Dungloe Public Service Centre hosted a special event yesterday evening when family, friends and supporters of world champion Josie Murray came together to celebrate his outstanding achievements.
This event was hosted by Cathaoirleach Cllr. Terence Slowey and the elected members of Glenties Municipal District and was held in recognition of Josie’s outstanding achievements in Martial Arts and the contribution he has made to Martial Arts in Donegal, in Ireland and at an international level.
In his address Cathaoirleach Cllr. Terence Slowey outlined the many achievements, titles and accolades that Josie achieved throughout his life. “The list is so long” said Cllr Slowey “we have had to print and circulate a copy for each of you to read as there are just too many titles and achievements to read through”.
Josie, who is originally from Keadue, Burtonport, has represented Donegal and Ireland at the highest level in Jiu-Jitsu and has win 9 World Gold Medals, 4 Silver Medals and 1 Bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 2001 to 2016.
He is also proprietor of well known establishment Josie’s Country Tavern in Lettekenny and has won the All Ireland Rock ‘n’Roll Jiving Championships 8 times.
Josie started his Jiu-Jitsu training in Burtonport with Josie Kyles in Atemi Jiu-Jitsu. He then went to England and trained with the British Jiu-Jitsu Governing Body and quickly received his First Dan Black Belt under Richard Morris 10th Dan.
He founded the Donegal Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Donegal Cobra Kai Kickboxing Club. The first Irish Cup was held 20 years ago and Josie has won it 5 times.
In 1999 he was the first Irish man in Martial Arts to bring the famous Gracie Family to the 32 counties - Carley Gracie, Ralph Gracie, Carlson Gracie, Royce Gracie, and Rolker Gracie. This visit inspired many and today there are hundreds of Jiu-Jitsu Clubs throughout Ireland.
Josie runs his own club in Letterkenny and Derry and also teaches children with autism and other disabilities and raises funds for many charities.
Many students and teachers from all around the world come to train with Josie every year. Josie travels all over Ireland, Europe and America to give seminars and teaches his own style of Jiu-Jitsu called Empty Force Jiu-Jitsu.
Josie has trained with many champions both in Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing and his wife Theresa holds 2 Gold World Jiu-Jitsu medals also.
Josie travelled to Orlando, Florida, to be tested by the World Head Soke Council. There were 12 Grandmasters of all styles on this Board and he had to demonstrate his art and had to prove how effective his art is and it is no surprise that Josie passed the test with flying colours!!
He has appeared on the front cover of 7 Martial Arts Magazines. He has won the Donegal Sport Star Awards 3 times. He was Top Teacher within the United Nations of Jiu-Jitsu for 16 years. He was the first Donegal man to be inducted into the 14th Annual USA International Black Belt Hall of Fame.
Josie has trained with the likes of Steven Segal and Chuck Norris and he starred in a movie in L.A. California “Kill Factor” with Director Leo Fong, student and personal friend of Bruce Lee.
Following a personal address by each member of the Glenties Municipal District, Josie Murray was presented with a special scroll marking the occasion of this special reception.
Cllr. Slowey described Josie Murray as a wonderful role model for the people of Donegal and said “whilst Josie has achieved worldwide recognition in his field, he remains a modest and humble person. He is a person who is proud of his Donegal roots and is proud to call Donegal home”.
Speaking at the event Josie Murray thanked everyone for attending and thanked Cllr. Terence Slowey and all the elected members of Glenties Municipal District for bestowing this honour on him. He said that even though he has won gold medals on the world stage and that he is very proud of each and every one of them, there is no feeling like being acknowledged and recognised in your own area and in your own county and he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to everyone that attended the reception.