Wednesday, March 25, 2009
This a rough initial account of the lineage of Tuam Karate Club. The details are as accurate as we can get at the moment, but over time we hope to fill in all the gaps and hunt down some more photos.
Tuam Karate Club dates back to 1977. It is one of the oldest Karate Clubs in Connaught and indeed the whole of Ireland. It was founded by Gerry Fleming, a student of Dennis Crowe – who was one of the earliest pioneers of Karate in Ireland, originally being taught by Sensei Cyril Cummins (now 7th Dan) in Birmingham, England in the 1960s. Gerry was the chief instructor for over a decade, from 1974 to 1985, during much of which time he was assisted by Noleen Potter. Celia Kelly then ran the club until 1989, and then passed it onto the leadership of Noel Flynn (1989 – 1992). Throughout the decade, Tuam was known as one of the strongest clubs in the country, having visits from many top Japanese instructors, such as Kanazawa Sensei and Kato Sensei (who was then Kanazawa’s official assistant). The club also played host to several All-Connaught Karate Championships over the years.
Celine King took over the running of the club for 7 years from 1992 – 1999, eventually having to pass the club on when she moved away from the area due to work commitments. The club’s most senior students, Gerard Clyne (2nd Dan) and Stacey Kelly then took charge. Sensei Gerard taught as head instructor for almost a full decade from 1999 until he moved with his wife to Beijing in 2008 to start a new life. In 2007, before he relocated to the United States, Sensei Joe King served as assistant instructor with Stacey Kelly while Gerard was travelling in Asia. Both Gerard and Joe return to their home town periodically and always make time to teach and train with us, something which all the students always anticipate eagerly.
Stacey Kelly, 2nd Dan, continues to teach and head the dojo to this day. She is primarily assisted by two brothers, Ben and Ian, who began training with the club at ages 8 and 5 respectively and have trained solidly there for some 13 years.
Tuam Karate Club has a long and distinguished history as a pioneer of Karate excellence. As we approach our 40 year anniversary, we hope to continue this legacy and build on this impressive history, helping the club and Karate in general grow and develop for many years to come in the Tuam area.
*If any former students of the club or anyone who attended events here is reading and feels they can help us elaborate on this history, please, please do get in contact with us. We hope to expand this section over time and include more photos and anecdotes as we collect them. OSU!