Friday, 5 February 2016

Ray Sweeney..the disability karate federation

What inspired you?    Three things: Firstly, I wondered why people were changing as a result of practising karate.  So I looked at all the research.  Then I decided to to move to Spain and use karate as a vehicle to create social change, disadvantaged or living with poverty.  Secondly I discovered that my son has autism. Lastly, when I returned to England 4 years ago I was asked to coach 55 disabled young people in mixed disability groups, one blind, one deaf, one wheelchair user, one autism, one missing limb, one learning disability and I absolutely loved it.  A man came up to me and asked if he could teach alongside me and I of course said no.  he introduced himself, he was Ian Rose Paralympian and Silver medallist in judo.  Ian had his gi with him so we taught side by side and laughed and had fun all day.  At the end, he said, "Forget mainstream - you were born to do this"  So I did..  Finally I guess I just can't stand idly by while there are people who are disabled, disadvantaged or living with poverty.what are  your  aims?
We plan to increase participation for people who are disabled, disadvantaged or living with poverty. We do this all over the country with funding from Sport England.  We offer real coaching qualifications that are properly accredited.  We are now offering apprenticeships and free workplace qualifications as well as free government accredited training opportunities for 16 to 18 year olds.  We are working with the European Commission on communications and creating a greater sense of community for marginalised groups in society. What  plans do you have for the future?  The future?  There is so much to do to make karate into a professionally run sport and martial art where everyone can be equally valued and supported to achieve.  There is so much to do to use karate to change people's lives.

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