The Need for Organisation in the UK, and beyond, is more than apparent. Whilst the Martial Arts in China and Japan have been around for years so have the organisations behind them, albeit secretly with some. In the UK the focus has been... unfocussed, rather blurry in fact. Many people have trained here and there, thinking all styles may offer some part worth learning. They have therefore never gained a legitimate qualification and now find themselves uninsurable; therefore not able to hire venues!
On a personal level I have been involved with several Martial Arts associations. None of these have been satisfactory or offered me security and peace of mind. The latter is not 100% possible of course, but it should be possible to go a good way toward it. Hence I have become disenchanted and finally started a new organisation (2001) leading to Martial Arts and Fitness Coach UK, or mafcuk.org
The government advises the Financial Services Authority (FSA) who then dictate rules to the insurance providers ()RoyalSun, Norwich Union, etc.) who then apply those rules. Organisations like MAFCUK are not allowed to make profit from insurance; because we are not technically insurance agents or trained advisors; however, we can pass on advice given by them, and we do. In this unstable and volatile society we need to have as much cover as possible. The American law fraternity call it the "CMA Clause", CMA standing for "cover my arse"!
Things every Martial Artist and Fitness Instructor should know: You must be legally qualified (qualifications "given" by spurious organisations without training or testing do not count). You should belong to a reputable organisation; insurance companies will appreciate you being a Licenced Member of a major body, such as MAFCUK. If you do not have insurance, adequate qualifications or other essential elements in place you could face legal charges, be prosecuted, sued or even made bankrupt. You should have membership applications, disclaimers, notices, rules or guidelines in place for your members, without them you could be found negligent by insurers.
If all of this sounds a bit heavy, imagine the consequences of legal actions resulting in a claim of millions against you and "professional negligence". Your reputation, career, probably your home, marriage and kids all effected, possible lost. Is it worth not doing things properly?
MAFCUK has set a new standard, a higher standard for organisations. We will provide enough information for you so that you can then set to work improving your chances and strengthening your CMA policy. We work closely with the insurance agents to provide policies which give our clients better peace of mind. Why bother having an organisation which just exists, seemingly just to take money and provide little in return? In 32 years of teaching I have come across this scenario too many times in the UK, and beyond. One organisation which thoroughly impressed me was the Chinese based International Chinese Kuoshu Federation (ICKF). They are barely heard of, yet consist of a committee of International Masters who guide members and organise events. They also protect the traditional and valuable aspects of Chinese Arts (being strongly undermioned by modern Wushu & Kungfu direct from modern China and her government). These values are important and only accepted as "traditional" because they work and are seen as essential in Martial Arts training proper. My own system was tested by them after just 14 years of development, it took over two years of testing, but was eventually accepted; development in total now exceeds 27 years, because I want to do things properly.
The MAFCUK can arrange for testing to UKi Standards. These are Ntionally acceptible certificates pertaining to a person's skill and knowledge. We can also arrange for International Qualification Translations; a sensible sollution to gaining overseas qual's, from China or Japan, for example.
Members range from Traditional Chinese Stylists, with a Master in China, to more meodern and even the head of the UK Shaolin Temple. We also have many smaller, independant members teaching all styles of Martial Arts and even Kickboxing.
The UK is getting tougher and tougher and the public expect much more security, quite rightly; we are all members of the public and we all expect professionalism from people we have to deal with. MAFCUK is helping many instructors to work in a safer and more cecure environment as well as keeping them informed about small but important issues which could be their ruin if neglected. We would like to help you.
Here is a tip we would like to share with you: If you have current insurance, make sure that it states 'Martial Arts' or 'Fitness', which ever is pertinent to you. Check to see what is covered and what is not; our insurers do not mind us supplying a copy of their basic policy and cover.
Bonus tip: Make sure you keep adequate, clear and up to date membership records. MAFCUK.org
Article date: May 2006.