Hoping to break 200 tiles and a world record (but not any bones)

by Sylvia Pownall
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One of Ireland’s top martial artists will bid for a world record this weekend as he attempts to break up to 200 concrete roof tiles with his hand in 30 seconds.

Sifu Keith Fanning will use the newly-restored Bremore Castle in his home town of Balbriggan as a backdrop as he live-streams his record bid to the world.

The world record attempt will get under way at 1pm this Saturday, September 15, and Keith – who runs Blue Dragon Iron Fitness – is hoping it attracts a good crowd.

He told Dublin Gazette: “I’m planning to break 160-200 concrete roof tiles with my hand in 30 seconds. I did a practice run last week and all looks good.

“Fingers crossed now we get the weather and the crowd. I haven’t had any real injuries, thank God. It’s all about the training and I have been training my hands since I was 16.”

Keith’s love of martial arts started with Kung Fu at the age of four under his father, Jon Fanning, who died in 2013.

He studied other training and holds a brown belt in traditional Jiu Jitsu, a black belt in combat Jiu Jitsu and an instructor grade in Muay Thai.

He also trained in full contact kickboxing for three years and was awarded Sifu (professor) status in San Francisco in 2008.

That same year, he hosted a fundraiser for a local girl with cerebral palsy during which he lay on a bed of nails with ten concrete blocks on his chest which his dad, Jon, smashed with a sledgehammer.

Keith completed his breaking exam in London and was awarded the ‘Iron Palm Medallion’ in 2006 – a level which had not been reached by anyone since 1973.

His love for Hard Chi Gung (block breaking) saw him bring the first Irish team of breakers to Orlando, Florida in 2007 for the world championships.

In 2016 he was inducted into Ireland’s Mixed Martial Arts hall of fame and last year he won the world title for breaking.

Keith’s bid is being held in conjunction with the upcoming World Breaking Championships, which he is bringing to Ireland and will host in Balbriggan in October.

He said: “The elite of the breaking world will come to compete for the ultimate prize. But before that happens, I want to give my competitors a little something to really motivate them.

“I’m inviting everyone to come and witness it. Let’s show them all that Balbriggan is ready to break onto the world stage.”

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