We are incredibly lucky to have a truly talented team of fantastic staff and volunteers who help make our association the success it is.

Our roots as a community led organisation still run deep, with a large proportion of technical decisions being reached by our voluntary lead committee team and trustees. We’re a living wage employer, and our staff are vetted to the highest standards. Not only are they capable professionals, we ensure they’re also superb, kind people too.

We’re one of the only martial arts associations in the country with a dedicated staff team and offices.

We’re one of the only association’s in the country to have a dedicated office and full time staff.

This helps us offer a professional service to the many thousands of members who use BMABA as their national body.

Meet Our Team

Giovanni Soffietto

Founder & CEO

Giovanni is the award winning social entrepreneur behind both the British Martial Arts & Boxing Association (BMABA) and the Fighting Chance Charitable Foundation. Born into a life of poverty and starting the association with just £20 of capital, he is a living example of how martial arts can offer the opportunity to break free of poverty.

Giovanni has more than two decades of experience in martial arts as a participant, instructor and fighter. He’s also a tenacious (and now award winning) social entrepreneur, having established the BMABA Group of Social Enterprises, MartialHost and #MartialArtsDoneRight among others.

Sarah Shelton-Agar

Head Of Strategy & Charity

Sarah is one of the main faces behind the Fighting Chance Foundation. Her experience of working with high net-worth individuals combined with a superb acumen for building relationships and commercial activities make a superb fit for overseeing the day to day and longer term strategic development of the Foundation’s key charitable aims.

Sarah now works exclusively within the Foundation as the Chief Operations Officer, and oversees all day to day activity and support offered.

Niki Badenoch-Smith

BMABA Chief Operation Officer (COO)

To effectively operate as an association requires the management of huge amounts of data, instructors, clubs and participants across multiple channels. This responsibility primarily rests with the association’s core Operations Team. Niki joined the team as one of our first employees and now heads up the entire Operations Team for the BMABA. She is an intricate part of ensuring the memberships and insurances we deliver are available, set up promptly and professionally serviced. Without Niki and her team, BMABA wouldn’t be able to grow at the ferocious rate we’ve enjoyed over the past few years.

Kirsty Hawkins

Head Of Executive Operations

Kirsty is one of our longest serving members of the team and now plays a crucial role in running the BMABA’s Executive Operations. Kirsty graduated from Bournemouth University with a 1st Class Degree in Leisure Marketing and plays a key role in guiding our media and PR positioning as well as the wider development the association’s core operational model.

As part of the Executive team she is also key to a number of strategic level decisions working closely with Giovanni on matters of commercial and financial longevity.

Isabella Dickinson

Customer Services & Foundation Support

Izzy joined the BMABA team to work in a hybrid role between the core BMABA Operations and Customer Services team, assisting with all manor of day to day membership services alongside a new role, assisting the fledgling Fighting Chance Foundation, find its feet. Izzy’s work with the Foundation will include Research, Grant Applications, Awareness Campaigns and Social Media Management, among other duties.

Catherine Jenner

Operations Support

Cat has joined the core BMABA operations team in a critical role, assisting in student and instructor licencing alongside dispatch management and membership services. Cat works closely with Niki to oversee all day to day club management matters.

Victoria Munford

Customer Services

Victoria has joined BMABA to help us continue providing ‘best in class’ customer services for both our current and new members. Victoria assists Operations and Strategic in ensuring all of our clients have access to the best possible membership support services, as well as helping our new and joining applicants with queries and enquiries across all of our lines of enquiry.

Alice Atgar

Social Media & Digital Media

Alice has joined our team straight from University to help ensure BMABA offers the best presence possible across social media and other digital communication channels. Alice is also assisting Strategic Operations and our Operations Lead in ensuring the most efficient possible turnaround for membership provisions and services by expanding our reach and channels within social media marketing and social media communications.

Takuma Yarwood

Operations Administration

Takuma joined our team in October of 2021 to help bolster our ever-growing workflow and increasing enquiries. Tak specialises in the on-boarding of instructors and new applicants alongside operational workflows. He’s also responsible for overseeing most of the day to day DBS checks ran by BMABA.

Catherine Myers


Catherine works closely with Giovanni and our Executive team to manage the association’s financial day to day running. This includes payroll and accounting, working closely with our accountant. Catherine is a valued part of the BMABA operation.

Our Committee & Voluntary Assembly

We would also like to also thank all of our extended team, including Anna and Tim who both work closely as trustees, alongside Aimee, Liam, Chris in Digital and our other contributors within the community and on payroll who help BMABA grow and thrive.

We’re here to help with any questions or queries.

Access expert guidance and speak with our dedicated team for queries on membership, insurance, eligibility, us or just about anything else you might need.

We’re not based from a kitchen worktop, nor do we employ call centres overseas to answer generic FAQs for us. We have three locations throughout the UK including our Headquarters in West Sussex. BMABA boasts over 1,250sqft of newly refurbished top-spec office space for our dedicated staff and everyone you speak with here – be it via email, live chat, Facebook or phone – is part of the team and not an outsourced agent.


01798 306546

We’re always happy to speak with new and current members by phone.

Lines are generally staffed between the hours of 9.30am and 2.30pm Monday to Thursday. Occasionally you may not be able to reach us if we’re all tied up elsewhere (you’re calling a real office, not a call-centre!) but we provide an answer phone service 24/7. Please leave a message and we’ll be happy to call you back as soon as we’re free.

(We’re a modern organisation, so we welcome your enquiry via email, SMS, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and various other channels. See how you can reach us.)

Or, if you prefer, you’re welcome to;

From appearing on BBC Radio and national newspapers, to winning industry-specialist awards and working closely with organisations such as the Home Office, we’re one of the most credible names in UK martial arts. Learn More.

We’re a certified social enterprise, which means every penny spent with BMABA not only supports Fighting Chance Foundation, but also helps tackle climate change, plant trees and fund clean water projects around the world. Learn More.

Latest Updates

Articles & Guides You May Find Helpful

Join One Of The UK’s Largest Communities Of Independent Martial Arts Clubs

We’re one of the largest martial arts associations in the UK with more than 60,000 registered members across thousands of clubs and instructors.

We have our own offices, not just the kitchen table.

Let’s be clear; there’s nothing wrong with smaller martial arts associations. In fact, we think it’s good for competition and variety. Unfortunately too many are one-man bands run from kitchen tables, and not professional set ups with staff. Worst still, they’re made to look as if they’re bigger and more recognised than they truly are, which puts your club at risk.

We have three locations – Manchester, London and West Sussex. Our HQ has over 1,400sqft of dedicated, bespoke office space for our team of staff and volunteers.

Founded in 2012 by the now Multi-Award Winning Social Entrepreneur & Life-Long Martial Artist

Frustrated by a lack of affordable, professional alternatives to the associations Giovanni Soffietto had dealt with when participating and then teaching Thai Boxing and Karate, BMABA was founded.

Focused on professional standards and ethics rather than belts and titles, BMABA boasts the pedigree of a life-long martial arts expert come award winning social entrepreneur as it’s Chief Executive Officer. It’s fair to say we’re well qualified and backed by an industry giant. He’s also been awarded Men’s Health Coach Of The Year for his work setting up the Fighting Chance Foundation.

Our Membership Isn’t Just A Piece Of Paper

We have always been focused on providing clubs with everything they need under a single membership, and our range of resources, tools and features delivers exactly that.

From template grading certificates and documents through to a free club website and national club listings. Whether it be advice on club structure and marketing or membership marks and qualifications. DBS checks, first aid qualifications, coaching certificates, instructor licenses, insurance, business plans, equipment, graphics – you named it, we cover it under just one simple, affordable membership.

Club Colours Award That Meets Sport England’s Mark

Our Club Colours Award process not only issues a ‘school of excellence’ mark to clubs who hold it, but the safeguarding oversight has been approved by Sport England and allows us to automatically issue the ‘Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts’ award to every club that holds our ‘tick mark’.

We receive zero funding to run this, but we ensure it’s completely free for every single BMABA member to access.

Our Profits Fund The Fighting Chance Foundation

All of our eligible profits are donated to the Fighting Chance Foundation to help change lives through martial arts.

From programmes designed to help children in poverty and women & girls at risk of violence through to anti-knife campaigns and disability inclusion work, the Fighting Chance Foundation changes lives through martial arts.

We Back Our Members, Even During The Darkest Of Times

Our response and support throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic confirmed to the industry the way BMABA treats it’s members and we’ve doubled-down during the cost of living crisis, too.

During COVID we provided daily updates, dedicated online training hubs, access to a free COVID instructor qualification, subsidised insurances, a self-funded Covid Recovery Scheme, mediation services with local authorities and interpretations of DCMS policy. We increased our operational hours to ensure a 7 day a week response and invested more than ever in our systems, processes and memberships. This is what an association should be doing for its members we believe. As our slogan goes; “To High Places By Narrow Roads“.

Moving forwards into the ‘cost of living crisis’ we’re continuing to provide an unbelievable level of support to clubs by ring-fencing pricing at 2019 levels, providing additional discounts and funding grants to smaller clubs, introducing new resources, boosting marketing for clubs and so much more.

The Most Powerful Member’s Area Of Any UK Martial Arts Association

Split across three systems – MyBMABA, The Instructor Portal and The Help Desk, BMABA boast the industry’s most powerful member’s area. Access communities, forums, resources, tools, insurance, membership records, tickets, web provisions, news and updates across any device – including via our new app – 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Our member’s area ensures you get the most from your membership.

Stunning Printed Certification & Instructor Pack

This membership option includes our beautiful and professional instructor certification in printed format as part of your Instructor Pack. You’ll receive all of your documentation on 220gsm woven certificate paper, embossed, foiled and stamped to ensure premium documentation that sets you apart from the competition.

Unrivalled Support Setting Up & Growing Your Club

Whether your ambition is to start a small not for profit club or to build up the next national franchise, our range of business support, online courses, resources, tools, template excel spreadsheets, expert articles and more will help your club thrive.

Certification, Insurance & Evidence With You, On The Go.

Access your BMABA instructor’s documentation, student license slips, insurance certification and even you’re own submitted DBS checks, first aid qualifications and other criteria. Our systems provide you with access to all of this documentation on the go, 24/7. Be it from a mobile, our app or a desktop – so you can access, download and share your certification when you need it most.


Available on Android and OS devices, the BMABA app allows instructors and clubs – as well as students and parents via a second, separate app – access to the latest updates, resources, guidance, community, forums and loads more. Bring your association, along with all your digital certification – with you in your pocket.

Access To Qualifications & Training

We’re always building on our library of industry-leading awards and qualifications. This includes our Level 1 and Level 2 instructor qualifications, our Safeguarding & Lead Safeguarding qualifications, our First Aid Award, Club Colours Award, Club Management Qualifications and so much more.

Student Management Software

We provide you with access to exclusive student management software which will help you track attendance, see student details, show your class schedule, accept online bookings, run a club shop, update your members with club news, run a member’s only area and so much more. All completely free of charge.

Shop St. Provided Free Of Charge

Shop St. is a premium app that provides access to huge discounts across hundreds of retailers, restaurants and stockists. It’s usually exclusively for employees of large organisations but we’ve secured access for our members, and we’ll foot the bill for you too.

Free Designated Safeguarding Lead Service

We know Safeguarding can be a difficult area for smaller clubs to field, and that’s why we’ve stepped up to the plate to offer a completely free designated safeguarding lead service. This allows your club to designated BMABA as the welfare officer, which means we’ll deal with all your safeguarding concerns, questions and referrals.

More Than £1,250 Of Premium Services & Tools

From template grading certificates, safeguarding policies and club registration forms to our online logo designer, club accreditation marks and premium club finder listings. It’s all inclusive and wrapped up into your membership fee so you can access more services with us than anywhere else without paying a penny more.

National Referrals From ASDA, Yeo Valley & More

We’ve secured an exclusive contract with a national marketing company that means BMABA is the only martial arts association to serve a number of national retailers who reward their customers with free sports lessons. We’ll be fielding referrals from a number of national organisations such as ASDA as the only martial arts provider for their customers when redeeming loyalty points.

Everything You Need For An Online Presence

Access hundreds of pounds of hosting provisions and tech services as part of your membership. From AWS specialist managed wordpress hosting and free site migrations (if you already have a WordPress website) to a premium drag and drop site builder, all inclusive with your own domain name, email and tech support if you need it.

Your Membership Makes A Difference

We’re a social enterprise. This means your fees don’t go into the back pocket of a self-appointed 10th Dan. We plant trees to fight global warming, we fund clean water projects to save lives in developing nations and we make sure your membership to us, and our organisations’ operations are Carbon Neutral. We also donate all of our profits to the Fighting Chance Foundation to help them change lives in the UK through martial arts.

Club Colours Award Included

Enjoy open access to our Club Colours Qualification and the associated Award, which makes your club a ‘School of Excellence’. Our Club Colours Award, which looks to ensure clubs are up to date and compliant with best practice and safeguarding is of such a high standard it will automatically entitle clubs to be awarded (or renewed on) the Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts on completion.

Marketing & Design Software

We’ve invested heavily in software and tech to help clubs perform better online. Included in your membership is access to our flagship and industry-exclusive design and marketing software. Effortlessly create leaflets, business cards, brochures, certificates, banners and so much more with our online editor and software suite.

Plus So Much More

Our membership never stands still. From the latest tech to more template documents and certificates, martial arts fitness and nutrition recipe books to safeguarding training and qualifications – we’re always adding to what BMABA offers and it’s always wrapped up in the idea of ‘one membership, one price’.

You won't find another UK martial arts association that can offer so much to their members.


Not entirely sure?

Try us for free for 12 months, with no obligation.

There’s absolutely no obligation to commit beyond 12 months. You’ll be able to explore what we offer, our member’s area, all of our licensing options and get a better feel for the BMABA’s service without any obligation to become a full member. We genuinely believe the best way to find out if we’re any good is to try us for yourself.

Switching To Us

We know there’s a lot to think about, and we can help.

We have absolutely no interest in enticing you to switch to BMABA if we’re not the right fit. We know that won’t last and isn’t good for you or us. Instead, we can offer a confidential switching process to help you price up whether or not it’s worth while, whilst also getting answers to any questions you might have.