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Heads of Association, Martial Arts Coaches (Instructors), Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs), and Welfare Officers need to keep up to date with the latest developments in safeguarding policy, coaching practice and regulatory and legislative changes. SCiMA is a resource that provides learning and development to help to achieve that objective.

On 13 June 2018, Safeguarding Children in Martial Arts (SCiMA) was established. SCiMA's objective is to progress the work started by the Martial Arts Safeguarding Group (formally the Martial Arts Working Group started working on this initiative in March 2014), to ensure that martial artists could access martial arts focused online learning and face to face training in child protection and safeguarding, as an minimum operating requirement for coaches, safeguarding officers and people in positions of trust. The training materials have been developed by safeguarding policy professionals, Education professionals and martial artists with a professional interest in learning and development.

The government has introduced a safeguarding code in martial arts in response to the duty of care and abuse crisis in British sport over the last two years. There had previously been no overarching safeguarding code for martial arts, which is governed by many different bodies. Achieving the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts will acknowledge organisations who have achieved and maintained excellent safeguarding standards. It will also enable parents and carers to make informed decisions when selecting an association, club or service provider for their child.

SCiMA aims to develop and continuously improve: child protection and safeguarding policies and practices; safer recruitment processes; case management and NGB coaching standards, for martial arts schools and clubs based in the United Kingdom, and partner organisations in the Republic of Ireland. Registration is now open.

A Safe Return to Martial Arts Training

Safeguarding Children in Martial Arts (SCiMA) recognises the concerns that martial arts practitioners may have in returning to training, as part of the Coronavirus COVID-19 recovery phase. SCiMA believe that it is essential to implement safe training practices for all participants in martial arts. Following the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the requirement for activities such as martial arts to cease, it is important that the return to martial arts practice must be made as safe as possible.

PLEASE NOTE that the SCiMA guidance for a safe return to martal arts is suspended, in response to the British government's requirements for lockdown. The SCiMA guidance, will be reviewed on 19 July 2021, to ensure consistency with the latest government guidance, for martial arts participants and organisations to consider. It is recognised that risks in close contact activities, such as martial arts, cannot be completely eradicated, but with appropriate measures in place, martial arts participants are encouraged and enabled to manage the risks and reduce the likelihood of Coronavirus COVID-19 transmission.

What does a martial arts coach do?


A martial arts coach should help people understand the philosophy and history of their chosen martial art, and teach them the skills they need to take part safely.


A martial arts coach should:


  • prepare lesson plans
  • demonstrate warm ups, skills training, and physical conditioning
  • coach students by breaking down techniques into simple moves
  • develop individual training programmes
  • observe and assess students, and give them feedback on their progress
  • develop and practice your own skills
  • take responsibility for the health and safety of students, and for teaching safely
  • promote classes


This role could involve working with both adults and children, instructing them at an appropriate level. Martial Arts Coaches have a responsibility to maintain professional standards when working with adult or child participants, at national, regional or club level. Read more ...


What should parents and carers look for in a martial arts coach?


A martial arts coach requires a coaching qualification, preferably recognised by the Sport England National Governing Body (NGB) for their martial arts discipline. Where no Sport England NGB is recognised then the coaching qualification should be recognised by the discipline's governing body, or a Sport England recognised national coaching organisation within the United Kingdom.


Before completing a coaching qualification a martial arts coach should be:


  • aged at least 18 years old
  • hold instructor membership of the discipline's NGB, other governing body or national coaching organisation
  • hold a minimum grade approved by the discipline's NGB, other governing body or national coaching organisation
  • hold a recommendation from the school, club or association before graduating to instructor level


Some NGBs may expect prospective coaches to have held an assistant coach qualification for six months (or more). The NGB for the particular discipline will advise on appropriate qualifications. Instructor awards differ between NGBs – they can usually studied either as full-time or part-time or distance learning.


If the martial arts coach is working with children, young people, adults at risk or other vulnerable groups, they will need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced check.


Parents are faced with a range of opportunities for their child to participate in martial arts. There are a number of things to consider before making the right choice. Read more ...


What do children and young people need to know?


A martial arts coach need to be qualified, someone in whom you can have confidence and someone you should be able to trust.

Your martial arts coach is your instructor, your teacher and in a position of authority and trust, but they should never make you feel uncomfortable about what they are asking you to do as part of your martial arts training.

Your martial arts coach will help you to be the best you can be and will help you to achieve your goals in martial arts, but they should never use the opportunity to represent your country or club at international or national events as a lever to take advantage of you.

Martial arts provides a framework for improvement on three levels physically, mentally and socially. There are many reasons why martial arts is an excellent choice, but the experience should be a positive one.

Your martial arts coach should create a vision for you that self-discipline is fun and rewarding. Your martial arts training should be age specific to help you to improve your martial arts ability in a safe environment, to learn to follow directions and take pride in your accomplishments and in achieving your potential.

While there are numerous benefits the pursuit of excellence is a challenging journey, through which children and young people should be supported. Read more ...

Online Learning, Education and Training

SCiMA has developed a martial arts focused online training material in consultation with other martial artist and professional training providers. These form the basis for the SCiMA online training offer. Please note that you must register to access the online learning materials.

The online learning materials provide coaches with an opportunity to bring themselves up to date with the latests regulatory and legislative changes in coaching, child protection and safer recruitment policy and delivery. These materials are complimented by the SCiMA annual seminar. Read more ...

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Identification Validation and Checking Service

SCiMA are committed to professionalising martial arts and ensuring that qualified coaches with appropriate training in safeguarding and first aid are enabled to instruct in martial arts. The DBS checking service for those specifically engaged in teaching martial arts. The DBS checking service works in parallel with the SCiMA online learning and recognised coaching standards.

To access the Safeguarding Children in Martial Arts DBS Checking Service you can apply through SCiMA. Apply Now


Case Management

SCiMA are committed to ensuring that cases are managed sensitively, securely and effectively. SCiMA currently host the case management arrangements for the BCCMA. These case are held on a secure encrypted database that meets the UK government recognised information asset management and protection standards.

The SCiMA Case Management System can be accessed through a secure portal. The portal also provides advice and guidance on child protection processes, complaints, disciplinary processes and statutory referrals. The SCiMA Case Management system is available only to SCiMA registered Designated Safeguarding Officers (DSOs) and Safeguarding Leads on successful application and completion of the associated Information Protection training. Contact us for more information.


Data Protection and Privacy

SCiMA are committed to protecting your privacy and the data that you provide is managed in line with the requirments of the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UKGDPR) and the SCiMA Privacy Policy.

SCiMA will process your personal data, and registration data (for the purpose of reasonable adjustments), in accordance with the UKGDPR, any other regulatory requirements and the SCiMA Learner Privacy Policy.

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 about SCiMA contact us