Information for Martial Arts Coaches

Safeguarding Children in Martial Arts (SCiMA) offers martial arts instructors coaching as professionals or volunteers working in the regulated and non-regulated sectors an opportunity to undertake continuous professional development through online learning and development which is designed to enhance coaching standards in child protection and safeguarding. The aim is to narrow the gap in policy and practice between martial arts operating at the Olympic level and unregulated martial arts. SCiMA will help to professionalise approaches to child protection in martial arts in the United Kingdom and affiliated schools in the Republic of Ireland.

Your responsibilities

Martial arts coaches and instructors have a responsibility to maintain professional standards when working with children and young people or adults, at national, regional or club level. Martial arts can have an enormous positive effect on people, particularly children. Not only can regular activity maintain our health and well being, it can increase confidence, self-esteem, and develop us, mentally, physically and emotionally.

However, these positive effects are reversed if a child's martial arts experience is negative. This can occur in a whole range of different ways and precautions must be put in place to prevent this happening in our clubs, facilities and schools. In addition to this, children may confide in you or a member of your club or organisation with some information of any kind of child abuse, or you may witness an incident. It is vital that you understand your responsibilities to protect that child and do the right thing.

Professional standards

The professional standards expected include an understanding of coaching children, people with disabilities and adults. When coaching children to develop proportionate and sensible approaches to child protection. Having an understanding of the law to ensure that coaching practice and club management is compliant. If your club has a junior section it is important that you are carrying out checks on anyone that requires one before you employ them, paid or voluntary.

Recently there has been changes to the system and before an organisation considers asking a person to make an application for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, they are legally responsible for ensuring that they are entitled to ask that person to reveal their conviction history. The DBS eligibility guidance  lists most roles that are eligible for a check. However, the guidance is not comprehensive, and you should contact the Child Protection in Sport Unit if you are unsure.

Coaching code of conduct

Coaches play a crucial role in the development of any sport and in the lives of children that they coach. Good coaches ensure that young people in martial arts have positive experiences and are therefore more likely to continue pursuance of their martial art and achieve their true potential.

Coaches at all levels must display a high degree of honesty, integrity and competence. The need for coaches to understand and act on their responsibilities is of critical importance to martial arts, as is the need to protect the key concept of participation for fun and enjoyment as well as achievement.

All coaches should adhere to the rules and regulations laid out in their martial art's National Governing Body's Code of Conduct.

Coaching license specification

It is recognised that not all martial arts coaches will be trained to teach children, young people or people with disabilities. It is expected that coaches will have undertaken the appropriate training to coach: children; young people with disabilities; adults with disabilities; and adults, where applicable. When completing the SCiMA process coaches will need to specify the groups that they have been trained (or intend to be trained as part of the SCiMA process) to coach, as one of the following coaching bands:

  • A – Children, young people and adults (including people with disabilities).
  • B – Children, young people and adults.
  • C – Adults (including people with disabilities).
  • D – Adults.
  • E – Assistant Coach (may only assist an appropriately qualified coach).
  • U – Unqualified.

The coaching band can be endorsed by SCiMA once the appropriate training has been undertaken and the DBS check made, where applicable.

SCiMA registration card

The SCiMA Card is envisioned, over time, to become the document that local authorities, schools and private gyms look for as the 'quality' mark for safeguarding children and young people in martial arts for all martial arts coaches.

SCiMA Registration Card Information

What does SCiMA do?

SCiMA is focused on implementing child protection policy, developing safer recruitment practice and enhancing coaching standards with a view to professionalising martial arts instruction, in the United Kingdom and partner organisations in the Republic of Ireland.

SCiMA services will include:

• SCiMA registered martial arts coach database
• Child protection and safeguarding training
• Safer recruitment practice
• Anti-bullying awareness
• First aid essentials

Although self-governing, SCiMA will work in partnership with national and international organisations to promoting best practice in martial arts coaching and organisational management. This includes local and national government organisations, in the UK and internationally.

For more information contact us