There needs to be more unity among the various martial arts federations in Barbados in order for the sport to progress in the island.
This is the view of president of the Barbados Wushu Tai Chi Federation, Rollins Alleyne, who said people needed to move away from being so narrow-minded towards the sport.
“The narrow mindset of people here [in Barbados] is that they do not understand sports. They do not understand true martial arts. Here in Barbados people bickering and they cannot get along and we need to come together in order for the sport to grow. I am open-minded when it comes to martial arts. I am not interested in what style you practise. I look for talent. You do not have people with the type of thinking that would go out there and look for talent and we need more talent,” he said.
The veteran martial artist explained that the knowledge of the sport should be passed down and there were many persons who believed that because they founded a particular style of martial arts that the style must die with them and that was not the way it should be.
In order for local talent to be discovered, Alleyne told Barbados TODAY the sport needed more competitions on the island like the recent Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
“We need more competitions and more confidence because I am sure he [Shackeem] is not the same person because it boosts your confidence and makes you want to compete more. So we need more competitions like mixed martial arts and grappling to get people involved in the sport and boost their confidence. But it cannot happen if people are narrow-minded,” Alleyne said.
Alleyne advised parents, especially fathers, to support their children in sports and made reference to 16-year-old Shackeem Mascoll who earned his first international silver medal for Barbados at the just concluded Tenth Pan American Wushu Championships held in Costa Rica. Alleyne said in the presence of Mascoll and his father Sylvan Mascoll that the island needed more people like Shackeem to compete.
The former Frederick Smith Secondary student said it was great representing Barbados even though he was a bit nervous being the only representative for Barbados. He said competing in martial arts was something he always wanted to be a part of.
“It was a great experience and it feels good to actually win silver in a tournament which had more experienced fighters than me. I have always watched my father train from young. I started martial arts at age six and I enjoy competing because it is exciting most of the time. Sometimes one can get a bit nervous but after competing for a while you get over it,” the current brown belt student said with a smile.
Mascoll said he had goals of achieving a scholarship to study overseas and at the same time compete in various martial arts tournaments.