Fundraising dinner coming up to help locals reach Trinidad

Two West Coast youth are headed to Trinidad this July to test for their black belts in Purple Dragon Don Jitsu.

Ucluelet local Everett Watson and Tofino local Barkley Ahier have both been training under local Purple Dragon instructor Sempai Ian Shu for about six years and both are ready for the next level of their martial arts careers.

All three will travel to Trinidad this summer where Ahier and Watson will undergo a rigorous three-day test to achieve their black belts.

The trip will cost about $3,500 per person and Watson said the group has raised about $2,000 of community support so far through bottle drives and raffle-ticket sales.

They hope to see a solid crowd show up to support their pursuit at a fundraising buffet dinner on June 6 at the Ucluelet community centre.

The event will include a silent auction and raffle, with items donated by local businesses, as well as demonstrations from Purple Dragon students ranging from 5-18 years old. 

“You’ll be well entertained, well fed, and be supporting a good cause,” Watson said.

“The dinner is going to be one of the main ticket items as well as the silent auction…Basically every business that could help out has, we’ve had tremendous support from community members as well as businesses, which helps a lot.”

Tickets to June 6’s event can be purchased at Solidarity Snacks, Ucluelet Elementary School, and the community centre for a limited time but will not be available at the door.

Watson, 17, said Purple Dragon offers a unique combo-boost to his fitness and discipline.

“Martial arts isn’t all just kicking and punching and yelling really loud,” he said.

“There’s a mental part too and I find it really enlightening to be able to defend yourself and move your body in the way you want to move it…One thing martial arts is all about is control: controlling your movements, controlling your body, and controlling your mind.”

He added a keen focus is put on respect and listening.

“It’s helped me in school. It’s helped me keep control of my emotions a little bit more and to think first before I speak,” he said.

He touted Sempai Ian as a solid instructor and mentor who pays close attention to his students and said Shu’s teachings have prepared him well for his upcoming test.  

“Sempai Ian is an excellent teacher…I’m really confident in the way he’s been teaching and training us,” he said.

 â€œI’m really, really, excited to be able to go. I’ve been waiting for this for six years…Just to know that I’ve been able to go halfway around the world and spend three days basically working my but off in the Trinidadian heat and make it through the black belt grading would be something that would boost your confidence…to know that you can stay strong under hard circumstances.”

Along with the black belt achievement, Shu and his students plan to take in a world championship tournament and experience Purple Dragon’s 45th anniversary celebrations.

“The students are hoping to reach their black belts, which would be an excellent achievement for them and for myself as well having raised them to that level,” Shu said.

“I’m hoping that seeing all the local black belts there is going to really inspire them and push them to take it to a higher level like it did for myself…It’s something you have to travel to see really.”

Shu joined with Purple Dragon in 1996 and has traveled to Trinidad several times to train with Professor Don Jacobs, the martial art’s founder.

Shu is a third degree black belt and instructor who has guided two West Coasters through their black belt testing already and hopes to see Ahier and Watson make it four. 

“I moved here in 2008 and started teaching shortly thereafter and have been doing it ever since and would like to continue doing this for many years to come,” Shu said.

“Even on a bad day, it’s such a pleasure to go and teach…I’ve gotten to teach these kids all the way along so that, I have to say, is very rewarding; watching them grow from little kids into young adults and still continuing to train.”

 

Andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Just Posted

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Tofino athletes Devries, Olin selected for Surf Canada Olympic pathway team

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before any of us qualify for the Olympics.”

Port Alberni’s RE/MAX Ride the Rim cyclists pedal into Ucluelet

“I did it for the children and for the love of the sport.”

Surfrider cheers ocean friendly businesses in Tofino and Ucluelet

Surfrider Pacific Rim is pushing for an ocean friendly, plastic-free, peninsula.

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Most Read