Martial arts instructor

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Martial arts instructors teach all aspects of a particular martial art such as karate or jujitsu.
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What does a martial arts instructor do?

Martial arts instructors help people understand the philosophy and history of their chosen martial art, and teach them the skills they need to take part safely.

A martial arts instructor would:

  • prepare lesson plans
  • demonstrate warm ups, skills training, and physical conditioning
  • coach students by breaking down techniques into simple moves
  • develop individual training programmes
  • observe and assess students, and give them feedback on their progress
  • develop and practice your own skills
  • take responsibility for the health and safety of students, and for teaching safe training habits
  • promote classes
This role could involve working with both adults and children, instructing them at an appropriate level.

What do I need to do to become a martial arts instructor?

To train as a martial arts instructor you would need a coaching qualification recognised by the National Governing Body (NGB) for your martial arts discipline.

Before completing a coaching qualification you would need:

  • to be aged at least 18
  • instructor membership of an NGB
  • a minimum grade approved by your NGB
  • a recommendation from your association before attending an instructor award course

Some NGBs may expect you to have held an assistant coach qualification for six months. The NGB for your discipline will advise on appropriate qualifications. Instructor awards differ between NGBs – they are usually studied either as short full-time courses or through distance learning.

If you will be working with children, young people or other vulnerable groups, you will need Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance.

Some NGBs will expect you to have a children’s instructor award before working with children. It can also help to have experience of teaching or coaching another sport.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Discipline
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organisation
  • Patience

Essential qualifications

  • A coaching qualification recognised by the National Governing Body (NGB)

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

As a martial arts instructor, you would usually be self-employed. Instructing could be either your main source of income or a second income, alongside another job.


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