle says Cayman’s hopes of placing or winning the official world championship rests in the hands of Cayman’s children.

“It will take years of training and competition to be able to win the WAKO world title,” he said. “WAKO is also working with the International Olympic Committee to get karate into the Olympic Games.” Karate is currently not an Olympic sport.

Daigle says he is currently in talks with some of the biggest names in WAKO. “Our goal is to have the Cayman Islands join WAKO, the largest sport karate organization in the world, and begin the journey of officially representing the Cayman Islands on the world stage.

“Who knows? If WAKO is approved by the IOC, we might just see a team competing in the Olympic games someday,” he said.

Daigle thanked Lisa Ebanks of Villas of the Galleon for providing accommodations for Sigmon and to MEPCO Ltd. for sponsoring his plane ticket. “Without the support of the companies like these, events like these would be impossible to put on,” he added.