Bridging Web design, martial arts and habitat

Today's-FutureName: Kyio Bridgeman.

Kyio Bridgeman
Kyio Bridgeman

Age: 29.

Education: University of the West Indies, Cave Hill; Barbados Community College;

Christ Church Foundation School.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Science in computer science; Associate degree in mathematics and environmental science.

Occupation: entrepreneur, martial arts professional and teacher, IT professional and Web designer.

You just picked up a magazine, and in it is a summary of Kyio Bridgeman. What would it say?

Young Barbadian man who has both vision and a wealth of knowledge beyond his years. He has dedicated his life to the development of himself and also those around him.

Successful businessman, martial artist, trainer and effecter of social change, empowering those around him to strive for better in their lives and the lives of other around them.

Which four words best describe you?

Strong-willed, kind-hearted, wise, sincere.

What drives you and keeps you motivated?

The desire to become a father figure and role model that other people, especially males, can look up to. I love sharing my personal experiences with others, so they could learn from my successes and failures. I really believe the mistakes that I have made should not be made by those around me.

Life is a continuous learning stage, and it is easier when you learn from the success and failures of other.

After completing fifth form at Christ Church Foundation School, you pursued an Associate degree in mathematics and environmental science. These subjects seem as an unusual combination. Why combine the two?

The Barbados Community College being a whole new stage in my life, I decided to try something new. Environmental science was my first choice, since I love science and love learning about nature. The reason behind adding mathematics was very simple; the head of the Science Department chose mathematics for me.

This at first was a choice I did not like, but due to the fantastic mathematics teachers at this institution (especially Miss Parris and Mr Degia), I developed a love for mathematics. Also Mr Coppin and Dr Griffith helped me realize how these two subjects could be used in understanding natural events that occur –– Mr Coppin through his easy-to-understand approach to environmental science and Dr Griffith through a statistical course in environmental science.

After BCC you pursued a BSc in computer science at UWI. What inspired this change in subject area?

After BCC, I felt like I could learn anything. Owing to this, I decided to take up a subject I always loved –– computer science, specifically programming. This was something that I didn’t
do fantastically in at CXC level, but was encouraged to continue pursuing by Dr Gill, a previous computer science teacher at the Foundation School.

This was further encouraged by Dr Husein Thompson, Dr Adrian Als and Dr Elcock.
It wasn’t an easy path; but with these lecturers it was a bit easier, knowing that they saw talent in me.

Technology has taken over the world, and the industry continues to grow. What are your thoughts on how our IT programmes from secondary school through to tertiary can be amended to support where the industry is going, especially in the area of app development?

We see our children using and mastering technology at earlier stages of development each year. Unfortunately, this is mostly only at a consumer level. It is my belief, through the implementation of IT programmes and after-school activities we can change these young consumers into young creators.

Doing this would also open up new usage of cellphones in school. This would take a refocusing of these existing programmes to a more interactive hands-on approach
and not just the classic approach of parts of a computer and basic computer arithmetic. An early understand of app development, the development cycle and app testing should be planted earlier in the students learning career.

Tell us about Bridgeman Design Studio and the vision behind why you started it?

Bridgeman Design Studio is a concept I had from when I was younger. It came about when I was working at UWI in the Educational Media Services. There I was able to work with persons who had a wealth of knowledge and was able to pass some of their knowledge onto me.

From them I was able to pick up skills in video recording and editing, photo editing and logo design and organizational skills for print media, just to name a few. As a result of taking on projects, I was able to further my skills, which encouraged me that this could be developed into a business.

The vision behind Bridgeman Design Studio is to bring the best industry quality to the client from start to finish. My vision is that when Bridgeman Design Studio is finished with a client, his/her product will reflect the quality and service standard being offered –– from business card to social media presence.

With the easy access to technology and software, many people are tending towards doing their own logos, designs and Web design, primarily to skip the cost. As a person in the profession, what are your thoughts on this?

With the economy how it is, cutting cost is understood. The sad thing is, sometimes cutting cost leads to a loss in quality. When it comes to doing logos for a business (or even just a social group), it should be understood that there are things everyone would look for. These are things that are non-verbal cues to the customer, and portray the business in different ways.

Personnel trained in design (through institutions or experience) know of the dos and don’ts of the game. They know which fonts look better to the eye, which colours portray specific characteristics to a potential customer; and also how to make a design that would stand the test of time. This knowledge is invaluable and cannot be learnt overnight. As such, instead of playing lotto with your graphics, it is in your best interest to make a choice that is a more tested approach.

If you could be a superhero, which one would you be and why?

Batman is an easy winner. I prefer the approach of being a human striving to greatness over greatness trying to be human. Batman went through his own struggles and has a much more intellectual disguise. After all, who is fooled by a curl and afraid of green rocks? Not Batman.

If you were marooned on an island, what three things would you definitely want to have?

Electrical supply, a laptop and a training partner. It would be nice to get in some personal training time on such a vacation.

Choose one. Sodabix or Eclipse?

Eclipse all the way.

Soccer or basketball?

Basketball. I am better with my hands than I am kicking a ball; plus my left foot is terrible at kicking balls.

Action movie or comedy?

Action all the way –– especially a good hand-to-hand fight scene.

Apple or Samsung?

This is hard overall. I am Apple for laptops, but Samsung for its openness. They can both learn from each other, Apple opening up; Samsung about security.

Martial arts play a significant part in your life. Where did it all begin and what has kept you in it all these years. Which form of the art do you practise?

Always loved watching martial arts movies, especially the ones with samurais in them. From young I liked being able to do things others weren’t able to; and the idea of mastery of the body and mind always was an enticing thought. Any male growing up always wants to be the strongest, the fastest, the best; and I was no different. I also had a lot of family members who practised the arts.

More than just that though, growing up in England for seven years, often racism would lead to young white kids beating up on young Blacks. This is something I experienced, and decided I wanted to get strong enough to defend my friends and myself.

From early, my mum taught me how to take a punch in the stomach and how to throw a proper one. Coming to Barbados play-fighting was more relaxed, and most kids at my primary school (Cuthbert Moore) thought I did martial arts, which I really wanted to, but my mother wouldn’t allow for fear of my being injured.

It wasn’t until I was at the Foundation Secondary School that I was able to join a martial arts club. The Shaolin Dragons Kungfu School helped me to become stronger and have a better understanding of myself and others.

What keeps me training is simple: the thrill of fighting someone better than I am. Each time you meet someone that is better than you, you will always see a level that is attainable –– attainable with right preparation and knowledge of the path to get there.

You are now an instructor and president of the Shaolin Dragons Kung-Fu School. What led to this?

Well, firstly I thought it was due to circumstance, since my start in instructing was due to my older training partners moving on in life. So I carried on helping my instructor Sensei Traci-Lynn Gittens train students who joined.

After a while I realized I had a natural gift for teaching martial arts and through the preparation and leadership of my sensei, I accepted the mantle of leadership when it was passed on to me.

There are many martial art forms taught in Barbados: judo, karate, jujitsu, shotokan, taekwando, muay thai and wushu, to name a few. What makes kung fu different from the others?

Classically, kung fu is a balance between the use of the hands and feet in combat, whereas karate tends to be more hand use, and taekwondo more of the feet. The reason I say classically is because in modern times, the arts have incorporated many different aspects. In this regard my style has animal forms.

This is the use of the body to mimic the fighting style of particular animals –– some of these being tiger, scorpion and cobra. Also, we teach weapon use, some of which are batons, knives and swords.

In 2015, you represented Barbados at the International Sanda Championships in Mexico. How did you do at the championships? What was the experience like?

Sanda is an open sports event. It is a mixture of kickboxing with judo and wrestling throwing techniques. All you have to do is abide by the combat rules and you can participate.

The training for the Sanda Championships was a great experience. There were many days of hard training and sparring in preparation for this event. My training was handled by the president of Sanda Barbados, Rollins Alleyne; chief coach of Barbados, Sylvan Mascoll; with some training from Shaka Henry in boxing and great training partners like Justin Taylor, Lemar Tull and Shackeem Mascoll (winner of a bronze at the same event). These guys really pushed me far beyond what I thought I was able to do.

The experience in Mexico was amazing, the level of competition was at that not seen in Barbados and the camaraderie between participants from around the globe was amazing. Although language was frequently a barrier, our appreciation for fighting was seen as the bonding glue between us.

As a first timer, I performed well. I won the first round of my fight relatively easily, but unfortunately my fight was called off due to injury to my left eye. This was caused by a well placed kick which had slipped into my eye.

You are now a certified Level 1 United World Wrestling coach. I know you are a kung fu professional. How did wrestling get into the picture?

Wrestling is an Olympic sport. It can open doors to many Barbadian youth to represent the country and also show them the potential they have within themselves. For me, wrestling is another form of outreach I can use to positively influence the outlook of the youth I interact with.

This marries nicely to the vision I have as it pertains to the purpose of combative arts, where something that is perceived as violence can be taught to an individual to help them learn to resolve issues in non-violent ways. Also, the prospect of developing a person to be able to represent their country has a fantastic feel to it.

What’s next for Kyio? What are some of your goals for 2016?

I am focused on my personal and career development, and furthering my education in the area of iOS and Android app development.

In martial arts, I am looking to extend my knowledge of the art and its techniques. For my club The Shaolin Dragons Kung-Fu School, I am training more fighters to represent
Barbados at the international level in Sanda and extending the combat arts to incorporate and facilitate wrestling.

Most certainly there will be more development in Bridgeman Design Studio.

Whom would you like to thank for contributing to your development and success?

Special thank goes to all the staff of the Educational Media Services and Classroom Technology Services of UWI, Cave Hill, Campus.

For my martial arts development, Traci-Lynn Gittens (Sensei Gittens); Shaolin Dragons students and training partners; Rollins Alleyne, president of Sanda Barbados League; Sylvan Mascoll, chief sanda coach; Shaka Henry; coaches Sylvan Mascoll and Garon Wilkinson and Sanda training family; Roland Jones, MMA (mixed martial arts) coach –– Jones MMA Academy; Albert Best, president of Sparta Fight League; Paul and the Budokaido instructors for helping me with jujitsu techniques; my parents, friends and family.

(If you are a young Barbadian professional or know of any worthy of being highlightedfor their amazing contribution,
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