Bataireacht is the art of stick fighting in Ireland, using a bata or shillelagh. It is a complex style including many strikes and parries, unarmed techniques and grappling. Irish stick fighters were in the past known as some of the best in the world, and the techniques taught in Antrim Bata are a testament to their talent.
The techniques of Antrim Bata were handed down the Ramsey family since at least the mid 19th century. The style was practiced for self-defence as well as organized battles known as faction fights. The Ramseys acquired quite a reputation as excellent stick fighters. The techniques are reminiscent of broadsword and boxing methods of the era, but are also uniquely Irish.
Antrim Bata is a complex martial art, which teaches fighters to hold their own in a variety of situations; be it facing one or multiple opponents, fighting from a distance or in close.
Following the disappearance of faction fights, bataireacht slowly went into hibernation, being only practiced by a handful of individuals. Antrim Bata was nearly lost, but techniques were safeguarded by members of the family and recorded by Max Chouinard. Since the early 2000s, a movement to repopularize the art has been active.
The style is currently headed by Máistir Max Chouinard from Canada. Max learned the style in Ireland in 2007 and going back to North America actively begun to teach and spread this fascinating and effective martial art. Max started practicing martial arts in 1997 with styles such as Kyokushin Karate and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has extensive experience in weapon-based martial arts including Shinkendo, Hyoho Niten Ichi Ryu, Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, Olympic Fencing, Canne de Combat and is an active practitioner and researcher of Historical European Martial Arts.
The days of faction fights are long past, and bataireacht today strives to promote personal growth and ability through the practice of a traditional martial art, while maintaining the efficiency of this stick fighting method.
To learn more about the history of the practice, please read our article What is Irish Stick Fighting