Martial Arts – Chance for an Inclusive Approach

Courtesy of IT Tralee

Under the name of PRIME – Participation, Recreation and Inclusion through Martial Arts Education –, ICSSPE, together with a number of experienced partner organisations is developing a coaching framework to promote participation of persons with a disability in various styles of martial arts.

What are the objectives of PRIME?

  • To promote inclusion and easier access to martial arts for persons with a disability;
  • To increase the confidence, physical competence and physical activity levels among persons with a disability in Europe by increasing the quality and relevance of coach education in martial arts;
  • To bring martial arts coaching accreditation to martial arts in line with best practice standards.

The project partners also intend to increase the access of persons with a disability to self-defence learning experiences which would be an important outcome because they are often targets of violent crime, including homicide, assault, rape, and robbery.

The main vehicle for realising the above listed objectives is the development of a web-based, multi-lingual collection of training and exercise materials for various age and ability groups that benefit martial arts providers.

Who are the partners?

In addition to ICSSPE, the Disability Karate Federation; the International Taekwondo Federation; the International Council for Coaching Excellence; the UNESCO Chair Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities, their Families and Communities, Through Physical Education, Sport, Recreation and Fitness at Tralee Institute of Technology; The Association for International Sport for All; the Hayashi Karate Center; and the Association of Wado Karate Do Kai Shin Gi Tai Italia partner in this project. The project is financially supported by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

How is the project structured?

Since the beginning of the project, the partners have gathered and analysed qualitative data, they have idendified motivations, existing and potential facilitators as well as barriers with regard to participation opportunities. A desk review provides guidance, consolidates existing evidence, qualifications and coach education frameworks. Furthermore, existing learning material is being analysed. Good practice reports as well as tools and guidance literature will be produced and the material will be piloted with martial arts organisations and teachers. The project will run until 31 December 2018.

What can future users expect?

The project builds on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability.

The partnering organisations ensure that the dynamics of martial arts will be made available for a large but disadvantaged group of our human society. This is done by focusing on specific techniques and characteristics of martial arts such as fundamentals of movement, e.g. balance, coordination and agility; rules and regulations; by the promotion of an “inclusion mentality”, self-regulation, responsibility and advocacy; and by the acquisition of skills – all to meet the demands of stakeholders involved, such as coaches as well as athletes and their environment.

The envisaged framework will be the first one compatible with the European Qualification Framework and will be produced accessible.

For more information feel free to visit or contact the ICSSPE office at

Text by Detlef Dumon, ICSSPE Executive Director

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