Irish Champion Tae Kwon Do Master Cathal Fegan chats to Down News.
It’s a cold December evening and I’ve entered the Dojang training centre in Newry writes Kevin McAteer.
With mats on the ground , South Korean writing on the walls and a table with local children putting together some medals and trophies for the upcoming Ulster Tae Kwon Do Championships in Silverbridge this month. The atmosphere is electric with only a few weeks until Christmas. The children are having great fun and standing chatting to them is their Tae Kwon Do sensei (master, Master Cathal Fegan.
A ‘dojang’ in Korean is the training hall where they practice their martial arts.
Cathal has been doing Tae Kwon Do since he was five years old. He has climbed through the ranks, belt by belt, to become a 4th Dan black belt and now runs his own club, the Dojan, at Chequer Hill in Newry. There are over 100 members. It is a very successful club in its own right within the community.
When I asked Cathal about his own success he greets me with a smile and said: “I am the current Senior Mens All-Ireland Champion two years running and I’m placed third in the world.
““We have tried to target the nine community areas in Newry. Members take a great pride in their club and I’ve always insisted on an open door policy and intend to continue breaking down barriers and crossing the divide as we proudly welcome people from every aspect of our community regardless of race, religion, colour or creed.”
Coupled with the success of his own club spawning 15 world champions and 20 European champions, Cathal’s demeanor oozes success, in fact he craves it. Cathal has insisted his club is primarily community-based and added: “I believe Tae Kwon Do can give young people a life-skill, discipline, respect for others, awareness and self confidence. We aim to take kids off the streets and away from spending hours on the computer.
“To try and build a more peaceful world… that is one key aim. It is a very strong message and a wonderful inspiration for many children across the district.”
It seems that Tae Kwon Do and the determination of Cathal have had every success in getting children off the street and into a sport that keeps them fit, active and instils a level of respect for one’s elders. Cathal has told me that one of the main aims of Tae Kwon Do is “to build self-respect and respect for other people.”
With Cathal’s success it was only inevitable that he started his own social media prescence and has launched a podcast, something he has talked about for years.
Cathal said: “There was no sounding board for Martial Artists or anyone locally to talk about fitness, nutrition and Martial Arts. After careful planning and organising the ‘One Hit‘ podcast, the platform has been born and I’m very enthisiastic about it.
” ‘One Hit‘ comes from the Tae Kwon Do way of trying to hit your opponent once as once should be enough.”
It is very easy to see how Cathal Fegan’s Schools of Tae Kwon Do have flourished from one club in Silverbridge to an array of clubs in Newry, Newtownhamilton and Louth Village.
From Personal Training, IUR FM Radio and the ‘One Hit‘ podcast it has been a busy 2019 for Cathal Fegan with lots more plans in the coming year. I wished him all the very best for the year ahead.
You can catch Cathal at the Dojang in Newry or on their facebook page.
You can catch the ‘One Hit‘ podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Anchor.