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Creating an Inclusive Community through Martial Arts

In DDA’s latest podcast, we talked with Master Michael Sirota, an expert in martial arts who provides services for nearly 800 students in Vancouver and Richmond.

Master Sirota owns and operates Sirota’s Alchemy, a martial arts dojo that trains students in the styles of Taekwondo and Hapkido.

They currently have two dojos, one in Vancouver and one in Richmond. Since 1983 he has immersed himself fully as a martial arts practitioner, athlete instructor, coach, global pioneer of therapeutic martial arts, and facilitator of global empowerment for the disability community. 

Master Sirota holds an 8th-degree black belt in Taekwondo, a 5th-degree black belt in Hapkido, an instructor license, and a black belt with the International Disabled Self-Defense Association. He has received many awards for his efforts in the community and with the Paralympics and the Autism Community.

Why did you get into martial arts?

“While I was a child, like most kids I had low self-esteem. I needed something and so I started with martial arts at that time I really didn’t know anything about it and I just kept going and never stopped.  I just fell in love with Taekwondo.”

You offer a lot of options for people with disabilities, why is this important to your organization?

“I believe that’s what I’m here to do. When I was much younger I never really thought about how I didn’t know anything about the disability community or what autism is, or what spinal cord injuries are. We had some kids in our classes that I felt had some challenges and they needed extra support but I didn’t know what kind of support and then I was really oblivious to all of that I never had any exposure and but I just knew that martial arts is really beneficial for them.”

You are very much a pioneer in therapeutic martial arts. How are you taking it around the world?

“I have traveled to various countries and I have taught and certified others on how to teach therapeutic martial arts.  I even offered an online certification program and we would probably have people from 30-plus countries taking our courses and then they are teaching our philosophies and methodologies. It’s so weird there is there’s nothing global other than what we offer.”

To listen to the complete podcast with Master Michael Sirota go here.