Monday, Jan 20, 2020
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MMA bonanza today at Kendal Isaacs

The Bahamas Open Martial Arts Championships is back, and organizer Kent Bazard expects it to be well attended and very successful.

The event is set for this morning at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. The Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) showcase, which will feature teams from here in The Bahamas and the United States, and will get underway at 11:00 a.m. and run until about 5-6:00 p.m.

“At this point we just want to encourage full participation,” said Bazard yesterday. “There are so many events available that can cover all aspects of martial arts here in The Bahamas. We have everything from the traditional forms to the empty hand forms, and from point fighting to continuous fighting. We’ll also feature grappling, sanda, and MMA as well.”

Bazard, a 2nd degree black belt in Shaolin Kung Fu and a 1st degree black belt in Hung Ga Kung Fu, studies at the Four Winds of Kung Fu Bai Sung Institution. The chief instructor there is Sifu Leonard Major, who will be conducting a Hung Ga demonstration (Tiger Crane) during the championships this afternoon.

“We’re expecting a real good turnout,” said Bazard. “Most of the teams this year are from the states, Illinois and New York, but there’s a MMA team from Abaco and teams from right here in New Providence as well. The team from Abaco, this is their first big competition so we’re excited to see how they’ll do. We’ll have kids from ages five straight on up so we expect it to be very well attended,” he added.

Bazard also specializes in MMA fighting and Chinese Sanshou, a hand-to-hand self-defense system and combat sport which combines full-contact kickboxing, wrestling, takedowns, throws, sweeps, kick catches, and in some competitions, even elbow and knee strikes. He’s also been doing a lot of promotion in terms of Karate and Kung Fu tournaments.

The lead-up to The Bahamas Open Martial Arts Championships actually started last night with a MMA seminar at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort. American MMA fighters Ron and James Hill from Chicago, Illinois, conducted a seminar for interested persons, demonstrating striking techniques from Chinese Sanshou, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Russian Sambo. The brothers are certified MMA instructors in the United States and have coached numerous American national teams. They are owners of the Suda MMA Academy in Chicago. Older brother Ron is also the president of the American Combat Grappling Association.

“We’re just going to basically cover each level of MMA,” said Ron yesterday, just a couple hours before the seminar. “We’ll focus on entry level for throws and takedowns, cover some stand-up techniques and ground fighting as well. We’re just going to break it down as best as we can within the time period that we have.”

Ron has practicing martial arts for 31 years, four more than his brother James.

Younger brother James said that he’s just expecting to have a good time here in The Bahamas while sharing some of his expertise as well.

“I know a lot of people here are ready to learn so we just came to lend our expertise. We’re really looking forward to it,” he said. “We’ve coached all over the globe, from Poland, Lithuania, Russian and China. This is our first time here. The weather, beaches… everything is nice here. We wish we could stay,” he added.

The black belt brothers are expected to make an appearance at The Bahamas Open Martial Arts Championships today, and are scheduled to leave on Monday. As for Bazard, he said that next year’s event will be even bigger as they are expecting a team from Brazil as well. Also next year, a MMA event, staged by the Society of Shotokan Stylists, is set for March, and a professional fight show hosted by the World Sanda League, is tentatively scheduled for the summer months.

Bahamian Coach Pinde
Paul de Souza, King