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Martial Arts Instructor Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Martial Arts Instructor. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Martial Arts Instructor
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Martial Arts Instructor Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Martial arts instructors help people learn the skills they need to participate safely and to the best of their ability in a particular martial arts discipline. They work with adults and children, across a wide range of capabilities.

Instructors demonstrate techniques and coach at a level that is appropriate to the individual students. They write training programmes, maintain equipment and give students feedback on their progress. They are also responsible for the health and safety, and child protection of their students, where appropriate.

Every martial arts discipline has a National Governing Body with its own rules and regulations. Instructors must be familiar with these so they can teach them to participants.

Hours and Environment

Martial arts instructors usually work evenings and weekends, when most people participate in recreation. Sessions can last between one and three hours usually with a break. Some competitive instructors may be present at training sessions and competitions, resulting in long working hours. Travel may be involved.

Instructors work in a variety of locations depending on their opportunities and preferences, from church halls and pub rooms to leisure centres and martial arts studios.

The work involves some periods of standing observing others participate, mixed with periods of activity when the instructor demonstrates or trains with participants.

Skills and Interests

To be a martial arts instructor you should have:

  • in-depth knowledge of your discipline
  • a good understanding of martial arts terminology
  • good technical ability in your discipline
  • good verbal communication skills
  • enthusiasm for your discipline
  • perserverance and patience
  • the ability to inspire confidence and motivate others
  • a tactful approach to students
  • good organisational skills
  • physical stamina.


You will normally need to be 18 or over to train to be an instructor.It may be possible under some NGBs to train as an assistant coach at 16. Late entry is common for adults in this field. Most martial arts instructors are in their 20s and 30s, but a few continue until usual retirement age.

No formal academic qualifications are needed to work as a martial arts instructor but you will need instructor membership of a NGB, an instructor award and professional indemnity insurance.

You will normally need to hold a minimum grade approved by your chosen NGB (A minimum of 1st Kyu but 1st Dan Black Belt is preferable), a valid first aid certificate and a recommendation from your association before attending an instructor award course. Some bodies may require that you have held an assistant coach qualification for six months.

Sometimes coaching awards can be delivered at the association level if approved by your disciplines NGB.

Instructor awards differ between NGBs and are usually studied either as a short full-time course or through distance learning.

British National Martial Arts Association offers MASTARR (Martial Arts Safety Training Agency Registered Resources) qualifications in coaching, instructing, first aid, health and safety, and child protection. These courses lead to membership of the Coachsafe scheme used as a vetting procedure by local authorities and other interested bodies.


Some NGBs require further training for instructors to achieve a childrens instructor award before working with children.

City and Guilds(4831/2) NVQ 1-4 in Sport, Recreation and Allied Occupations (some modules are specific to martial arts) is available to practising instructors as on-the-job training.

Sports Coach UK offers an extensive programme of personal development courses for coaches from all sports and at every level. All courses provide necessary underpinning knowledge to help coaches generate evidence for the NVQ/SVQs in coaching.

Senior coach qualifications are available from some NGBs. They are for instructors that have experience of training 1st Dan Black belt students. They normally have many years of experience and have achieved at least 3rd Dan.

Further training courses are available for instructors that would also like to grade individuals, or act as referees or competition officials.

The Armed Forces offer the same awards as those recognised by civilian sporting bodies.


Instructors are generally self-employed and they promote themselves as businesses. Their work is either a main source of income or a second income. They can develop their business through marketing, using specialist premises and equipment, and employing others.

Instructors could also work in military, law enforcement or security roles.

There is the potential to set up your own school or association with a senior instructor award and some years experience. Opportunities vary between disciplines. Contact your National Governing Body for details.

Annual Income

The annual income section is intended as a guideline only.

There are no set salary rates for martial arts instructors. Many are self-employed and their income varies according to their reputation, environment and the number of students enrolled with them.

The hourly rate for instructors ranges from £6-£20 an hour.

Further information

BNMA (British National Martial Arts Association)
12 Princes Avenue
Stanford le Hope
SS17 7PU
Tel: 01375 402434

NAKMAS (National Association of Karate and Martial Arts Schools)
Bullockstone Road
Herne Bay
Tel: 01227 370055

Amateur Martial Association
66 Chaddesden Lane
DE21 6LP
Tel: 01332 663 086

British Judo Association
Suite B
Loughborough Technology Centre
Epinal Way
LE11 3RG
Tel: 01509 631670

Sports Coach UK
114 Cardigan Road
Tel: 0113 274 4802

Other Useful Martial Arts Instructor Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Martial Arts Instructor job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Martial Arts Instructor Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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