Karatekas encouraged to carefully chart their lives

“Know where you came from; you must know where you want to go; and you must know how to get where you want to get.” The words of Sensei Ryan Lewis of the Grenada Purple Dragon Karate School.

Sensei Ryan was speaking to a group of 15 karatekas during a belt-changing ceremony at their dojo at the National Stadium on Monday evening.

He told the young students that they needed to take martial arts serious as it provides them with knowledge of themselves so that they can make informed choices about their future.

“You must understand what is the plan for your life…the plan that you were born into because each and every one of us was born into a certain plan.”

“You must decide whether you want to continue with that plan or whether you want to change that plan.” Sensei Ryan said.

“And this is want the martial arts bring to you; knowledge and a way to move forward,” he added.

Eight students moved from white belt, which is the first level of martial arts to yellow belts. One student received a white belt with two yellow bars. Two students received yellow belts with orange bars, three received orange belts and two received brown belts – one with two black bars and the other with one black bar.

The next examination of the school is tentatively set for July 8th this year.

The Purple Dragon Karate School is a branch of the International Purple Dragon Don Jitsu Ryu System headquartered in Trinidad and was introduced to Grenada in 1974 by Johnny Madrid, former bodyguard to the then Prime Minister Sir Eric Gairy.

The School for many years travelled extensively throughout the world participating in and winning many tournaments, before going dormant for a while. It was revived in the late 1990s and Sensei Ryan told the news students that he is looking forward to the school going back into international tournaments.

“Before people used to be afraid of Grenadians when they stepped in the ring; because anytime a Grenadian stepped in the ring, as strength, was power was speed.”

Danielle Bartholomew a college student received her orange belt after being a member of the club for three years.

Danielle Bartholomew receiving her orange belt

She said learning karate has helped her to remain focused and physically fit, after an illness during secondary education left her incapable of continuing with athletics, her favorite sport.

“My other sport which is track and field, I wasn’t able to perform in that so karate was an alternative for me and it kept me motivated,” Deniel told the Advocate.

“I will recommend it to everyone…it keeps you focused while at the same time you are engaged in a lot of physical work. It helps you overcome your fears and makes you feel that you can do anything. Once you put your mind to it, it’s achievable.”

Kenson Baptiste, who is a secondary school teacher, is one bar away from becoming a black belt. He said it has been a tough journey toward this phase and is not going to give in.

Baptiste, who is also an instructor with the Grenada Purple Dragon Don Jitsu Ryu System boasted of having improved discipline and strength since he became a karate student six year ago.

“It has helped me with my discipline, my strength, my endurance levels. It has helped me in terms of relating to students…the extra practice with the discipline involved here…I have been able to transfer that to the school, and made myself a better teacher a result.”

The Purple Dragon Don Jitsu Ryu System is practiced internationally with schools in the Cayman Islands, St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, Tortola, Canada, England and North America; and an affiliate school in Australia.©

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