Brendan Donnelly began his Martial Arts career in 1979 training in traditional Karate and Kung-Fu. In 1982 he established the first “Full Contact”/ Kick-Boxing club in the Holy Family Boxing Club in Drogheda. Taking part in several full contact bouts he discovered that a lot of the traditional techniques needed to be adapted if they were to be effective in the “full Contact” arena.

At that time in Ireland the idea that you could be other than one of the established styles such as Wado-Ryu, Shotokan or Kenpo was unthinkable.

In 1982 Brendan began training with Sensei John Mc Grane in Dublin, Sensei Mc Grane having an open minded approach to Martial Arts, allowed Brendan to continue with the development of what he termed as “Free-Style” Karate.

Brendan , having being awarded his 1st Dan from Sensei John Mc Grane , established the Red Dragon Free Style Karate Club in Drogheda in 1984. The Club produced many champions in both full-contact and semi-contact competitions, indeed some of Brendan’s students have gone on to further develop his concepts of independent thinking within the Martial Arts and have established “systems” based on many of his original concepts.

In 1986 one of Brendan’s appointed Black-belts John Campbell opened a second club in Drogheda, to avoid confusion and wanting to explore new avenues Brendan renamed his club the Laconian Karate Club. Both clubs remained under the auspices of the Red Dragon Karate Association.

Laconian Karate

Laconian, meaning direct and straight to the point was the concept of Karate teaching Brendan wanted impart to his students.

The club concentrated mostly on full-contact training and took part and were successful in many “kick-boxing” competitions, however Brendan was still striving to achieve more reality in combat training and found “kick-Boxing” to be limited in its range of techniques in the ring.

Brendan and his fellow Black-belts started experimenting with “all out” full-contact which included leg kicks,throws,ground fighting, knee strikes and elbows, using techniques from Muay Thai. It was at this point having read an article in the English martial arts magazine “Combat” about Laconian Karate (1995 ) that Master Woody the European representative for Muay Thai, contacted Brendan with the hope that he could enter an Irish team in to the World Muay Thai Championships in Thailand.

Muay Thai

Always up for a challenge and wanting to find out more about Muay Thai, Brendan traveled to Germany and the U.K for intensive training in Muay Thai.

He set up a new full time Muay Thai training hall in Drogheda the “Contact Corner” which contained all the equipment needed to practice the art of Muay Thai including a full sized boxing ring.

In 1996 Brendan was appointed as National Representative for the International Amateur Muay Thai Federation and was responsible for taking the first Irish team ever to take part in the Amateur World Championships in 1996 and 1997.

The Oriental Martial Arts Academy founded by Sensei Mc Grane awarded Brendan with his 6th Dan on 28 June 1997.

From 2002 onward Brendan concentrated on his Karate training and teaching in Laytown, Co Meath. On the 15th of November 2006 he was awarded 4th Dan in the Traditional Karate Art of Seishinryoku Karate.

Brendan Donnelly receives his 8th Dan Karate from John Mc Grane Sensei 10th Dan and Tom Foley 9th Dan Shodai Soke, Kokuryu Kai Ireland
Brendan Donnelly receives his 8th Dan Karate from John Mc Grane Sensei 10th Dan and Tom Foley 9th Dan Shodai Soke, Kokuryu Kai Ireland

WKC ( World Karate & Kickboxing Council)

Brendan was appointed President of the WKC for Ireland in 2013. In October 2016 Sensei Donnelly was awarded his 8th Dan from the World Karate & Kickboxing Council.

Brendan also holds the grade of 3rd Dan in Kobudo.

In June 2015 Brendan was awarded the rank of Shodan by Sensei Don Madden.