THE Beausejour Indoor Practice Facility in Gros Islet will come alive this weekend when the island’s most prestigious martial arts event dubbed the “St. Lucia Pitons Open Championship” takes place from 10:00am today.
According to Benny Chitolie the event promoter, founder and host, this year will see over 200 martial artists representing six countries: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique, the United States of America and host country St. Lucia, taking part.
He continued: “We are all excited as this marks eleven years of bringing a high level of participation, standard and development in martial arts to the practitioners in St. Lucia. Every year the competition gets tougher as the athletes develop; the prizes get better too and this year we have decided to incorporate championship belts and gold rings”.
Chitolie added, “This year we will witness a record number of 61 athletes from Martinique. This serves as a great opportunity for the St. Lucian athletes to compete and test their skills against some of the best athletes in the Caribbean. All clubs have been invited but as usual most of them are reluctant to participate because of fear of failure”.
He said it was worrying to see local clubs and martial artists who have been training for years letting these opportunities pass by as a result of lack of confidence.
Athletes compete in Kata, Sparring, Weapon Forms, Team forms and Sparring, Sport Jujitsu and the Championship events for all Black Belt 1st place winners.
Chitolie said, “This event also serves as a climax to the Association of Professional Martial Artists (APMA) Anniversary which commenced last year November with two local tournaments and an Awards Ceremony. We will be selecting the APMA National Squad from this championship to participate in the prestigious US open in Florida July 3-4.
He added, “This year we are also conducting seminars in KravMaga (the Israeli Combat System of Self Defence), Jujitsu and Kick Boxing by Professor Marty Cale, one of the International Head Founders of APMA. A number of Black Belt Students from the Chitolie’s Martial Arts Institute will also be grading in Combative Jujitsu. Master Jose Torres from the North American Federation of Martial Arts will also be on island to officially launch the Korean Style of Tang Soo Do under the APMA as Tang Soo Do St. Lucia.