THE Evolution Martial Arts Academy from Kilkenny beat all the odds before they had even participated in the Super Grands World Games in California.
The martial arts team were due to fly from Dublin to Philadelphia on Christmas Eve but after over seven hours sitting on the tarmac their flight was cancelled. The next available flight out was on the morning of St Stephens day.
Christmas Day in hotel
After spending Christmas day in a hotel in Dublin they arrived in Philadelphia to be met by a blizzard. Another 24 hour delay in Philadelphia meant that after two years of training the athletes had already missed the first two days of the competition.
Good nights' sleep
They arrived in Sacramento on the evening of Monday December 27 and after a good nights sleep the Kilkenny team set about making up for lost time. They excelled in every event, winning titles, medals and even a place in the NBLK Hall of Fame.
Evolution Martial Arts Academy secured five world titles. Aisling Byrne, Mark Veldhuis, Mags Heffernan all proved themselves to be the best in the world while Teri Kruger won two seperate world titles.
Jack Beale, Joanne Coady and Julie Stakelum were all runner up in their discipline while Eugene O'Brien came second in two disciplines.
Bronze medals were secured by Aisling Byrne, Gary O'Farrell and Joanne Coady. Jason O'Keefe and Joanne Coady also secured a fourth place. Three fifth place finishes were secured, two by Aisling Byrne and one by Noel Stakelum. Teri Kruger got a sixth place finish.
'Cracker' in Hall of Fame
Joanne (Cracker) Coady also received a Rookie of the year award for her success in the last Super Grands and has now secured a place in the NBLK Hall of fame.
Evolution Martial Arts has classes to suit all ages and levels. Students are taught basic martial art skills, punches, blocks, kicks, self defence techniques in classes led by world class instructors and assisted by higher grade students from the advanced class.
They also run a Black Belt Club - Advanced karate class and invited intermediate students, where students skills are honed through intense training and rigorous routines.