Galway can now boast the first dedicated taekwon-do centre in Connacht after a new academy opened its doors on Saturday 26th March. Located at Glenrock Business Park in Ballybane Industrial Estate, The Connacht Taekwon-do Academy’s purpose built arena features a 1,600ft training area, ladies’ and gents’ shower rooms, a waiting area for parents and visitors with a window offering a full view of the dojang.
The school is run by Shane Fitzgibbon and Lisa Connolly. Shane is a 6th Dan black belt. A science graduate from NUI Galway, he is also a qualified sports instructor with ITEC. He is the longest-serving (12 years ) captain of the Irish Senior Male team and has represented Europe three times, winning gold on each occasion. He has also won 16 world medals in 10 years, four of them gold.
Ms Connolly is a 4th Dan black belt and also teaches at the school. She is one of fewer than ten people in Ireland to acquire a black belt in less than two years as well as being a former Irish and British Taekwon-do champion. Both tutors are Certified International Instructors, examiners and international referees.
The new centre illustrates the burgeoning interest in the sport, with the move essential to create more training space. The academy also required extra training hours for it’s impressive number of participants in the World Championships.
At the recent championships in UK., the school supplied five candidates, each of whom returned with a medal, including two golds. At the previous championships in Korea, Connacht Taekwon-do Academy sent six participants, and again all arrived home bearing medals, on this occasion with one gold. Given that only three from each category in the country can qualify, it’s a remarkable achievement and encapsulates the quality of the training provided at the school.
They cater for people of all ages, with children as young as five coming to learn the art. Progress can be swift, the average adult can acquire black belt status within three-four years, although Shane stresses that extra training and dedication can make the process even quicker.
As well as the fitness benefits associated with the sport, Connacht Taekwon-do Academy also offers to assist people in lifestyle choices and try to encourage proper nutrition. In addition to advice on diet, they are also an agency for the world’s number one selling multi-vitamin company and even offer a money back guarantee on the products.
The impressive facility is located at Unit 7, Glenrock Business Park, Ballybane Industrial Estate, and is available to rent to any other martial arts classes or fitness groups and offers a rate per hour that is considered the best in Galway. Over the next few weeks they will be offering a number of separate activities, e.g. callanetics taught by Teresa Coen. Callanetics exercise tightens and reshapes your whole body while increasing strength, flexibility and body alignment. This form of exercise is ideal for people of all ages, and students exercise safely and virtually injury-free. Classes start on April 11, 3 days per week. Kathorina Gavin, Zumba and fitness instructor, will be starting classes after Easter. Both can be booked through the Academy.