It may seem strange in a day of regulation and oversight to learn that martial arts is still, largely, completely unregulated.
Grades aren’t universally recognised, there’s no singular qualification for instructors – or consensus on techniques that work and those that don’t. Further to this, there’s no single ruling on what’s required to teach martial arts and with more than 180 different disciplines and styles being practiced in the UK alone, only a tiny handful have any recognition from Sport England as a NGB.
This, in our opinion, is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. It seems so painfully obvious that in such a fractured, disjointed and poorly regulated industry that accidents will happen, unqualified persons will teach, people will not be properly safeguarded and the precious history of our arts could be lost in part.
There is a huge majority of truly qualified, knowledgeable and professional instructors in the UK, all teaching really credible, positive martial arts. With these people in mind – and the many thousand so students they teach – we feel it’s important that this fractured environment is changed.
We’ve been committed to change since 2012. The BMABA is dedicated and universally agreed towards the following goals and objectives;
1.) To gain national governing body status in a variety of unrepresented martial arts styles
There are still a large number of martial arts disciplines within the United Kingdom without any officially recognised governing body. This means no funding for grass roots participation, and no proper governance of the development and conduct of those teaching and practicing at senior levels. Our goal is to become recognised as a NGB or regulatory power in as many differing styles and disciplines of martial arts as is possible.
2.) To continue setting and regulating the UK’s highest standards of professionalism, eligibility and conduct for martial arts instructors and clubs
We’ve always been focused heavily on the conduct and professionalism of instructors and coaches. Afterall, it is these people who are responsible for the safety, safeguarding and well-being of martial artists across the UK. Since 2012 we’ve worked hard to introduce a plethora of regulatory and policy based rulings for our members to follow, which focus on keeping participants safe and instructors professional. It’s not uncommon for a number of other martial arts organisations to now be replicating some of our standards, and working from our procedural requirements.
3.) To keep working with the public to change negative or misled preconceptions on martial arts, and demonstrate the life-changing benefits for health, social mobility, self protection and general well being that all martial arts can bring.
Martial Arts have for a very long time been a greatly misunderstood sport, discipline and art. The vast number of different disciplines and styles, ranging from the orthodox and staunchly traditional styles of Shaolin Kung Fu and Shotokan Karate through to the more modern and unconventional of Mixed Martial Arts & Freestyle Jujitsu are often completely overlooked by cliched movies and comedy impersonations of martial artists and black belts. We’re really keen to work with the public on all levels to better educate people on the many different aspects of different disciplines, and how these incredible sports, recreational activities and art forms can change lives, empower people and challenge inequality on all levels.
4.) To promote participation for people of all ages, backgrounds and genders – cutting through social inequality and prejudices, and to empower communities to get fit, keep safe and build relationships
Secondly to our above objective to educate the public on the many benefits of martial arts training, we’re just as keen to get those same people – of all ages, backgrounds, genders and beliefs – into the dojo (martial arts school) and learning. There is something incredible about learning to defend yourself, training hard, having fun and getting fit – and it’s got the power to bring communities together.
5.) To set and regulate a number of qualifications and programs aimed at achieving the above goals and objectives
If we’re to continue setting and monitoring the high standards of martial arts conduct for professionals and senior martial artists, it’s imperative we have the tools to set the standard across all martial arts, and all martial arts organisations. It’s also critical we’re able to offer something in the community interest, and provide programs focused on challenging different injustices across differing age groups, ethic groups and locations.
6.) To research martial arts in the UK and build a recognised national database of martial arts professionals
There is very little evidence on martial arts for any number of the known benefits, and nor is there much (to any) research on participation and development either. We’re working to further research martial arts practice, history and development on all fronts. Likewise, we’re working to build a publicly checkable national database that will detail in real-time the professional credentials of all martial arts professionals teaching in the UK