Coaching, Teaching and Instructing

The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to establish and maintain standards for Martial Arts Coaches within “WBF” 
and to inform and protect members of the public using their services.

The Code of Ethics sets out a series of standards in respect of integrity, responsibility, competence and confidentiality.  “WBF”Coaches must be fully aware of this code, accept their responsibility to students, colleagues, “WBF”, their National Supporting Body, and to society in general.

This Code of Ethics is a framework within which to work.  It is a series of guidelines rather than a set of instructions, and should be used in conjunction with the “WBF” Coaching Programme and other appropriate guidance (i.e. from National Supporting Bodies)

1.0 Responsibility

1.1 Martial Arts coaches should be a minimum of 18yrs of age. For Martial Arts that use a grading system, Coaches should have a minimum of 1st Dan / Degree. For other Arts an equivalent level of skill and experience is required. Coaching is a deliberately undertaken responsibility, and Martial Arts Coaches are responsible for the observation of the principles embodied in this Code of Ethics.

2.0 Humanity

2.1 Coaches must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every human being and their ultimate right to self-determination.  Specifically, coaches must treat everyone equitably, within the context of their activity and ability, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, cultural background, sexual orientation, religion or political persuasion.

3.0 Relationships

3.1 The good Martial Arts Coach will be concerned primarily with the well-being, safety, health and future of the individual student and only secondarily with the optimisation of performance.

3.2 A key element in a coaching relationship is the development of independence.  Students must be encouraged to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance in training, in competition, and in their social life.

3.3 Martial Arts Coaches are responsible for setting and keeping the boundaries between a working relationship and friendship with their students.  This is particularly important when the Coach and student are of opposite sex and/or when the student is a young person.  The Coach must realise that certain situations or friendly actions could be misinterpreted, not only by the student, but by outsiders and could lead to allegations of misconduct or impropriety.

3.4 The relationship between Martial Arts Coach and student relies heavily on mutual trust and respect. This means that the student should be made aware of the Coach’s qualifications and experience and must be given the opportunity to consent to or decline proposals for training and performance.

3.5 Where physical contact between coach and student is a necessary part of the coaching process, coaches must make sure that no action on their part could be misconstrued.

4.0 Commitment

4.1 Martial Arts Coaches should clarify in advance with students and/or employers the number of sessions, fees (if any) and method of payment.  They should also explore with students and/or employers the expectation of the outcome of coaching.

4.2 Martial Arts Coaches have a responsibility to declare to their students and / or employers any other current coaching commitments which may cause a conflict of interest.  Martial Arts coaches should also find out if any prospective client is currently receiving guidance from another teacher/coach.  If so, that teacher/coach should be contacted to discuss the situation.

4.3 Martial Arts Coaches who become aware of a conflict between their obligation to their students and their obligation to their Chief Instructor, Association, National Supporting Body or other organisation employing them must make explicit the nature of the conflict, and the loyalties and responsibilities involved, to all parties concerned.

5.0 Co-operation

5.1 Martial Arts Coaches should communicate and co-operate with other Martial Arts and allied professions in the best interests of their students.

5.2 Martial Arts Coaches must communicate and co-operate with registered medical and ancillary practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of their student’s medical and psychological problems.

6.0 Advertising

6.1 Advertising by Martial Arts Coaches in respect of qualifications and/or services shall be accurate and not make any unreasonable claims.  Coaches must be able to present evidence of qualifications advertised upon request.

6.2 Martial Arts Coaches shall not display any affiliation with an organisation in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship or accreditation by that organisation.

7.0 Integrity

7.1 Martial Arts Coaches should refrain from public criticism of fellow coaches.  Differences of opinion should be dealt with on a personal basis and more serious disputes should be referred to WBF or to the appropriate National Supporting Body.

7.2 Martial Arts Coaches must not encourage students to violate the rules of their sport/art and should actively seek to discourage such action.  Furthermore, coaches should encourage students to obey the spirit of such rules.

7.3 Martial Arts Coaches must not compromise their students by advocating measures which could be deemed to constitute seeking to gain an unfair advantage.  Above all, coaches must never advocate the use of prescribed drugs or other banned performance enhancing substances.

7.4 Martial Arts Coaches must treat opponents and officials with due respect, both in victory and defeat and should encourage their students to act in a similar manner.

7.5 Martial Arts Coaches must accept responsibility for the conduct of their students in so far as they will undertake to discourage inappropriate behaviour.

8.0 Confidentiality

8.1 Martial Arts Coaches inevitably gather a great deal of personal information about students in the course of a working relationship. Instructors should treat this information as confidential unless otherwise agreed with the student or their parents / guardians.

8.2 Confidentiality does not preclude the disclosure of information, to persons who can be judged to have a ‘right to know’, relating to students when relevant to the following:

a) Evaluation of the student within the sport for competitive selection purposes.

b) Recommendation concerning students for professional purposes.

c) Pursuit of disciplinary action involving students within the sport.

d) Pursuit of disciplinary action by the WBF or other relevant Body involving fellow coaches in alleged breaches of this Code of Ethics and Conduct.  In all of these cases, the student must be made aware of who the information will be provided to and why.

e) Legal and medical requirements for disclosure.

f) Recommendations to parents/family where the health and safety of students may be at stake.

g) In connection with action to protect children from abuse.

9.0 Abuse of Privilege

9.1 The Martial Arts Coach is privileged, on occasion, to have contact with students and to travel and reside with students in the course of coaching and competitive practice.  A coach must not attempt to exert undue influence over the student in order to obtain personal benefit or reward.

10.0 Personal Standards

10.1 The Martial Arts Coach must consistently display high personal standards and project a favourable image of their sport and of coaching – to students, other coaches, officials, spectators, the media and the general public.

10.2 Personal appearance is a matter of individual taste but the Martial Arts Coach has an obligation to project an image of health, cleanliness, and functional efficiency.

10.3 The Martial Arts Coach should never smoke when coaching.

10.4 Coaches should not drink alcohol during coaching or so soon before coaching that the smell will still be on their breath when working with students.

10.5 Coaches should set an example of professional behaviour in their personal relationships with other coaches and organisations.

11.0 Safety

11.1 Martial Arts Coaches have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the students with whom they work as far as possible within the limits of their control.

11.2 All reasonable steps should be taken to establish a safe working environment.

11.3 The work done and the manner in which it is done should be in keeping with regular and approved practice within the Art.

11.4 The activity being undertaken should be suitable for the age, experience and ability of the students.

11.5 The students should have been systematically prepared for the activity being undertaken and made aware of their personal responsibilities in terms of safety.

11.6 Coaches have a responsibility to protect children from abuse.

12.0 Competence

12.1 Martial Arts Coaches shall confine themselves to practice in those fields of sports in which they have been trained / educated, and which are recognised by WBF or other relevant Body to be valid.  Valid areas of expertise are those directly concerned with Martial Arts coaching.  Training includes the accumulation of knowledge and skills through both formal coach education courses and by experience at a level of competence acceptable for independent coaching practice.

12.2 Martial Arts Coaches must be able to recognise and accept when to refer students to other agencies.  It is their responsibility, as far as possible, to verify the competence and integrity of the person to whom they refer a student.

12.3 Martial Arts Coaches should continuously seek ways of increasing their professional development and self-awareness.

12.4 Martial Arts Coaches should welcome evaluation of their work by colleagues and be able to account to students, Senior Coaches, employers, National supporting Bodies and colleagues for their actions.

12.5 Martial Arts Coaches have a responsibility to themselves and their students to maintain their own effectiveness, resilience and abilities, and to know when their personal resources are so depleted as to make it necessary for them to seek help and/or to withdraw from coaching, whether temporarily or permanently.

13.  Financial Responsibilities

13.1 Accounts for Associations, Clubs and instructors who receive payment, proper accounts should be maintained and prepared by a qualified accountant and submitted annually to the Inland Revenue.

13.2 Charges for training fees and equipment should be reasonable.  The quality of equipment sold should be appropriate to the proposed use and be reflected in the price.

13.3 Hire Fees for the training halls should be promptly paid so as not to put the continued operation of the Association/Club at risk.

13.4 Records of payments made to and by Associations/Clubs should be up to date and stored securely.

14.0 Insurance

14.1 Anyone coaching a session or part of a session should be covered by the appropriate professional indemnity insurance (a minimum of Ł2m cover per incident is recommended) and any other cover appropriate to their situation i.e. club liability, errors and omissions, events cover and public liability.

14.2 All participants must have completed an approved licence / insurance application form before they begin training.  This will help to monitor their suitability for Martial Arts training and will identify the most common physical, medical or other reasons why someone should not take part.

15.0 ChildrenIn The Martial Arts

15.1 Children under the age of 16 years should not be allowed to fight/spar in a freestyle or unsupervised manner.  Any partnered training should be carefully monitored.

15.2 All coaches should make themselves aware of techniques, practices and exercises likely to physically or mentally damage children.  These should be avoided at all times.

15.3 Children require more supervision than adults before, during and after sessions.

15.4 Coaches should avoid at all times any terms, gestures, behaviour or contact with children that could be interpreted as abuse.  It is recommended that parents are allowed access to the Dojo at all times whilst children are being taught.

15.5 The Association / Club should have a Child Protection Policy, a copy of which must be available on request. Advice and information, or copies of a draft policy, can be obtained from the WBF

16.0 Health& Safety

16.1 Associations, Clubs, Coaches and participants have a legal requirement to protect the Health & Safety of people that they train (and train with).  Most martial arts have an element of contact.  Participants should be made aware of the risks associated with this before they begin training.  Every effort must be made to make sure that the training environment, practices and equipment will not cause serious injury to people taking part and also to other users of the training area.

17.0 Criminal Offences

17.1 Some criminal offences should prevent a person from taking part or coaching Martial Arts.  An example would be that anyone convicted of abuse of children should not be allowed to be involved in coaching children.

17.2 Martial Arts Coaches should act reasonably in these circumstances, ensuring that confidentiality is maintained. Martial Arts Coaches should seek appropriate professional advice where they feel this is necessary. Advice is available from WBF if required.

18.0 Grading Syllabus

18.1 Where Martial Arts Coaches use training and grading syllabus, it should be designed to develop the required competence for each grade in skills and techniques in their Martial Art. It should match the Standards set by any National supporting body or other authority recognised by WBF


* Throughout this document “Students” Is taken to include parent(s) or guardians where appropriate.

WBF martial arts President David Kacperski
dave@kika.org.uk  07951091811

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