Purple Dragon Cayman Islands attended the Karate World Championships 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago over the weekend and again did exceptionally well.
It was a two-day open competition that saw competitors from many martial arts schools, countries and styles.
Other countries represented were the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Panama and the hosts Trinidad and Tobago. More than 600 competed at the Hyatt Hotel in Port-of-Spain. A well-prepared Cayman team competed in a variety of events and divisions, with most fighters entering multiple categories.
The events at a martial arts competition can be separated into two basic categories: combat and artistic.
The combat events were separated into point fighting, continuous fighting and grappling divisions.
The artistic events were empty-hand forms, weapons forms and self-defense demonstration divisions. At the advanced or black belt level there are subdivisions for traditional forms, creative forms and extreme forms.
The Cayman Islands had 28 competitors at the tournament and they returned home with 22 gold medals, eight silvers and six bronze.
Sensei Geddes Hislop won gold in empty-hand forms, gold in weapons forms and gold in point sparring in the black belt 45-plus division.
Sensei Atonio Thompson won gold in traditional weapons forms in the 18-34 male black belt division with a stunning Sai form.
Senpai Euclides Pitta took gold in self-defense, silver in creative empty-hand forms and silver in creative weapons in the black belt 50-plus division.
Dante Baptiste won gold in extreme empty-hand forms, gold in extreme weapons forms and gold in creative forms in the boys 13-17 year old black belt division.
Baptiste also achieved a silver medal in point sparring. One of the highlights as the Night of Champions when winners of the different categories faced each other and the judges selected a grand champion. Baptiste won this title for weapons forms, putting on an electrifying performance with his extreme double sword form.
Lance Jefferson won gold in the creative weapons form for the 13-17 year old male black belt division.
Jefferson also had an opportunity to perform in the Night of Champions and placed second to Baptiste.
Dianne Gordon won gold in point sparring and gold in weapons, as well as silver in empty-hand kata in the female 45-plus advanced.
Cathy Williams won gold in the traditional empty-hand form black belt division.
There were also multiple medals for Maribel Dadal, Sherika McTavish, Francine Bryce, Isabella Powery, Aidan Montana, Jade Williams, Maia Pitta, Erika Scotland, Sean Byles, Rachel Pascal (younger sister of javelin star Alex Pascal) and Joshua Bryce.
Sensei Floyd Baptiste, who runs the Purple Dragon Cayman Islands club, said he was proud of all the Cayman athletes at the championships, particularly the youngsters, “not just for their accomplishments, but also for their dedication and perseverance that went into the many months of preparation.
“I consider them all winners after witnessing the transformation that took place in their character and confidence from the many hours of practice.”
Baptiste also commended the team’s head coach and choreographer Sensei Atonio Thompson.
“We cannot neglect to express our sincerest gratitude to our supporters, the dedicated parents and of course our sponsors as without them this would not have been possible,” added Baptiste. “A big thank you to Cayman National Bank our title sponsor,” and all the other sponsors, he said.