Ancient Irish martial arts revival in rural Fermanagh

A UNIQUE form of martial art is currently taking place in Mullaghdun. Irish stick fighting, traditionally called ‘Bataireacht’ is now taught in the local hall. 
Bernard Leddy, the man who hopes to breathe new life into this old martial art in Fermanagh has spoken out of his plans to bring the traditional sport back to Ireland, starting with a group in Mullaghdun. 
“There’s competitions around the world and Ireland is the only country not represented and I want to change that. This is my passion, bringing this native martial art back to Ireland,” he said. 
Traditional Irish Stick Fighting is a very old martial art, perhaps one of the oldest in the world. Bernard explained that its roots date back to Celtic sword fencing. 
“It’s a full contact martial art. The martial art itself is more boxing style, so there’s stick punches, rather than strikes. We use sticks, our fists and feet as well. It’s very well rounded self defence,” he said.
Explaining the how he got involved in stick fighting Bernard said, “I come from a long martial arts background, including this, I hold four other black belt level martial arts qualifications. I’ve been doing martial arts for forty odd years.” 
After having been out of martial arts for two years Bernard decided it was time to get stuck in again, but remarked that anything he went to see or do was similar to what he had done before. “I thought rather than looking at Japanese or Chinese culture I’ll look at Irish culture and that’s when I found Irish stick fighting. 
“I found it on the Internet, researched it, and found the only guy doing it was Glen Doyle.” 
Bernard joked, “I phoned up my bank manager said I was going to max out my credit card, booked a flight and off I went to Toronto and had an awesome time finding out more.”
Mullaghdun is the first stick fighting group Bernard has set up since moving ‘back home’. 
The club which started just under two months ago and is open to both men and women over the age of 13.

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