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 contrinue with the developement 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 orginal concepts.
In 1986 one of Brendan's appointed Blackbelts John Campbel 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, 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 sucessful 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 Blackbelts started experimenting with "all out" full-contact which included leg kicks ,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.
Always up for a challenge and wanting to find out more about Muay Thai, Brendan travelled 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 Amatuer Muay Thai Federation and was responsible for taking the first Irish team ever to take part in the Amateur World Championships.
In 1998 Brendan's brother Michael took over the Role as National Representative while Brendan continued to travel back and forth to Thailand learning more about this fantastic art of Muay Thai and Thai culture.On A visit in 2002 Brendan met up with and studied under the tutelage Sensei Srisai 9th Dan Tomari-te, Free-style karate(4th Dan Seishinryu) and now visits at least once per year to update on his karate skills and techniques.
On 23rd December 2008 Brendan was awarded his 7th Dan (IMATF).