Michael O'Leary is the head instructor for Golden Tiger Academy - Blanchardstown. He started Wing Tsun in February 1993 in the Manchester headquarters of what was then, Grandmaster Leung Ting's British/Irish Wing Tsun Organisation (BWTO) under Sifu Nick Smart. He obtained his 1st student grade a few months later and upon his return to Dublin that summer, continued his training in the Dublin branch under Sifu Aidan Canavan. He received his 2nd student grade later that year at a seminar in Dublin given by Leung Ting.
In 1995 as a 6th student grade, Michael entered a competition fighting under full contact Sanshou rules. While he defeated his opponent, a Thai Boxer from Galway, the experience highlighted for him the difference between training for competition and training for self defence and the latter has been his focus since then.
Towards the end of 1996 Michael started to help teach students in the Dublin City Centre school and at the start of 1997 he travelled to Hong Kong where he trained in the headquarters of the International Wing Tsun Association for 10 weeks under Grandmaster Cheng Chuen Fun. Upon his return to Dublin later that year, he resumed his training in the Dublin City Centre school and after attending a one week intensive course with Sifu Nick Smart in the UK, he was awarded his 1st instructor degree in Wing Tsun.
Michael qualified as a fitness instructor in 1998 and this was a milestone in his Wing Tsun career as it gave him the tools to analyse how Wing Tsun works on a bio-mechanical level. Rather than relying on vague metaphors, Michael began to teach by identifying the primary muscles used for each movement and the specific type of muscular contraction that they were under. He began to teach his own classes and at the end of 1999 was awarded his 2nd instructor degree.
Michael joined the Irish Wing Tsun Organisation in 2002 and became a student of Dai-Sifu Rainer Tausend, the head of the IEWTO. In 2004 he opened the Blanchardstown school and has brought many students to instructor level. Some of them went on to open schools in Belfast, Maynooth, Navan, Sligo and Wexford and Michael supported them by giving seminars and gradings. He was awarded his 3rd Higher Grade in December 2006, the title of Sifu in September 2012 and his 4th Higher Grade in December 2012.
Michael resigned from the IEWTO towards the end of 2015 and in January 2016 formed Wing Tsun - Ireland. He opened a class in Golden Tiger Academy - Dunboyne at the start of 2017 and began to study Gracie Jiu-Jitsu with Ken Byrne who is a, brown belt under the EGJJF. Michael was awarded his blue belt on the 30th of August 2019 and began to teach Brazilian/Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as well as Wing Tsun in the newly formed Golden Tiger Academy - Blanchardstown.
Michael has also trained in FMA (Filipino martial arts) over the years as they are weapons based and a working knowledge of weapons is a necessary part of self defence. He trains under Brian Kennedy who is the Irish representative for Guro Nate Hill's Blood and Bones Tactical and also teaches his students the BBT syllabus as he learns it. However as he is not a qualified instructor, there is no class fee.