NAKMAS National Governing Body

Head of NAKMAS Press, Media & Promotion: Libby Ellison MCIJ -
NAKMAS Publishing, Media and Press Services
NAKMAS Publishing has been created to meet the needs of all those businesses and not for profit clubs seeking high media and press exposure, promoting awareness and the opportunity to attract new members.

Whether you want to inform the press and media of your tournament success, inform them of a newsworthy story or ensure that you reach out to new prospective students, the NAKMAS National Governing Body in partnership with its sister body, NAKMAS Publishing, will assist you.

Recently, both the NAKMAS NGB and NAKMAS Publishing have been successful in gaining television, national/local newspapers, national/local radio exposure for several members.

The Head of NAKMAS Press, Media and Promotion, is Libby Ellison, who has a Professional Development Diploma in Feature, Corporate and Press Release Writing (Distinction), via the London School of Public Relations and she is a also a full member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists. She has taken up the post within NAKMAS to launch this service to NAKMAS and its members. She runs her own company, Elicit Media, and her style of writing is second to none!

Libby works directly under the NAKMAS Chair, Joe Ellis, who is not new to the publishing, media and press industry. He himself is very experienced in this sector and is also a full member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

Whatever your promotion campaign, contact NAKMAS today to see how we can assist you. Your success will be our success!
Recent press releases
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- 01 SEPTEMBER 2017
Kent based Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis, has been chosen by Prime Minister Theresa May to receive the 765th Points of Light award for her campaigning to get autistic children involved in sports and recreation activities.

May said, 'through your campaigning you have encouraged thousands of children with autism to get involved in sports and recreation activities outside of the classroom. You have used your own experiences to promote greater inclusion for the next generation, and you should be proud of what you have achieved. The Points of Light award is a small thank you on behalf of the whole country, in recognition of your exceptional service.'

Beale-Ellis, clinically diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, during her study for a Doctorate in Education (Autism) at Sheffield Hallam University, just a few years ago; then researching the learning experiences of young autistic individuals in sports and recreation activities. This followed many years of teaching karate and dance, specialising in students with medical, neurological, emotional and social differences; a passion which was the result of childhood cancer and arthritis.

Since her doctorate she has been busy with her website and blog 'the autistic voice' and has written two books. Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers was published two years ago and remains popular. Her second, Sensing the City: An Autistic Perspective was published just a week ago. She uses her autistic voice to report on sensory experiences within many cities worldwide, highlighting the incredible, and giving advice to manage the more challenging aspects for an autistic individual.

Dr Luke Beardon, Senior Autism Lecturer at the Sheffield Hallam University Autism Centre, said: 'the words associated with this award are 'innovative, outstanding, and inspirational'. These three words sum up Sandra's work and person admirably. I count myself lucky in the extreme to know Sandra, and continue to be inspired by the example she sets supporting autistic learners. Her myriad qualities make her an absolute deserved winner of the award which will count towards her already impressive achievements'.

Beale-Ellis was, for once, speechless when she received the phone call from the PM's Office. 'I am astonished and delighted to receive this award and for the Prime Minister to recognise my passion and commitment for helping other autistic individuals. This should raise yet more awareness so that autists do not feel isolated and misunderstood'.

Her local MP, Sir Roger Gale, said of the news: 'I am absolutely delighted to hear that Sandra is to be a recipient of the Prime Minister's prestigious Points of Light Awards; only those working with autism regularly can truly understand the level of dedication and determination required and Sandra richly deserves this recognition of her voluntary commitment.'

Prime Minister's wesbite announcement via

Visit The site has links to her social media platforms, her blog and details about her work and publications.

National Chair of The National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS), Joe Ellis, is concerned that since the coalition government, changes were made within the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which are adversely affecting child welfare; a concern brought to the forefront with the recent shock sex abuse scandal by former pro-footballers, supported by the Football Association (FA). Sadly the new government did nothing to improve matters.

NAKMAS is a registered body for Disclosure Scotland, and the DBS (formerly CRB) whereby advanced disclosure checks are undertaken on all its instructors and club staff. Until a few years ago, checks were sent to both applicant, and to the registered body for clearance from the DBS. The current procedure sees only the applicant being sent a copy of the check.

Ellis said, "we have been bringing up this issue time and time again since the DBS procedure was first changed, and nothing has been done. It is clear that it is not working and I won't stop campaigning until it changes. Children are at risk, which is why I won't rest".

NAKMAS Director of Operations, Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis, said "this newer procedure puts children and young people at risk. It is now up to us as a registered body, and employer, to chase applicants for their checks. Not only does it drain valuable staff resources; we receive no funding, it allows applicants who have something to hide, time to delay being found out. This change of procedure has been a complete nightmare for us. In contrast Disclosure Scotland continues to send us copies for which we are grateful".

The disclosure check service is invaluable to national governing bodies. Only last year a martial arts instructor was jailed for 15 years for abuse and rape. When he eventually is released, a new disclosure check may be the only thing to prevent him teaching again. If national governing bodies do not know what is on the check immediately, child welfare is inevitably compromised, and every child in the UK is at risk.

Ellis has written to his local MP, Sir Roger Gale, for help in changing these procedures which have been running unsuccessfully, in his opinion, for a few years. Other national governing bodies are also concerned and the matter was discussed just a couple of months ago, at a meeting of the Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA), the 'trade body' for sports, games and physical activities.

A request for the SRA to step in and deal with this problem has been made on numerous occasions, but so far the quest has been unsuccessful.

Ellis makes a direct plea to the government to sort this out before another child gets hurt.
The National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS) and Martial Arts Illustrated (MAI) magazine, have joined forces to encourage new youngsters to join their local martial arts clubs. NAKMAS has worked with Martial Arts Illustrated to produce a four-page editorial piece in the special edition 'Grassroots' October issue (published this week) outlining the benefits of martial arts for children, as well as skills which are essential and reasons that current and former young students took up martial arts.

Chair of NAKMAS, Joe Ellis, said on the accompanying video, found on '85% of NAKMAS membership is children, and this is why we are keen to support the Martial Arts Illustrated magazine in its new drive for grassroots participation'.

There are a whole range of benefits for children participating in martial arts classes. Not only do they encourage an increase general fitness, strength and flexibility levels, they can provide discipline, focus, respectful attitude and behaviour, leadership skills and stress relief to name a few. Of course their key purpose is known to give them the confidence and skills to defend themselves if absolutely necessary, but martial arts give a young student so much more than that.

Many clubs focus children's classes primarily on enjoyment. Children are more likely to respond to learning which has a fun element, while a serious message is being taught. There are clubs suitable for everyone; so it is always worth checking out a few to get the right one for a child's needs.

Martial Arts Illustrated Editor, Bob Sykes said of martial arts for children: 'it gives them a chance to focus their energy, drive and commitment.

Sykes recently affiliated his own chain of martial arts clubs with NAKMAS; a choice he made after a lot of research into their ethos and service offered, as well as their commitment to younger students.

NAKMAS is particularly concerned that students of all abilities, regardless of any special physical, emotional, social or other needs, be given the opportunity to try a martial art.

NAKMAS Director of Operations, specialist in autism education and author of Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers (ISBN: 978-0-9933142-0-9), Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis, said 'it is heart-warming to see children and adults with low confidence for any number of reasons, train for years and eventually become confident, self-assured black belts'. 'We have been delighted that Martial Arts Illustrated chose to focus an issue on grassroots participation, and that they invited us to work with them on this rewarding and worthwhile project'.

If you would like to find out more about Martial Arts Illustrated (MAI), NAKMAS, or any of the projects mentioned, you can check out (MAI) and (NAKMAS)
Author of Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers, is Dr Sandra Beale-Ellis, a 6th Dan Master in Karate. Beale-Ellis, from Kent, received a clinical diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome just a few years ago, whilst studying part-time at Sheffield Hallam University for a Doctorate in Education specialising in autism. In addition she has overcome childhood cancer, septic and osteoarthritis and resulting multiple surgeries and continues to prove she is capable of whatever goal she sets herself.

Beale-Ellis has over twenty years' experience of teaching karate to students with and without special needs; fourteen of those specialising in autism. She also lectures and speaks on autism and her personal perspectives of turning adversity around. Additionally she is a qualified dance teacher, and has a work background in business administration and education within further education, the health and prison services and for certification bodies including City and Guilds and OCR.

Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers is her first published book. It is unique in that it has been based in part on her doctoral research completed late in 2013 which explored the learning experiences within sport and physical activities including martial arts, from a wide range of autistic individuals' perspectives; as well as her own personal experiences as a teacher and as a student.

Beale-Ellis said: 'my research and teaching has always been about the autistic individual's needs and wants and not about the diagnosis or about medical assumptions. Each has their own goals, and I am keen to support them in reaching them as far as possible. My young students are at the heart of my work, and it was important to me that the book's Foreword be written by the experts: young autistic students who train or have trained in martial arts'.

This revolutionary book offers a start to finish guide for potential autistic students, their parents and for teachers who are or want to teach students with autism.

The book is not about autism theory per se, but is an easy to read informative guide aimed at young autistic individuals who want to take up a martial art, but need to know more. Autistic children and even adults often feel intimidated to join a new activity because they have no idea what to expect. The book is distinctive in that it also offers parent advice, and has a section specifically for martial arts' teachers who are either new to teaching autistic students or would like to expand their knowledge and skills.

Beale-Ellis is keen to enable more martial arts' clubs to be inclusive globally.

She said 'autistic students can benefit from the structure and discipline martial arts clubs offer, but it is essential that teachers know what to expect from their students, so that they can plan their classes to suit everyone while knowing how to accommodate any differences. Learning karate and tai-chi helped me personally to gain more confidence and I want the same for others. The coloured photographs in my book are of my own students, both autistic and non-autistic as inclusivity of training is important for young people to gain insight into differences both inside the class and elsewhere in their lives'.

Beale-Ellis is proud to be on the board of a national martial arts governing body, and knows from her work that many teachers are interested in expanding their student base to be more inclusive but simply don't know how.

Autism and Martial Arts: A Guide for Children, Parents and Teachers (ISBN 978-0-9933142-0-9) is currently listed on Amazon and an author's biography as well as a short author video can be viewed online via

You can also find out more about Beale-Ellis and her work by visiting her website

Book can be viewed on Amazon via:

NAKMAS National Governing Body
PO Box 630, Ashford, Kent, TN23 9AQ
Telephone: 01227 370055 (Monday to Friday 10am until 2pm)
Text/SMS: 07908683134 (24/7)