Scheme aims to create martial arts scholarships

| 02/10/2012

design_lil-karate-white.jpg(CNS): One local student will be given a scholarship  to attend a local martial arts course after the first of what organisers hope will be seventeen corporate sponsors stepped up to the plate recently. The youngsters who will be chosen for the scholarships for the Purple Dragon Martial Arts programme come from all walks of life, some with mental, behavioural or physical challenges, some victims of broken or disadvantaged homes and some who would love to be a part of the dojo, but simply can’t afford to. The cost per student is $1,500 per year which includes tuition, full uniform, safety gear and “belt grading”, promotion through the ranks.

The scheme will offer selected candidates a chance to learn martial-arts discipline in a programme designed around associated values of self-confidence, self-control, motivation and respect.  It is aimed at primary and secondary students, offering youth an opportunity for personal growth through training in self-defence and self-discipline and organisers hope to find funding for another 16 individuals, already identified by schools, social services and Purple Dragon administrators.

Conyers Dill & Pearman (Cayman) said it has invested in the scholarship programme to fund a deserving student for one year of instruction at the facility. As the first of the corporate backers, Kevin Butler said the law firm was pleased to lend its support to the Purple Dragon dojo and was confident in the integrity of the organisation as well as the positive impact it has on young people. “This programme is something we can do directly to invest in the country’s future. We embrace the opportunity it presents for everyone. It’s a privilege,” he said.

Sponsors will gain a contract from each student, committing to regular attendance and timeliness, maintenance of school grades and behaviour reflecting respect for individuals and property.  They will also receive twice-yearly reports from the Purple Dragon teachers, parents, school and counsellors, tracking the performance of each student. Additionally, each participating company will gain invitations to such special events as demonstrations and gradings, offering a chance for first-hand observation of sponsored students, creating a comprehensive system of accountability for both pupils and the Purple Dragon dojo itself.

Sensei Geddes Hislop who founded Cayman’s dojo in 1989 said sponsors would have “the opportunity to make an important difference in the life of a child and within the community…leading to a brighter future tomorrow. He said the martial arts instruction “is proven to have a positive impact in people’s lives, no matter their age, working to increase strength and ability” while the formal discipline, “provides a foundation for personal development and growth for all of use, but chiefly in children and teenagers.

“We seek to achieve not just physical strength in our students….but also to instil a kind of emotional maturity, producing well-rounded persons with a drive to succeed and prepared to act from a position of quiet personal strength,” he added.

Michael Myles, government’s liaison officer for at-risk youth said the mentoring, structure and discipline the programme had had led to an improvement in behaviour and academic achievement of students.

Anyone interested in further information should contact Cathy Williams at 916-9900 or email her at cathy.williams@remax.ky. Alternatively, the Purple Dragon dojo is on 946-1241 and purple@candw.ky. Visitors to the dojo’s Facebook are welcome at Facebook@PurpleDragonCayman or welcome to visit the facility at any time.

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