Our mission at Ikkaido is to engage and empower persons who are disabled and disadvantaged and ensure their full inclusion in society. We use a 6E process that takes people on a journey to reach eudaimonia and true empowerment. Engagement is the first step in the journey towards this. We embody a wholly inclusive approach to engagement, making sure our programmes are available and accessible to everybody, across all demographics of society.
J engaging in his first IMA session with Ray.
Many people with disabilities and disadvantaged people are often marginalised and face barriers to participation in physical activity within their community. Engagement in physical activity is particularly important for people with disabilities, as adults with disabilities are twice as likely as non-disabled adults to be physically inactive (42% vs 21%) (Sport England, Active Lives Adult Survey November 2017-18). Not only are disabled people less active than non-disabled people, but four in five (81 per cent) of disabled people would like to be more active, indicating that this is due to societal barriers to engagement in physical activity rather than a personal choice (Activity Alliance, Annual Disability and Activity Survey 2019-20). Participation in physical activity has numerous benefits both for peoples mental and physical wellbeing and it is essential that people with disabilities and disadvantaged people are getting access to physical activity in an inclusive setting.
At Ikkaido, one way in which we increase engagement is through the use of Inclusive Martial Arts (IMA). Sessions are run by coaches with disabilities and are taught with a wholly inclusive and holistic approach so that everyone benefits from the teaching and is able to learn. IMA has proven to be an immensely powerful tool in engaging and improving the self-confidence and skills of marginalised people. This is largely due to the philosophy that underpins Martial Arts that is based on the Seven Virtues of Bushido; Right Behaviour, Integrity and Honesty, Benevolence and Compassion, Determination, Sincerity, Right Action and Responsibility. Participating in IMA provides an opportunity for disabled and non-disabled people to form meaningful relationships and positive social connections in their community.
M pictured coaching IMA.
M (pictured above) had always wanted to be a PE teacher. At 11 she was routinely physically and sexually abused by her father. Sport participation helped her to cope, but a knee injury
left her unable to take part. Without sport, she began to self harm and frequently ended
up in hospital. At 23, her husband was investigated for the abuse of one their children.
The self harm became so horrific that she used a cheese greater to disfigure her face
and arms. A few years later, a botched operation left her with multiple physical and
mental impairments. M was extremely low when she began to search for help for her and her son's.
"I contacted Ikkaido so that me and the boys could do something together, learn together, make us healthier and hopefully help me too." ~ M
Ikkaido engaged M in the 6E journey. One day, she approached a session of IMA with
her children. The accessibility meant she was able to participate once again in sports,
and the inclusive atmosphere made her feel happier and more empowered. M's engagement in IMA was enabled her to start enjoying life again. Her confidence rapidly grew and her self-perception changed; it armoured her with a new vision, skillset and support network. Both M and her son's were able to make new friendships and develop long-lasting connections with others in the sessions.
"It was amazing, a fully inclusive, accessible community and sport for all three of us. I began to feel more confident, and we were enjoying the support and social aspect of the sessions." ~ M
M's story illustrates how the initial step of our 6E process - engaging people with disabilities or disadvantaged people - is crucial to their inclusion and leads to better wellbeing. Last year Ikkaido engaged 9823 disabled and non-disabled people in IMA nationally and internationally. Through our programmes, Ikkaido has been able to engage previously excluded members of society and help them grow in confidence and connect with others from their community. Engagement in our IMA sessions is the first step to the everlasting journey towards empowerment, inclusion and eudaimonia. We will follow M's story and see her progress through our 6E strategy to the final stage: Eudaimonia.