Martial Arts Club land on their feet with new premises

By Maurice Garvey

HAVING established a successful martial arts club over the last 20 years in the heart of the village - it was with some trepidation that BMA Clondalkin owner and head coach Ilija Salerno began to seek out a new premises last year.

Formerly based in Clondalkin Enterprise Centre, Ilija and other business owners at the centre were “left in the dark” over plans by the landlord to build apartments on the site, which essentially forced him out of a settled base.

BMA Cldk 1 1

Ilija Salerno and Roy Baker at the new premises on the Ninth Lock

Deciding to move and finding a suitable new premises are two different things entirely. Luckily for Ilija and over 200 members at the club (with extensive waiting lists for most age groups), they have landed on their feet nearby in the Ninth Lock at the former site of the Mayfair Ballroom – one of the first nightclubs in Ireland.

While not open to the public yet due to lockdown restrictions, and awaiting connection from the ESB, Ilija was happy to breath a sigh of relief when The Echo spoke with him this week.

“Very happy, we were looking to move during 2020, somewhere close enough within walking distance of the old place, it was important to try and get a road facing premises,” he said.

BMA Clondalkin are now located upstairs at the Waterside on the Ninth Lock and lockdown provided the perfect time to undertake renovations to make the place ready for their members – albeit the new premises is shaped differently in an octagon format.

“It hasn’t been easy because construction is not open but it is pretty much finished now, we are just waiting on the ESB to connect us. Hopefully we can open when the guidelines allow us. We are still paying rent on the two places,” said Ilija.

“The old place was falling apart, the ceiling was falling in, there was mould, it was like an old dog. This new place is a big increase in rent but it is much better and has big potential. We have a main studio and also therapy rooms, acupuncture, holistic healing and physiotherapists.”

During lockdown, BMA Clondalkin considered outdoor classes but this wasn’t feasible due to factors outside their control and the need to change the insurance, which would lead to vastly increased costs.

BMA Clondalkin is extremely popular in the community with “huge waiting lists”, according to Ilija.

“All classes but particularly the 4-7 and 8-11 age groups are choc-o-bloc,” he said.

“It is a good complaint but we get messages everyday and don’t want to turn people away, so we try and keep in touch with people and let them know. Teenagers 12-14 train together and 15+ train as adults. Many adults - ladies and gents - like the non-contact classes, they just want to do some punching and kicking.”

The club have a small staff of two including manager Jade Gibbons plus assistant coaches help out and garda vetted parents volunteer with classes on a weekly basis.

Ilija still trains with his instructor, Ballyfermot man Roy Baker, who is President of Kickboxing Ireland and the World Association of Kickboxing Organisations (WAKO).

“It is a real help to the club to have parents volunteer. We also got good help from Clondalkin councillors during the move. We are part of the community in Clondalkin. The club here is set in stone. I don’t plan on going anywhere for the next 15 years at least.”

By subscribing to The Echo you are supporting your local newspaper Click Here: Echo Online.

Prev Man accused of pouring boiling water on his wife
Next Anti-social behaviour ‘is borne out of boredom and frustration’ from youths
  • Light House in Kilnamanagh gets decorated for Easter
  • Scrap yard fire Greenhills Road
  • A Happy St Patrick’s Day from Dublin Fire Brigade
  • Happy St Patrick's Day 2021
  • Food table in Tallaght

Will you watch the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah?

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content, provide social media features, analyse our traffic, show you relevant advertising and to target and report on ads. By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies that may process personal data for these purposes.