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. 

Ready to take your club to new heights?

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