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

Canadian Surf Team take on the Americas at Pan Am Games in Peru

270 athletes from 20 countries partake in Olympic 2020 qualifier.

VIDEO: Sea of Lights parade sparkles in Tofino

Tofino Resort and Marina’s Sea of Lights provided a breathtaking holiday experience on Friday night.

Winds of up to 90 km/hr predicted to hit Vancouver Island

Environment Canada is warning that loose objects may cause damage

Trapped humpback whale freed from salmon farm near Tofino

“All of these problems could be solved by the farms moving onto land and getting out of the ocean.”

Ucluelet police searching for missing man

Ucluelet police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating a missing 29-year-old.

Man caught on camera allegedly trying to defraud ICBC

Auto-insurer warns B.C. drivers to record info after crashes

Teenager Alphonso Davies wins Canadian Men’s Soccer Player for the Year Award

Derek Cornelius and Chilliwack native, Jordyn Huitema were named Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

B.C. teen MMA fighter shows heart

Young Unity MMA competitors bring home Ws

2,000 Canadians died of an overdose in first 6 months of the year

New data from the Public Health Agency of Canada shows the crisis is not subsiding

Another B.C. city votes to ban single-use plastic bags

First six months of proposed ban would focus on education, not enforcement

UK Prime Minister Theresa May wins party no-confidence vote, but troubles remain

May won the vote of 317 Conservative legislators with a 200-117 tally

B.C. trustee’s anti-LGBTQ comments got him barred from schools

Barry Neufeld calls vote to leave him off liaison list ‘workplace discrimination’

Firm says trees obstructing vision at Humboldt Broncos crash intersection

Sixteen people died and 13 others were injured in the collision at an intersection north of Tisdale

Most Read