Maide bata

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Maide bata or maide mear is a style of bataireacht, the Irish stick-fighting martial art. It is a traditional style, being passed on from father to son from at least the early/mid 19th century up to present day. The names are sometimes given with the definite article (i.e. an maide bata or an maide mear).

The style is recognised for primarily using a more "classical" one-handed grip and high guard, commonly found in imagery of the 18th and 19th century. Although a two-handed grip is also used, which uses moulinets and bears some resemblance to jogo do pau, bastone Siciliano and older French baton styles. It also contains unarmed techniques such as kicks (mostly below the belt), slaps, punches and gouging.

Along with the rince an bhata uisce bheatha ('dance [of] the whiskey stick') style of the Doyle family, and Antrim stick (bataireacht Aontroma), maide bata is one of the only known traditional Irish stick styles still alive today.

History

It is not known exactly when the style was created. It is known that the first one to practice this art was an Irishman from Antrim (now located in Northern Ireland) nicknamed and renowned in his area as a famous stick fighter. The techniques were transmitted to his son, who also became a famous stick fighter, and to his grandson and great-grandson. The fourth and current inheritor of the art (name kept private to his demand) chose to open the teachings to people outside of his family in the mid-2000s, and is the first in Ireland to do so.

All of these students then chose to regroup under the name An Maide Bata, and each one practices and teaches the techniques in his own way, as the original teaching methodology was meant for one on one instruction. To avoid confusion, each of these group created a separate school under the same organisation. As of 2010, the name was changed to An Maide Mear, which was deemed more accurate.

Sanders school

The An Maide Mear Eire Irish Stick school is headed by William Sanders in the United States. It is taught in person or using a distance-learning course. Sanders has researched various Irish stick methods, and uses old Irish sean nos music for timing and foot work. Sanders also teaches silat but has not mixed it with the Irish stick.

References