All Abilities Martial Art – A Martial Art for All Abilities
All Abilities Martial Art
Established in February 2016, All Abilities Martial Art is a small and friendly club based in Bracknell, with the purpose to offer Aiki-Jujitsu practical self-defence training that is accessible to both abled and disabled people, as well as people with learning disabilities.
Here, Martin Ridley explains how learning Martial Arts is beneficial.
“We encourage people to try something that maybe they felt they couldn’t do before. Martial arts is so much more then defence/fighting. We have found it has a massive impact on a person’s lifestyle as they become more confident, it improves coordination and reduces anxiety and depression. Students learn new life skills as well as making new friends.
We have three main instructors: Sensei Martin Ridley 3rd Dan, Sensei Roy Johnson 4th Dan and Sensei Martin Thompson 6th Dan. We set up and run this club to be able to offer defence training that is inclusive. We have seen clubs that are unable to train people with disabilities or open special clubs and train students by separating them away from other students. This is not something we believe in. Also having a disabled instructor helps us to demonstrate that anything is possible, and that with the right help, so much can be achieved. We have found by mixing classes, students have gained a better understanding and respect for people with disabilities and this helps to remove barriers. Students that have a physical, learning and social disability, have become more open to trying new things, pushing themselves safely and have learnt never to give up. We also teach them to use their physical aids as a way to defend themselves turning a negative into a positive.”
Martin Ridley has had cerebral palsy from birth. Training has been difficult for him, and he has often had to adapt techniques to his abilities, including using a wheelchair. He therefore understands the importance that all students undertake the same training, but some situations require adaptations.
Martin Ridley received the Warriors Assemble Fighting Spirit Awards 2016 because of his work in disability and martial arts. He has never given up. He set up his own club to help train people with all abilities, both able-bodied and disabled because he believes that martial art should be all inclusive.
Martin has the philosophy that everyone has the potential – they just need the commitment.