An Update: Our Policy On Online Training
Over the last few months as our association’s size has grown considerably we’ve been alerted to more and more ‘BMABA Approved’ or ‘BMABA certified’ online training courses. Usually termed as ‘home-study’ or ‘special programs’ these DVDs or online videos claim to provide BMABA certified training that leads to an internationally recognised black belt. As these reports are becoming more prevalent, we’d like to take a moment to reliterate our policy on these home-training programs.
The association has a blanket ban on any endorsement of online training material. We do not support home study courses and we certainly do not provide any assurances or certification for grades issued as a result.
As you may know, especially if you’ve already joined the association or if you’re thinking about it and have studied our eligibility criteria, we insist on very high standards. This means to qualify as a BMABA instructor (in the sense of membership, which permits forward movement to DBS checks, first aid, insurance and so on) any individual must have a 1st Dan (or equivalent) obtained through a minimum of 3 years and 8 months of continued practice.
To clarify our position on this, online video based support has it’s place, certainly. It’s helpful as an extra-curricular tool to reinforce last week’s training principles. It’s useful as a source of inspiration for the onward development of a practitioners technical competencies… It has it’s place, for sure – but on it’s own, we feel it’s a dangerous and wholly misleading tool.
Martial arts are incredibly complex patterns of physical movement that combine muscular conditioning, fine motor skills and co-ordinated movement. What’s more, if we consider the context in which martial arts may be used (in defending one’s self in a violent encounter) there’s absolutely no room for error and techniques need to be drilled into the muscular memory of the body. This clearly can not be learnt properly at home without any supervision or expert coaching.
Some coaching programs may offer back-to-back videos whereby the student records their work and the instructor then records back some critiques etc. Whilst this is arguably better than the stock lesson set up, it still doesn’t come close to experience in-person coaching offers. At best it offers a form of training unlikely to produce robust and competent martial artists and, at worst, it presents a huge danger to the individual training and to the integrity of the wider martial arts industry.
For this reason, and because it is near-impossible for us to guarantee any sort of regulatory compliance with best practice, the association does not recommend the use of any solely home-based training material and it will not recognise any grades attained by this method.
If you find any online training courses promising BMABA certification, or claiming to be BMABA certified we would ask that you please report it to our office as soon as possible so we may investigate further.