Martial artists join forces for tsunami fundraiser event
SOME of Ireland's toughest martial artists displayed a softer side yesterday.
Masters of 11 different martial arts styles joined forces with GAA stars and professional boxers to host the Martial Arts Tsunami Support event, at the Tullamore Court Hotel in Offaly.
Japan's first secretary to Ireland Tatsuo Kitagawa expressed the "heartfelt gratitude from the people of Japan".
"This kind of event is a very, very good idea because in a way it promotes the culture, at the same time they are fundraising which is very generous for us," he said.
In terms of martial arts in Ireland he added, "It is a very unique event. . . here in the middle of the country it is a very nice surprise to me."
Through training and hard work, martial arts instills a strong resolve in people, added Mr Kitagawa.
While martial arts accounted for the mainstay of the event, musicians, origami experts, artists and entertainers all donated their time for the event.
The GAA was represented by Offaly footballer Niall McNamee and Kildare's Dermot Early who hosted children's competitions. Similar competitions were held by Kilkenny hurler, Eddie Brennan and Offaly's Shane Dooley.
Boxers from the Brian Peters Boxing Camp also took part, with former Olympian and European champion Paul Griffin.
"There's an affinity between those in martial arts and the Japanese," organiser Keith Caffrey said. "Once this event was suggested the feedback was very positive."