Non profit organisation
1ste World Online Inclusive Karate World Championship April 25th 2021
*At the age of 15, in 1981, Sensei Eric Bortels took the step to karate. In the club of Sensei Dirk Heene and Sensei Dimitra Limneos he quickly came to the conclusion that this was what he was looking for. His enthusiasm was particularly great for the lessons and training of Sensei Dirk Heene who had come a long way in applying karate in a more intriguing way.
*In 1996 he separated from this club to explore further growth opportunities in his own club in the city Zonhoven, building on the knowledge, skills and philosophy of Sensei Dirk Heene. This did not go smoothly at first. His goal was to create a karate academy that provides broader insights and goes beyond just offering lessons in karate.
*In terms of content, Sensei Dirk Heene followed the direction of Sensei Kase.
Sensei Eric could also fully agree with this vision. Sensei Kase was a man who took karate to a different, higher level and dared to talk about dealing and attracting energy. Something that 30 years ago, but even today in many places in the karate world, is not talked about, as if this had always been a taboo. And in fact, this element was also at the basic of Bodhidharma when he brought the martial arts from India to monks in China around 500 AD. It was an essential part of one of the ways to expand your path to spiritual growth. Most of today's trainers have forgotten this by now. Sensei Eric followed sensei Kase's path until he passed away in 2004. His 1ste black belt “shodan” he obtained with Sensei Miyazaki. He his fourth dan “yondan” was granted by sensei Kase in 1999.
*Since September 2011, the non-profit association GO NO SEN of Eric Bortels has joined the Federation JKS (Japanese Karate Shoto Federation). Sensei Eric was triggered by this, as they also work with people with disabilities. Sensei Asai had already drawn up an adapted program for people in the wheelchair. He was appointed technical director for JKS Belgium in 2014 and became technical director for JKS Benelux in 2017. Eric Bortels achieved his 5th “godan” and 6th “rokudan” dan in Tokyo (Japan) under Kagawa shihan 9th dan. In 2013 Eric becomes European champion kumite with the masters in Italy. At the World Championships in 2016 in Tokyo he tries to repeat this stunt to become world champion at the masters but unfortunately fails. In September 2015 Eric becomes vice-European champion at the masters in Denmark. In September 2016 Eric finaly succeeds and becomes world champion KUMITE at the masters at the World Championships in Scotland in 2018, and became vice-world champion in KATA.
- In 2006 Eric was asked to teach in a school with kids with ASD and deaf impairment. As they seemed enthusiastic about his approach. Eric started to think about a way how to reach more special need people.
- After regular intervals they started to ask Eric to give sessions in institutions, day cares, Special Need schools... This ranged from people with intellectual to physical disabilities, wheelchair users, visual impairment, to people with ASD. As of regular and continuously teaching day by day (now about 14 trainings a week) became the vision more clear and the positive developments piled up:
- In 2012 Eric starts a collaboration with Ilse Rayen, pediatrician in developmental disorders and autism. From this, I-karate Limburg (region Belgium) started.
- In 2013, I-karate-Limburg grows into I-karate Flanders (Flemisch region). Non-profit organisation “G-karate VZW”
- After organizing 4 I-competitions in the country, there appears to be more interest from abroad from 2014.
- In May 2014, 80 G karateka's registered for the Belgian para-karate Champioship in Houthalen.
- Students of the High School in Ghent provided in 2014, after 1 year of research, proof that I-karate clearly promotes the physical and mental aspect of the I-athlete.
- I karate organisation of Eric is named as “I-sport revelation” of the year in March 2014.
- In august 2014 the Japanese JKS organisation officially support IKF I-karate Global.
- In 2015 Eric starts official a second organisation Non-profit organisation “I-karate Global” This organisation works on a world level as a federation.
- IKF organizes its first European championship in Belgium in May 2015, 105 G-karateka’s register.
- I-karate Global organizes its first World Cup in Belgium in May 2016, 150 G-karateka’s register.
- In 2016 the Belgium karate federation ask Eric to be in charge for the para-karate. Unfortunately they stopped the cooperation in 2020. No explanation never was given.
- Eric now gives lectures and workshops to teachers, trainers... he strives to make this methodology universal.
- There is a meeting with Eric of providing a PARA-karate training module within the official over all sport organisation according to this methodology, But Eric did not agree to the conditions that were proposed to him.
- Workshops are now given abroad: Hungary, Ireland, Sweden, Slovenia, Morocco.
- JKS Benelux organizes in September 2017 the European Championship Shotokan in Hasselt in combination with the Para-karate of I-karate Global.
- In 2018 Eric writes the first practical handbook to integrate everyone with a disability into I-karate.
- In May 2018 Eric was invited for a conversation about para-karate with the World Karate Federation, which continued in July in Japan with the Secretary-General of the World Karate Federation. The next conversation followed at the world championship in Madrid in November 2018, however, with little outcome . 3 Belgium Para-karateka’s participated at the WKF championships but unfortunately at their own expense.
- In September 2018, an Erasmus+ sport project IKONS, launched by the University of Rome, will be scientifically proved on Eric's methodology with persons with the "Down Syndrome".
- In September 2019 Eric started a pilot project in 3 Special Need schools via
- "A Heart For Limburg." Unfortunately, this was postponed by Corona until december 2021. The idea was to use this methodology in schools as a basic movement not karate related anymore.
- Many Inclusive-competitions according to Eric's methodology are now being realized. These competitions can be found on our website: www.i-k-f.net (Sweden-Hungary-France-Ireland-Romania-Belgium)
- In 2020 Eric set up a new organisation ICP-move, in which Eric's methodology will be further deepened and will be applicable to all weaker target groups (the elderly, toddlers...) as well as a basic method for multiple sports. www.icp-move.com
- In oktober 2021 Eric and his team gives a demo to Hasselt University and UCLL, the university and the high school will now include this methodology as a basic subject matter. Also the College ‘high school’ is following now to implement this method.
- After 2 years of work Eric invents a tool for blind people bVc (Buddy Vision Connect) with which blind people can more independent. A buddy is giving impulses true a mobile phone to the Blind person. Eric is working on developing new sports with this tool.
- In 2020, ICP-move started developing an APP for weaker target groups to exercise at home.
- In 2020 Eric has his own YouTube channel I-karate Global. Here one can train at home via videos. Also the online competitions can be watched. I-karate Global - YouTube
- In 2020, I-karate was chosen as a finalist for the #Beinclusive awards.(A European contest)
- In 2020, Eric and his team hosted the first Online Inclusive European Championship. 206 participants from 17 countries offer themselves a great success also because of COVID issues Eric wanted to offer a possibility for disabled students. But Eric goes even further in April 2021 he and his team organize the first Online Inclusive World Championship with 304 participants from 26 countries. (results and livestream can be found on the YouTube channel I-karate Global)
- On October 2nd 2021, the positive scientific evidence of the 3-year Erasmus + project IKONS for people with DS was presented by his team, and on November 18th 2021 in Rome. www.ikons-project.eu the 40 weeks training schedule explained by Eric can be found in 6 languages.
- In September 2021, the organization of Eric Bortels was accepted at the special olympics.
- I-karate will be a demonstration sport in May 2022 at the Belgian Special Olympics.
Through commitment and perseverance, the group of I-karateka’s is getting bigger and bigger, many countries show interest. In this way, Inclusive karate also contributes to the further evolution of karate as an inspiring and strong pedagogical tool. Karate (sport) for everyone with any disability should also be able to be put more into practice, eric thinks!