Taylor thrown in at deep end
SEIDO Karate fighter Greagon Taylor has been thrown in at the deep end of the martial arts pool for the April 29 to May 3 International Sports Kickboxing Association (ISKA) World Championships in Portimao, Algarve, Portugal.
The 31-year-old Jamaica combined martial arts team invitee will make his international debut in what has been described by coach Jason McKay as "a baptism of fire" in Europe.
Heavyweight Taylor was selected as an invitee to the 2015 combined team squad after winning the grand champion title at the 2014 Jamaica Seido Open.
As an invitee, he will be given chances to compete internationally with the combined team, during which, points earned will go towards full qualification for the 2016 season.
The former Edwin Allen High School athlete is ecstatic that he was chosen to represent Jamaica, never mind he will be going up against the world's best ISKA fighters in Portugal.
"It's a big deal, the fact that, ultimately, the only way to represent Jamaica, as a member of the martial arts community, is to become a member of the combined team," Taylor said on Thursday.
"Yes, you can compete in the Olympics, but the combined team is almost the pinnacle of what can be achieved in Jamaica as a member of the martial-arts community," he added.
Taylor will become the fourth Seido fighter to make the combined team, following Peter Brooks, Bruce McFarlane and Omar Rose.
McKay, founding member and former captain, said Taylor has big shoes to fill.
"First, there was Brooks, one of the team's founding members. McFarlane is one of the most accomplished combined team members ever, and Rose competed for many seasons," McKay pointed out.
Taylor, however, said he was not fazed by names nor will he be overwhelmed in Europe.
"Bruce has been around for a while. I am not filling any shoe. I represent myself and Jamaica. I am Greagon, not Bruce.
"Jamaica, in general, has some of the world's best fighters. We've seen it over the years when we participate at various championships. I have done well at past tournaments and don't see why this should be different," he added.
After seven years as a Seido fighter, making the combined team and representing Jamaica is a dream come true for Taylor.
"I am always happy to contribute in whatever capacity for Jamaica. I was an athlete in high school and lost the opportunity to represent Jamaica because of injury. It's a fulfilling feeling to represent Jamaica, a wonderful feeling," said the first-degree black belt.