Para – Division

Persons with Disability – disabled persons

by Dirk van der Merwe

Around 15% of the population of the world are disabled and 92% of persons with a disability are not born disabled. 80% of disabled people acquire their disability between the ages of 18 and 65.


Disabled people are not “other people”, they are us.

The term, “Person with a disability” also known as the Medical Model of Disability, categorises people as unable to go upstairs because they are a wheelchair user, for example. “Disabled person” known as the Social Model of Disability, states that a wheelchair user cannot go upstairs because the stairs are a barrier. Remove the barrier and the disabled person is no longer disabled by it. The focus is on the barrier, not the medical condition of the person.

Modern thinking promotes the Human Rights Model, which considers that disabled people should have the same rights to access, education, employment, sport, healthcare and representation in politics and participation in society as everyone else and barriers should be removed in order to provide this access.

Ikkaido and WKA have partnered to create greater opportunities for disabled people to participate, achieve and enjoy the feelings that achievement brings. We intend that this partnership will empower and educate people to find new abilities, knowledge, competencies and skills within themselves.

My personal experience in Martial Arts has been mostly as a paraplegic wheelchair user and karateka. I have seen so many non-disabled people telling disabled people how to do karate when they have no understanding of the barriers to participation.

What I experienced and saw through Ikkaido’s inclusive coaching qualifications is that every single one of us holds in their hands the power to change the lives of other people. People who take these courses on Inclusive Martial Arts gain a real in-depth understanding of how to use martial arts to coach people.

The partnership between WKA and Ikkaido will increase participation in clubs, associations and federations through high-quality coach education.

WKA gives everyone the opportunity to take part in an online World Championship and Festival of Martial Arts and not just elite athletes. We promote the term Festival of Martial Arts because we celebrate every persons’ ability.

We have a beautiful and powerful tool in our hands that will help us to change people’s lives and it is called Inclusive Martial Arts.