top of page

Code of Conduct - Instructors

BPMA Logo_edited_edited_edited.png

Latest review: February 2021

The purpose of this code of conduct is to establish and maintain standards for instructors within Black Paw Martial Arts Academy and to inform and protect members of the public using their services.

The code of conduct sets out a series of standards in respect of integrity, responsibility, competence and confidentiality. Black Paw Martial Arts instructors must be fully aware of this code and accept their responsibility to students, fellow instructors, Black Paw Martial Arts and to society.


Black Paw Martial Arts Instructors (level 4) should be a minimum of 18 years old, and a minimum grade of Brown with Black Stripe. They must acknowledge they are responsible for the observation of the principles embodied in this code of conduct.


Instructors must respect the rights, dignity and worth of every human being and their ultimate right to self determination. Specifically, instructors 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.


A good instructor will be concerned primarily with the well-being, safety, health and future of the individual student and only secondarily with the optimisation of performance.

A key element in an instructor/ student relationship is the development of independence. Students must be encouraged to accept responsibility for their own behavior and performance in training, in competition, and in their social life.

Instructors are responsible for setting and keeping the boundaries between a working relationship and friendship with their students. This is particular important when the instructor and student are of opposite sex/or when the student is a young person. The instructor 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.

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

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


Instructors should clarify in advance with students their membership level, related fees (if any) and accepted methods of payment. They should also explore with students the expectation of the outcome of training.

Instructors have a responsibility to declare to their students any other current coaching commitments which may cause a conflict of interest. Instructors should also find out if any prospective student is currently receiving training in the same martial art from another teacher/ coach. If so, that teacher/ coach should be contacted to discuss the situation.


Instructors should communicate and cooperate with other martial arts instructors and allied professions in the best interests of their students.

Instructors must communicate and cooperate with registered medical and ancillary practitioners in the diagnosis, treatment and management of their student’s medical and psychological problems.


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

Instructors shall not display any affiliation with an organisation in a manner that falsely implies sponsorship or accreditation by that organisation.


Instructors should refrain from public criticism of fellow coaches. Differences of option should be dealt with on a personal basis and more serious disputes should be referred to the senior instructor.

Instructors 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.

Instructors 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.

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

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


Instructors inevitability 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.

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

  • Evaluation of the student within the sport for competitive selection purposes

  • Recommendation concerning students for professional purposes

  • Pursuit of disciplinary action involving students within the sport

  • Pursuit of disciplinary action by the association, club or other relevant body involving fellow instructors in alleged breaches of this code of conduct. In all of these cases, the student must be made aware of who the information will be provided to and why

  • Legal and medical requirements for disclosure

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

  • In connection with action to protect children from abuse

Abuse of Privilege

Instructors are 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.

Personal Standards

Instructors must consistently display high personal standards

Instructors should never smoke when teaching

Instructors should not drink alcohol during teaching or so soon before teaching that the smell will still be on their breathe when working with students

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


Instructors have the responsibility to ensure the safety of the students with whom they work as far as possible within the limits of their control

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

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

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

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

Instructors have a responsibility to protect children from abuse.


Instructors shall confine themselves to practice in those fields of sport in which they have been trained/ educated, and which are IMASA to be valid. Valid areas of expertise are those directly concerned with karate 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.

Instructors 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.

Instructors should continuously seek ways of increasing their professional development and self awareness.

Instructors should welcome evaluation of their work by colleagues and be able to account to students, senior instructors, employers and colleagues for their actions.

Instructors 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 teaching, whether temporarily or permanently.


Anyone teaching a session or part of a session should be covered by the appropriate professional indemnity insurance (a minimum of £5m cover per incident is recommended) and any other cover appropriate to their situation i.e. club liability, events cover and public liability.

All participants must have obtained insurance and licence 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.

Children in the Martial Arts

Children should not be allowed to fight/ spar in a freestyle or unsupervised manner. Any partnered training should be carefully monitored.

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

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

Instructors 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 timed whilst children are being taught.

The club should have a Child Protection Policy, a copy of which must be available on request.

Health & Safety

Associations, clubs, instructors and participants have a legal requirement to protect the health and safety of people that they train (and train with). Karate has 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.

Criminal Offences

Some criminal offences should prevent a person from taking part in or teaching martial arts. An example would be that anyone convicted of abuse of children should not be allowed to be involved in teaching children.

Instructors should act reasonably in these circumstances, ensuring that confidentiality is maintained. Instructors should seek appropriate professional advice where they feel this is necessary.

*throughout this document “student” is taken to include parents or guardians where appropriate

bottom of page