Sensei Deborah Jn. Baptiste is a practitioner of a brand of traditional Shotokan Karate developed by the late Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa of Japan who visited Saint Lucia in 2001. She has been a practitioner of Shotokan Karate for the past 30 years.
She holds the rank of 4th degree Black Belt from Shotokan Karate-do International Federation (SKIF-Japan) Headquartered in Japan. She is a Founding and Executive Member of Shotokan Karate-do International Federation Saint Lucia (SKIF-Saint Lucia) and Zanshin Karate Dojo. She is co-instructor with Sensei Ezra Jn. Baptiste at Zanshin Karate Dojo situated at Corinth Estate, Gros Islet.
Sensei Deborah has participated in several karate related activities at the national, regional, and international levels. These activities include national, regional, and international competitive karate. In 2009 she attained 6th place in the adult women (over 45 years) division for kata (over 20 competitors) at the SKIF-Japan Championships in Greece. Participation in the 5th SKIF Pan American Championships in 2004, and SKIF Trinidad & Tobago Goodwill Tournaments in 2008 make up some of her international experience.
Sensei Deborah has been instrumental in promoting the art of karate as an extra curricula activity in some schools in the Castries basin for the past 10 years. Her work and dedication at Dame Pearlette Louisy Primary School, Carmen Rene Memorial School, Tapion School, Corinth Secondary School, The Children’s Montessorri House, and Bonne Terre Prep School (assisting Sensei Eleonor Alexander), have resulted in an increasing number of children and youth participating in competitive karate events hosted by Karate Federation Saint Lucia in 2017, 2018, and 2019. She has served as judge and referee at the recently held national karate competitions. In recognition of International Women’s Day (IWD) 2014 Sensei Deborah organized SKIF Saint Lucia’s first International Women’s Day Self-defense Seminar for Female Karateka.
In recognition of IWD 2021, Sensei Deborah’s message to the women of Saint Lucia is that they should not shy away from an invitation to practice karate as a sport or as a form of recreation. Either way karate, offers an opportunity to gain knowledge and practice for self -protection. In other words, women should empower themselves with knowledge and skills to protect themselves. In this regard, it can be said that karate is a pathway to gender equality which is a key goal that societies around the world are trying to achieve. Karate practice is an integral part of the empowerment approach to self-protection as it offers the physical aspects of the approach. Strategies in self-protection such as awareness, assertiveness, and verbal confrontation skills in combination with safety strategies and physical techniques to prevent, resist, and escape violent assaults constitute the empowerment approach to self-protection.
Karate-do Federation Saint Lucia and its affiliate karate organizations salute Sensei Deborah as a pioneer in the women in karate movement in Saint Lucia. We invite the women of Saint Lucia to join the movement to become empowered for self-protection. Empowered Self Defense (ESD) for women is a pathway to gender equality in Saint Lucia and opportunities for women’s participation in ESD should be created.