Laois Martial Arts, established in 2007 by Mountmellick native Shane Culleton, has continued to go from strength-to-strength since the club’s inception.
Laois’ primary kickboxing club for both Light Contact Kickboxing and Point Fighting, Laois Martial Arts now boasts 60 members of all varying ages at their base in Mountmellick.
Culleton, a school teacher by trade, is the founder, teacher and driving force behind the club that caters for those with no experience whatsoever to those with black belts.
“The club has a great facility that is ours full time. This allows us to train efficiently and in a more focused way, creating a professional training environment in which maximum development can take place”, explained Culleton.
Shane, a former Irish Kickboxing Champion and International Competitor who holds 5th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and a 4th Degree Black Belt in Kickboxing, grew up in Mountmellick and has made Laois Martial Arts the most successful and longest-running Kickboxing club in the county:
“I can recall so many different clubs opening up and closing, which led me to the conclusion that if a person is not linked to the community and invested in it, they will move on pretty quickly.
“As soon as I got my Black Belt, I knew exactly what I was going to do. I wanted to create something that would be long-lasting and become part of the community while sharing the sport that had given so much to me”
Shane attributes this to the great support he receives across the county, in particular, the community of Mountmellick and the immediate areas. The local Parish Priest, Fr. Michael Murphy, has had a huge impact on the success and growth of the club since he joined the parish in 2013.
The club’s base is in the landmark Town Hall on Parnell Street in Mountmellick. The building itself is over 150 years old and is steeped in history.
In line with the community support that has weighed in behind the club, Culleton attributes the success of the club to various initiatives that they have implemented within the club.
“We have a coaching initiative, community initiative, fighters initiative as well as a life skills initiative. All of the latter form a strong success process that ensures that all club members reach their full potential, both as Kickboxers and as people going forward in life”.
The club has built a reputation for creating some of the best fighters on the National and International scene. The club has multiple Irish champions and world medal holders in both Light Contact and Point Fighting, competing in over 12 domestic events per year as well as international events and has several of Ireland’s youngest Black Belts in Kickboxing.
Although the club has developed a great fighting pedigree, Culleton states that there is much more to the club than just fighting.
“We have many students ranging from kids to adults that train just for fun and as a hobby. This is a key part of any club. All training starts out as fun as well as something social to do and as something positive for kids and adults to do.
“Our motto at Laois Martial Arts is to always have fun, keep the environment positive and motivating while ensuring that all our members learn to set and achieve their goals within Kickboxing. This teaches our members one of the most important life skills, goal setting.”
The club continues to excel across the board and compete at the highest level. Four club grading examinations took place this year with a total of over 80 students receiving a belt from Laois Martial Arts.
For parents, the club is a safe and positive environment where kids can come and develop, both socially and physically. For teenagers and adults, it is a fun environment free from the stresses of daily life.
Culleton places a huge emphasis on the latter as the world we live in today is full of stress and often daily negativity, and he tries to provide an outlet and hobby for people of all ages.
For details on Kickboxing in Co. Laois, contact Shane on 086-3399287 or Facebook at Laois Martial Arts.