Sligo was the venue last Saturday night for a national celebration of the martial arts sport of kickboxing that drew people from throughout the country as well as from as far away as the U.S. and Australia. It was a double celebration – the Mugendo Association of Ireland’s 25th anniversary and the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the Sligo Mugendo Kickboxing Club. The event, a special anniversary dinner dance, took place in The Clayton Hotel in Sligo. It included the presentation of an array of awards, among them to the more than 30 black belt recipients who graduated from the Sligo club over the past three decades. Among those who received awards were Pat Brennan from Doongeelagh, Geevagh, the first person from the Sligo club to obtain a black belt; Anthony Fallon, who returned from the United States for the occasion, Mercedes Taaffe who returned from Australia, and Aidan McSharry, father of world swimming champion Mona McSharry from Grange, in North Sligo. Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, native and Calry, Co Sligo resident Michael McDermott set up the Sligo Mugendo Club in 1987.
The Mugendo Association of Ireland was formed in 1991 by three men: McDermott, Stuart Beatty from Belfast and Desy Murphy from Armagh. Tributes and presentations were made to all three in acknowledgement of their commitment and dedication to their sport, and for their contributions to young people and their local communities.