5 Misconceptions About BMABA

We’ve gained notoriety and size at a considerable pace over the past decade and in doing so, we’ve found a handful of competitors have seeded misconceptions and falsehoods about our association and what we’re about.

Here’s 5 of the most common misconceptions about the British Martial Arts & Boxing Association and why you might want to consider joining.

"BMABA are a small association"

This is a notion that clearly hasn’t been updated by some of the ‘old boys’. In 2012 we closed our first year of membership with just 12 members. Today we stand at more than 100,000 members strong and counting. 

We have a dedicated team working from our West Sussex HQ, with additional staff working remotely across our other locations.

It’s difficult to travel more than 25 miles in any direction without bumping into a BMABA registered instructor or club. Clearly neither small, nor insignificant. 

"BMABA have no real resources or staff etc"

We have three locations – Manchester, London and our headquarters located in West Sussex. In 2020 we upsized to the Old Bakery in Petworth, taking on over 1,400 sqft of prime office space and undertaking an extensive, custom refurbishment to make it fit BMABA and it’s team. We have a fast-growing team of ‘real’ employees who work exclusively for BMABA, and we have a wider network of agencies and partners supporting this growth too.

"BMABA give out 'mickey-mouse' grades to anyone who pays"

This one really frustrates us. We’ve always been crystal clear on our position with grades and formal awards. 

Whilst we appreciate their place in martial arts (especially traditional disciplines) we have never and will never issue any 1st Dan Award. We require every lead instructor joining BMABA to already hold a 1st dan or equivalent. It can’t be bought through us at any price.

We have a very limited, small-scale vocational grading panel made up of highly senior instructors (almost all of which have come from the associations and NGBs who now make this claim!) who will undertake vocational gradings on a merit-only basis. Fees payable for this process don’t even cover our staff costs, so we’re under no commercial pressure to award grades or promotions. To date, despite representing more than 100,000 martial artists, BMABA have awarded less than 100 dan grades.

"BMABA aren't recognised and shouldn't be trusted"

We hear this alot and it’s usually the desperate parting words of a group about to lose a club to us. We’re not a Sport England NGB and can’t possibly be, as we’re multi-style and not single style. We’re also very proud to be independent and self-funded as it has enabled us to move heaven and earth in the independent market for our members.

We’ve worked in collaboration with GB Taekwondo, have been signposted to from the Home Office for their #knifefree campaign, are followed by UK Government on Twitter, are a part of the Sport England Martial Arts Safeguarding Group (MASG), hold the Safeguarding Code In Martial Arts Organisational Certification, are a member of the Sport & Recreation Alliance, Welsh Sports Association, Scottish Sports Association – and so on it goes.

The truth is, we have as much credibility as our work and that has led to us appearing in national newspapers and radio as well as winning multiple industry and out-of-industry awards for our organisation and membership projects.


"BMABA are all about the money"

During COVID, we received £0 support from any funding sources, including Sport England. Our Founder poured his life-savings into BMABA to keep it afloat, so we could gift out memberships, insurances and licences to as many clubs as possible to keep dojos open.

Beyond this, we’ve been a registered social enterprise since 2016 and have mandated 100% of our profits to our BMABA Fighting Chance Foundation since 2018. 

We’ve planted thousands of trees, funded clean water projects and help provide scholarships to children in poverty, male mental health focus groups, campaign to get more women and girls into martial arts, have donated thousands of pounds of bleed control kits; and so on.

We believe in generating substantial revenue across the association so that these funds can be ploughed back into making BMABA better, and making UK martial arts more accessible. We’ve done that time and time again, most recently with our cutting-edge courses, Club Management Software and even our own in-house, self-funded grant programme for clubs.

Something to ponder.

Time and time again we’ve faced harassment and slander from both indepedent associations and at times, NGBs. Whilst we’re happy to discount all of this as the dying swan of the ‘old boys’ club, the major confoundment for us is the repeated wobbles of one or two of the more established organisations whom claim BMABA have no authority. Whilst we’ve never claimed any such authority (so have no idea what that means!) we are now home to a number of senior graded and nationally acclaimed instructors from numerous NGBs and major independent associations. This includes many senior examiners and/or national figures. We find it strange how whilst with the incumbent, their grades issued are worth their weight in gold but – the moment they switch organisations – said grades are worthless and commercial’ in nature! To us, it stinks of politics and desperate marketing. 

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Join More Than 6,500 Like-Minded Instructors & Clubs

Representing Over 100,000 Members Across 94 Disciplines

A completely free club management system.

We know. What’s the catch? Well, we’re a trade body for martial arts, not a profit-hungry corporation. We know how important the latest tech is in keeping our clubs kicking and – ultimately – that keeps us going too!

FREE Club Management Software Exclusively Built By Us, Just For Our Clubs

ClubManager by BMABA is our in-house, professionally developed Club Management solution. It’s free for all of our members and comes with a tonne of essential and groundbreaking features as standard.


  • Attendance & Grade Tracking
  • Student Records Management
  • Class Bookings & Timetables
  • Flexible Payments & Memberships
  • Grading Certificates Generator
  • Licence Slip & Documents Generator
  • Customised Branding & Functionality
  • Data Freedom & Ownership
  • Leads & Prospects Management
  • Online Video Training Library
  • 1to1 Tuition Management & Billing
  • Events Management & Ticketing
  • Secure Safeguarding Case Management
  • Manage Events & Competitions
  • Student Portal & Member's Content
  • Concussion & RtP Management
  • Digital Incident Log Book
  • Digital Risk Assessments
  • Task Management
  • Registrations & Waivers
  • Built-In Club Community & Forums
  • Manual Invoicing
  • Accounting & Budgeting
  • Staff Management & Staffroom
  • Calendar & Scheduling
  • Business Management & Planning
  • Easy To Use Parent Accounts

Membership with BMABA is so much more than just a piece of paper.

From template grading certificates and draft 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 – even club management platforms and web hosting. We can cover it under just one simple, affordable membership.

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

Frustrated by a governing structure in martial arts that failed to look forward to the future, Giovanni setup BMABA in 2012. Aged just 20 with only £20 of ‘start-up capital’ BMABA comes from humble beginnings.

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. We now turnover more than £1,000,000 and support tens of thousands of martial artists across the UK.

"BMABA give away belts for cash"

"BMABA don't care about safeguarding"

"BMABA are so unprofessional"

Over the past 13+ years we’ve heard so much of this sort of nonsense from the ‘old boys’ associations.

The truth couldn’t be further than their lazy, fear-filled assertions. We’re a disruptor, renowned for our professionalism and governance, but they wouldn’t want you to know that. 

In an industry so full of cowboys, we don’t expect you to take our word for any of this. Dig beneath the surface, and see for yourself.

Membership To BMABA Is So Much More Than 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 Exceeds Sport England’s Safeguarding Standards

Our Club Colours Award process not only issues a ‘school of excellence’ mark to clubs who hold it, but the safeguarding oversight has been mapped against SCiMA and then approved by Sport England which 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.

We’re the only independent association who can offer this.

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

Tired of waiting weeks for hand-written documents in the post? Access your BMABA instructor’s documentation, student license slips, insurance certification and even your own submitted DBS checks, first aid qualifications and other criteria 24/7.

Our systems provide you with access to all of this documentation on the go. 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 for free on Android and OS devices, the BMABA app allows instructors, volunteers and assistant instructors to access the latest updates, resources, guidance, community, forums and loads more. Bring your association, along with all your digital certification – with you in your pocket.

Industry Renowned 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, Risk Management, Concussion & Head Injury, and so much more. 

All online and accessible 24/7 from any device.

The Ultimate, FREE, Club Management Platform

We provide all members 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 members’ only area and so much more. All completely free of charge.

From SEO, AI and Analytics through to content publishing, class scheduling, online incident log book entries and so, so much more. It’s all inclusive at no extra cost making BMABA the industry leaders in affordable tech solutions for martial arts clubs.

£1,000 Of Tools, Rolled Into One Affordable Membership

From template grading certificates, safeguarding policies and club registration forms to our online logo designer, club accreditation marks and premium club finder listings. BMABA Club Cash Grants and designated safeguarding lead services through to marketing plans, SEO platforms, AI software, Wordpress websites, web hosting and so, so much more. 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.

We Grant Up To £500 To Help Clubs Make Charitable Impact & Grow

Our BMABA Club Grants Scheme donates up to £500 per grant to clubs up and down the UK of all sizes. It helps to make a difference to clubs who want to make a charitable impact, purchase new kit to offer safer classes, or need emergency support in times of crisis. 

We’ve funded research into safeguarding failures in MMA, classes for women and girls at risk of abuse, scholarships for children living in poverty, new mats and punchbags for clubs wanting to safer classes, and so much more.

All self funded. From our profits, back into our community.

Ready to take your club to new heights?

It's in our slogan; "To High Places By Narrow Roads".

Plus So Much More As Standard Just Some Of The Tools & Resources We Offer

  • Instructor Certification & Licensing
  • Student Insurance & Licensing
  • Free Instructor Qualifications
  • Safeguarding Qualifications
  • Enhanced DBS Checks
  • First Aid Training
  • Free Club Website
  • Club Management Support
  • Instructor Certification & Licensing
  • Logos & Accreditation Marks
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Platform
  • Local & National Networking
  • Stock Grading Certificates
  • Free Instructor Qualifications
  • Template Documents & Forms
  • Printing & Design
  • Safeguarding Code For Martial Arts
  • Best Practice Guidance
  • Wordpress Hosting
  • a.i For Martial Arts
  • Event Management Checklists
  • Safeguarding Model Policies
  • Analytics & Tracking Tools
  • Budgeting Apps
  • Professional Webmail
  • Clothing & Uniform
  • Cyber Toolkit
  • Cash Grants & Funding
  • Risk Management Awards
  • Concussion & Head Injury
  • National Advertising
  • Entrepreneur's Support
  • Plus So Much More

Not entirely convinced?

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 yourself.

Thinking of switching?

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.

We have a real team based out of a real office.

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.


BMABA. Suite I & K, The Old Bakery, Golden Square, Petworth. GU28 0AP

Registered Office

BMABA, 132 City Road, London. N1 6AD

Servicing Office

BMABA, International House, Woolwich House, 61 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HZ

The UK's Leading and Largest Multi-Style Trade Body For Martial Arts

BMABA Limited T/A British Martial Arts & Boxing Association
Registered Address: Kemp House, 132 City Road. London. EC1V 2NX
HQ: BMABA, The Old Bakery. Golden Square, Petworth. GU28 0AP
Servicing Office: International House, Woolwich House, 61 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HZ
Phone: 0333 335 6032  | EMail: info@bmaba.org.uk

BMABA Limited. Reg. 10676965.
ICO Registration Number: ZA241917
Social Enterprise License No: 11677
VAT Registration Number: 373018216

Emergency Services, Armed Forces and NHS front line staff are all entitled to 10% discounts across all of our memberships for live. This applies to all ex-serving armed forces and emergency workers too.

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