'Martial Arts - More than just Kicks and Punches'
USTEP is an Erasmus (+) EU funded Project. USTEP is an acronym for, Using Sports To Empower People; the underpinning philosophy of the projects is to use Informal and Non Formal Learning Methods and the beauty and power of Grass Root Sports to equip and enable people, more specifically Young People with the character traits, social skills and high order competences necessary to compete effectively in the 21st Century economy and society.
The rationale behind the USTEP project is thus; there is a growing need for people, youth, young people, that are social, fiscally disadvantaged, come under the NEET definition or are generally classified as having few opportunities. These people are looking for a way to up skill themselves; yet due to the fact that they don't have a strong academic constitution, the financial support or the necessary social and language skills are looking for an alternative approach to learn, achieve, and become worthwhile members of the community, and be empowered to make a positive contribution
Issues & Need
The major issue here is that these group of people see themselves as marginalized by society, and have been failed by the academic infrastructure and hence are angry; because they feel that they don't know, how to learn, what to learn, or where to learn, with the view to improving their situation.
The aim of the USTEP Project is thus:
To use the principles, philosophy, ethos and fundamentals of Sports (and the Martial Arts) as a metaphor and teaching tool for developing Self Mastery [Self Confidence, Self Control, Self Aspirations, Self & Public Leadership], Presentation Skills, Creativity & Inspiration, Cultural Diversity, Social Mixing, Social inclusion & Social Action, Increased Responsibility, Independence & Self Efficacy, Social Intelligence and Business Competency.
The USTEP project is designed with this end in mind:
1. To address key challenges to education and training of young people, youths, thus motivating, inspiring and empowering them to strive and create a better and beautiful future for themselves.
a. Hence, informal and non formal (social, peer, reflective, double looped, vocational) learning approach will be in use
2. Use sport and outdoor education as a tool for improvement of youth’s quality of life, giving them the knowledge and tools that will raise their motivation, self-development, self-reliance, as sport has the power to act as a mobilizing tool in a way that no other activities does.
3. Combine fun, enjoyment and physical challenges, thus encourage young people to participate in sports in order to promote social interaction and well-being. This should lead to the development and sustainability of a healthy lifestyle and life-long attitude in adulthood among participants.
4. Ensure that participants from socially disadvantaged background have equal opportunity to participate.