Happy 40th for Wexford kung fu and kickboxing

Master Yau with Bobby O'Neill after Bobby won his second world kickboxing title in 1989 in Graz, Austria
Master Yau with Bobby O'Neill after Bobby won his second world kickboxing title in 1989 in Graz, Austria
Master Yau, now 75-years-old, and Bobby at a recent training event

A poster in a Wexford shop window in 1977 advertised something never seen in Ireland before: a kung fu demonstration.

Held in Father Gaul's hall in Selskar, a packed crowd watched a team from a famous base in martial arts circles, Master Yau's gym, Birmingham.

Demonstrations with swords, spears, sticks and tridents introduced to Ireland the art of lau gar kung fu. In the crowd on that night was eleven-year-old Bobby O'Neill who now, 40 years later, is the chief instructor in Ireland, former world kickboxing champion, and coach to numerous national and international champions who have made their way through the club's doors over four decades.

Since 1977 the club has a proud history of involvement in the community and sporting life in Wexford. As well as producing numerous champions, the instructors and members are proud to have made a positive contribution to the health and well-being of our community through our activities including kung fu, kickboxing, self-defence and tai chi.

Instructor Bobby O'Neill said: 'As we celebrate 40 years, our membership is stronger than ever and our involvement at national and international level in the sports of Kickboxing and Kung Fu is more successful.

'In fact, this year alone no fewer than eight of our members, Junior and Senior, will travel to represent Ireland at the world kickboxing championships in the U.S.A.'

As part of the club's celebrations, they are hosting a special weekend training seminar with grand master Jeremy Yau (May 20 and 21), the world's foremost authority on lau-style kung fu and one of the most respected and successful coaches on the planet.

On Sunday, May 21, there will be a special barbeque in the Wexford Harbour Boat Club and all former members from over the years are welcome to attend and meet Master Yau.

Entertainment will nclude the Ballindaggin pipe band, Baz's magic show, a comedy spot by Barry O'Neill, and a rendition by operatic tenor James Bierney, who will perform a few numbers from his new album.

The fun starts at 4 p.m., and anyone interested in attending should message Bobby on 086-1807024.

Wexford People