Karateka from JKS Ireland Clubs nationwide descended on Swords, Dublin last Sunday for National Squad Training and the highly anticipated Squad Selection to represent Ireland at the European Karate Championships in Belgium. The Championships will take place in Hasselt on the 1st, 2nd & 3rd of September.
It was a tough training session over 2.5 hours, which saw the participants cover key elements for competition in Kata as well as Kumite. Dermot O'Keeffe Sensei, Chief Instructor of Swords Karate Club & Head of JKS Karate in Ireland coached Kata through the first half of the morning and imparted valuable guidance to the attendees from his own experiences as a several time World & European Champion.
Martin McNamee Sensei, Chief Instructor of 3 Rivers Karate Club, Lifford, coached Kumite in the latter half of the session and continued his energetic and challenging workouts that have become much loved by all the Squad! Martin Sensei has a huge wealth of coaching at Competition Level evidenced by the regular success of his own students at both National and International Level and all the Squad members are benefiting hugely from his knowledge and experience.
Declan Houston Sensei from Strabane Karate Club was on hand on the day also, to guide the attendees on the tatami during matches and share his wisdom and knowledge of Kumite refereeing. This is important information to add to the developing Squad, especially for younger members who have not competed internationally before.
The morning also saw the use of live social media coverage for the first time on Facebook & Twitter as volunteers in the club hone their media skills ahead of the Europeans so that supporters back home will be able to watch live while Team Ireland are competing.
The anticipated Squad selection comes after three intensive Squad trials in recent months. The Squad Development Plan is showing dividends with over 60 students from clubs nationwide trying out for the Squad this year, an increase of 20% on last year. Several senior JKS Instructors were part of the Squad Selection process and all are pleased to announce the following 31 JKS members to represent Ireland at the JKS European Championships 2017:
Darragh Muckell (Limerick Shojinkai)
Darragh O'Sullivan (Limerick Shojinkai)
Pawel Cyganik (Shannon SKC)
Emma Dolan (3 Rivers, Lifford)
Jamie Lee Simpson (3 Rivers, Lifford)
Ciaran Crawford (3 Rivers Lifford)
Natasha Doherty (3 Rivers Lifford)
Cian Burrowes (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Ali O'Keeffe (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Brian Leahy (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Simon Melouah (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Athar Farooqi (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Ahmad Farooqi (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Ashad Farooqi (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Gess Kolkovskij (Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Ruta Gaizutyte (West Tallaght Karate Club)
Geri Friel (Strabane Shotokan)
Jack Donaghy (Strabane Shotokan)
Ruben Dunbar (Strabane Shotokan)
Ellie McFadden (Strabane Shotokan)
Vinny Clarke (JKS Drogheda Louth)
Rowen O Hara (Saggart Karate Club)
Thom Maguire (Saggart Karate Club)
Cormac Maguire (Saggart Karate Club)
Neil O Sullivan (Ballybay SKC Monaghan)
Lukas Girdenis (Ballybay SKC Monaghan)
Dermot O'Keeffe (Official Hokubu Dojo Swords)
Petre Florea (Official Kodo Dojo Dublin)
Declan Houston (Official Strabane Shotokan)
Martin McNamee (Squad Coach)
Marie Reynolds (Squad Support)
Congratulations to all selected and well done to everyone who tried out for the Squad. The Squad will continue intensive training both in their home clubs and at National sessions where the emphasis will be on further developing their skills and building a strong team spirit ahead of competing at the Championships. Gambatte Everyone & Ireland Abú!