A month on from Boris Johnson’s lock-down announcement, Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on society as a whole around the world. We of course will be focusing on the impact this is having on martial arts. In short, it’s been largely crippling and devastating for the industry as a whole and now is the time – perhaps more so than ever before – for us to pull together and adapt. If we don’t, we will not survive.
As our clubs will already know, we are proud to be at the forefront of technological developments in the martial arts world. We’re also self-funded with absolutely no support from Sport England or the UK Government, and this puts us as at a huge advantage. We’re fast to adapt and are not tethered to the whims of funding pots and bureaucracy. We’re going to put this to it’s best use possible now to help as many clubs as possible survive.
We will be speaking with Sport England on the week commencing 27th April and would like to formally collect as much data as possible on the impact of Covid 19 on BMABA clubs and instructors.
Where are we now with Coronavirus and martial arts?
Unfortunately, things haven’t improved for our sector since Boris Johnson’s last briefing. The continued lockdown is going to exacerbate an already fragile martial arts landscape. Whilst there is an option of survival buried within online teaching, uptake seems slow.
During the 22nd April 2020 daily briefing, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty remarked;
The UK will have to live with some disruptive social measures for at least the rest of the year, the government’s chief medical adviser has said.
Prof Chris Whitty said it was “wholly unrealistic” to expect life would suddenly return to normal soon. He said “in the long run” the ideal way out would be via a “highly effective vaccine” or drugs to treat the disease. But he warned that the chance of having those within the next calendar year was “incredibly small”.
“This disease is not going to be eradicated, it is not going to disappear,” he said, at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing. “So we have to accept that we are working with a disease that we are going to be with globally… for the foreseeable future.”
It seems highly likely we will NOT see a fast relaxation of social distancing, nor will we be returning ‘back to normal’ any time soon. Realistically, we need to brace for more difficult times ahead. The premise of ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best‘ seems the most prudent thing for our clubs and instructors to now be doing.
If you’re hoping this will pass over and return to normality shortly, we now implore you to take action to keep your club alive.
So What Are We (The BMABA) Doing To Help?
It’s important to stress again that we are self funded and have absolutely no help from any external parties in our efforts to prop up our clubs. We hope this might help provide some context for you when assessing whether or not you feel we’re doing enough but also when benchmarking our action against other NGBs whom we know are doing very little, if anything at all.
We can say with certainty there is no other martial arts association in the UK doing as much as we are right now on the resources available.
Here’s just some of what we’re doing right now to provide immediate support;
We’re funding £30,000 of subsidies and discounts, with more available if needed.
Whilst we can’t provide grants to clubs (we have far too many to make this viable) we are providing in excess of £30,000 subsidies to anyone who needs it. Be it a new registration or a renewal – membership, insurance, safeguarding training and so on; everything is discounted and we’re providing further price cuts wherever possible to help our clubs. If we breach the £30k (which we are set to) we have lined up another £15,000 in support. If we reach the £45k mark we’ll extend it again. You don’t need to do anything to access this discounting – it’s applied to every price on our website automatically.
We’ve footed the bill for insurance adaptations and are innovating with our broking team
We were one of the very first associations to be able to confirm to our members that your BMABA instructor insurance, served via our group cover policy, will cover both pre-recorded and live-stream remote sessions. We took that one further by providing a dedicated online delivery suite to provide help with logistics, mechanics and technology too. Whilst the only real current restriction (in insurance terms) is clubs not being able to recruit new members online, we’ve also overcome this too. This will be a UK first and we will confirm details very shortly.
We’re commissioning thousands of pounds of research and datasets
Without data it’s impossible to make a balanced argument for help from Sport England. Martial Arts traditionally has nothing in place to provide data or background. To remedy this, we’re funding thousands of pounds of research both internally and externally to the association. Already our National Survey has received thousands of responses and it’s just a start. We’re funding all of this internally for the benefit of the whole industry. You can learn more from our Fighting Chance Foundation.
We’re building the UK’s largest group of martial arts social enterprises
It’s crucial we now have the might of a large proportion of the UK martial arts sector behind us if we are to speak on its behalf. To help us reach more clubs and instructors and influence more industry change, we’re launching the BMABA Group of Social Enterprises. This is absolutely massive so we’re going to both keep it slightly underwraps, and save it for a separate press release shortly. We assure you, the Group will come with benefits for every member and we look forward to sharing it shortly.
We’re petitioning Sport England to step in and help you
This is the big one. Having launched £195,000,000 of funding to help the UK sport and recreation sector survive Covid 19, we’re determined our clubs should receive a cut of this. We’re engaging with Sport England and conducting emergency funding surveys to ensure we know what support is needed, has been awarded and has been turned down.