DUNDALK’S Martial Arts School of Fitness recently spent the weekend in the CityWest at the Irish Open Competition. Catering for 2900 competitors from over 36 countries, it surpassed all others to become the world’s biggest Open kickboxing competition.
MAS-F had eight Junior/Cadet students entering 11 divisions. Ranging in age from six-years to 17-years, the students competed in weapons, forms and point-fighting, showing dedication and energy each time.
Enda Kelly, Darren O’Donogh and Monique Martin entered the forms and weapons divisions against 250 competitors including World Champions from 10 countries and three continents. Each student ranked in the top five of their individual sections against some of the toughest opponents they have ever faced.
Callum O’Connor, who at six-years of age was MAS-F’s youngest entrant, fought and won his first ever fight in this competition. Conor O’Murchu, Matthew McQuillan and Tomas Flanagan all fought well up against a high standard of competition, with Lee Flanagan winning his first two rounds only to be put out in the third round. Each of the boys divisions held over 30 competitorswith high ranking fighters taking the overall golds.
Chief Instructor Wayne Rutherford is continually humbled at the dedication and respect his students display when competing at this level.
To step onto the mats at the world’s largest tournament is not an easy move, but to compete with such energy and enthusiasm, displays the joy the students derive from displaying their abilities and challenging themselves consistently. Each student is already looking forward to next year’s competition
In the meantime, training continues in the Jocelyn Street Martial Arts Centre for the upcoming Senior and Junior Irish National Championships where a number of students will compete for Irish titles and coveted positions on the National Kickboxing team.