The celebrated Team Emig karate troupe extended their fan base by giving a seminar to students of Cayman Karate Academy and a spectacular demonstration at Camana Bay on Saturday.
Bob Daigle, master instructor at the Cayman Karate Academy, organized Team Emig to travel from the U.S. for the day’s events.
Coach Matt Emig was accompanied by teenage world champions Aidan Considine, Danny Etkin and Mackensi Emory, who hit it off with the students.
Emig came to Cayman a year ago to pass on his skills and was so impressed with how good the Academy kids were – even though many were relatively new to the sport – that he was enthused to return.
Team Emig’s seminar was at the First Baptist Christian School for intermediate and advanced students.
Considine, 13, and Etkin, 15, gave a superb synchronized display. Emory, 19, and Emig also enthralled the students and audience alike with their acrobatic performances.
Daigle’s students also gave a fine demonstration which they had been practising for months.
Emig and his team signed autographs and pictures after the demo.
Daigle said, “It was a good turnout, the performances were spectacular and it was great seeing the crowd go crazy with their applause, really appreciating martial arts at its finest.”
He said that his students had been practising hard since Emig’s initial visit and the level of skill, their forms, nunchakus and kicks have “dramatically improved.”
The students have learned how to use new weapons and Daigle is proud of their dedication. “They continue getting better and better,” he said. “That’s the goal. It’s something positive to stay healthy and gain discipline and focus through martial arts.”
There are students as young as 4 years old at Cayman Karate Academy, like Eli O’Sullivan who put on a fantastic display at Camana Bay. Kids of all age ranges up to adult level are taught by Daigle and there are martial arts fitness classes too. Joshua Steen’s kicks were one of the highlights of the Academy students’ demo.
Daigle is in great shape himself having won medals in a masters tournament in Ireland in the summer. He trains with fitness coach Robert Szalk and is pleased he has kept the weight off.
Daigle is now working on putting together an inter-school tournament next year for his students to gain experience.
Emig said that he noticed that the Academy students had all improved significantly. “It’s nice to come back here and not have to teach the kids the basics and be able to teach them some new moves,” he said.
“It’s great for me as an instructor to see them improve and I look forward to coming back again to take everyone to the next level.”
The 28-year-old American is a nunchakus specialist. He taught the students the fundamentals last year and was impressed that they have practiced hard and are now skilful enough to learn more advanced moves that he uses in his routines.
He also widened the range of skills that he passed on to the students with his team.
“Bob’s done a great job in the last year and in the years before that to give them strong basics,” Emig said.
A former karate world champion, he stopped competing three years ago to concentrate on his film work and building up Team Emig after many years with the world renowned Team Paul Mitchell, who continue to sponsor his team.
“I’m proud seeing my team go out and get their world titles rather than me get my world titles year after year,” Emig said.
As well as a karate instructor, he is much in demand as a Hollywood stunt man, best known as a Ninja Turtle.
He has been working on set for the last eight months, and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2” will be released next June.
Emig plays the orange Turtle, Michaelangelo. In the first film he was Master Splinter, their sensei. He has also just played a zombie in “A Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse.”
Emig made time to enjoy Cayman’s tourist attractions again. “It’s even more amazing than the first time,” he said. “I got to jet ski and went to Stingray City again.
“We got to take some awesome photos on the beach and swam in the water. Seven Mile Beach is so beautiful.”