Fears that martial arts club may have to permanently close

By Aideen O'Flaherty

MEMBERS of Tallaght Martial Arts have put their best foot forward for a month-long kickathon in aid of the club, with the final kicks being tallied on November 30.

Like many other local clubs and groups, the lockdown has put a strain on Tallaght Martial Arts, to the extent that when the second lockdown began there were fears that the club might have to permanently close.

TMA photo original c Liz White 1

Members of Tallaght Martial Arts Kickboxing Club

However, the club’s members stepped into the breach with a variety of fundraising initiatives, including raffles and cupcake sales, with the kickathon being the last fundraiser – which the members hope will secure the future of the club, which has 200 members.

Melissa Holden, a member of Tallaght Martial Arts, told The Echo: “The members have all come together to do the kickathon.

“Every single person in the club has gotten behind it, whether it’s the 43 people who are doing the kickathon, or the members who shared and donated to the GoFundMe page.”

The 43 kickathon participants range in age from children as young as three- and four-years-old up to adults in their 40s, and at the time of going to print over 250,000 kicks had been logged.

It is hoped that when the final kicks are tallied on November 30 a total of 380,000 kicks will have been done by the members.

Whitestown-based Tallaght Martial Arts, which is owned by Dave Heffernan and Martin Bannon, has three groups under its umbrella, namely TMA Tallaght, TMA Blessington and TMA Kombat, and the prospect of its closure caused members to start fundraising.

Ms Holden added: “Unless people are physically able to attend the club, then the club can’t survive – they still have to pay rent and rates on the premises [even though it’s closed for lockdown].

“When we went into the second lockdown, it got to the point where the club wouldn’t be able to survive.”

Explaining why the club is so important to the members, Ms Holden remarked: “It’s a club for all ages, from three-year-olds up to 75-year-olds and it’s strongly family orientated.

“I train with my husband and my children, and it’s like that across the board for the other members.”

While Tallaght Martial Arts has been running Zoom classes, during which many participants add to the kick tally, the members are determined to make sure the club’s physical presence will still be there when the lockdown ends.

“I genuinely think that if you look at the kickathon and the other fundraisers, it shows how much the club means to everyone – I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have the club,” said Ms Holden.

“If we keep going as we are with the fundraiser, then we’ll be in a much stronger position.

“Doing this has kept us all together and has given us a focus.”

The kickathon ended on November 30, and donations are being accepted on the club’s GoFundMe page at www.tinyurl.com/TMAkickathon.

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