Our History & Story
The Story Of The British Martial Arts & Boxing Association
2012. Our Origins
Founded in September 2012 by Giovanni Soffietto, then aged 20, with just a £4.99 domain name and £10.00 of capital, we opened our ‘website’ to the very first members. We’re proud to say we still have members from 2012 whom have stuck by us and seen us evolve.
A product of collaboration with local clubs in Devon to source more open and affordable resources to run safer, more professional classes, it soon became apparent that something bigger – something different – was needed.
The BMABA in it’s very early infancy had little structure as it does today. Memberships were initially given away to try and attract an audience, and we started earning our reputation for quality customer service. In 2012 when we first opened our doors, there was little to no self regulation of our members and those joining were not required to always produce proof of grade.
As the initial concept began to increase in popularity we realised we would soon need to adapt to reach the next step. We began trying to clearly define what we offered our members, and the cornerstone of quality that we’re now known for began to emerge.
2013-2014. Finding Our Stride
We never could have expected the incredible growth we experienced in our first full year from September 2013-14. Our instructor membership ‘exploded’ with thanks to the very low introductory membership rates of just £10 per year – and our community began to blossom.
Our first iconic instructor’s licenses, with the first generation logo was in use and we experienced an exciting yet challenging first couple of years learning to understand better what our member’s needed and what technology we required to make it happen.
We’ve always been passionate about having the best technology, and whilst by our current standards our initial website was a dinosaur, at the time it represented something different – change – in an industry so used to the status quo.
Throughout 2014 our membership numbers increased and we began to acutely focus on our instructor’s credentials at the point of registration, requesting everybody initially on board who had not needed to show documentation provide copies to our office for inspection. This was to be the start of our current, modern quality control standards that have impressed the insurance industry so much to date.
2015. A Household Name
By early 2015 our association had become a ‘household name’ for martial arts. Thousands of instructors were finding our services and students were flowing through our books at an ever increasing rate.
Our organisation learnt alot through 2015 – we become focused on the standards by which instructors teach, and the quality of those who flew the BMABA banner became under ever closer scrutiny. More and more instructors were being turned away through lack of documentation, ethics or attainment and our reputation for being an effective, ethical organisation came to the forefront.
Whilst growing quickly, our costs also began to spiral upwards. Without access to a large group cover policy (as we weren’t yet big enough) we had many logistical hurdles to overcome. Trying to source services without the large grants or funding many of our ‘competitors’ were receiving (and still are) was challenging, but as a community we pushed on.
Our success overtook our logistical and administrative capabilities, and whilst we were launching ground-breaking live-time verification systems and index checkable licenses, we continued to focus on an association-wide overhaul designed to help us be truly efficient and effective.
2016. Our Overhaul & Restructuring
By 2016 we were enjoying our fourth year of offering membership and quality services to the UK and international martial arts community. In June 2016 we introduced a complete overhaul of our systems, websites, certification, processes and regulation.
This saw a renewed association committee, more transparency on our earnings and the absolute cutting edge websites and technology to match.
Our focus quickly moved to safeguarding, insurance standards and professional conduct. We’ve never been focused on expensive money making seminars or events – and even with our ever-growing success we continued to turn away those who couldn’t provide the standards we required.
Our restructuring process was an immense success and saw our trust – not just internally among the martial arts industry – but also externally with the insurance market – become a genuine asset. We were able to access our first group cover insurance policy allowing our instructors to enjoy specialist instructor insurance.
Almost as soon as our BETA 2016 re-launch completed we began to look forwards at the next steps for accommodating further growth.
2017 – 2018 – A Leading Governing Body
By mid 2017 we were experiencing continued growth across all sectors, and became a limited company to better manage our structure and future expansion.
Our July 1st 2017 full re-launch, a year on from our BETA release, introduced expansive new systems, techniques, procedures, websites, services, tools, resources and licensing under a more professional, contemporary logo and branding.
Through 2017 and our five year point, on to 2018, the Association is established as one of the leading governing bodies in the country for martial arts and combat instructors. Further to our extensive relationship with instructors we also began reaching out to parents, students, schools and councils to provide better access to quality martial arts.
Our services continued to evolve, offering us the ability to pass on the most specialist instructor insurance, DBS checks, safeguarding training and so on. Today, going forwards, we remain one of the most influential governing bodies in the UK for combat sports and continue to lead from the front in terms of our governance, commitment to quality and modern approach to running a traditional organisation.