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Safeguarding in Martial Arts – Safe Practice

Reviewed : 09/02/2022

Safeguarding in Martial Arts: Safe Practice  

The WJO and all Jado Kuin Do / Jado Chi / Jado Systems classes operate in accordance with current government COVID guidelines.

Martial Arts are activities where safe practice is essential to help prevent injury. Children* are particularly vulnerable as they are still developing mentally and physically, so training methods need to be modified as described below. (*also includes Adults at Risk)

Please consider the following:

  1. Warm Ups

All activities should first include a thorough warm up which is appropriate for the activity taking place. To help reduce the risk of injury, specific attention should be paid to those muscle groups that will be used during later activity.

  1. Throwing, grappling and strangling (not currently taught or part of the WJO syllabus)

The risks include but are not limited to: falling on unsuitable surfaces; landing on the head; damage to the joints from locks; strangulation.

Safe practice should include, but is not limited to:

  • Checking the matted area for suitability, particularly where the mats have been joined.
  • Checking that there are no hard surfaces or sharp/hard objects around the matted area.
  • Having an experienced instructor who will ensure that children are not taught to use locks, throws or strangles which will cause injury.
  1. Strikes, punches and kicks

The risks include but are not limited to: concussion (brain injury) from heavy blows to the head; damage to internal organs and joints from heavy blows; injury from inappropriate stretching and other exercises.

  • There are some key points to consider in this section, particularly around head contact for under 16s.
  • Students must be of white belt grade before they can free spar, and that is only if they are competent (instructor discretion required).
  • There should be no/or minimal contact to the head when engaging in partner work. When sparring the WJO approved head guard must be worn at all times along with a properly fitted mouth guard. If striking the head minimal contact without any follow-through should be made on the head guard. There must be minimal or no contact for all students under 16yrs of age (at the instructor’s discretion). Kicking the head is not permitted at any time. The only head strikes or contact permitted to the head is with the back-fist or ridge-hand to the head guard only. If contact is made it should be with no power and minimal contact to the head guard and then the hand must be retracted immediately with no follow through at all. Please note that head strikes are at the discretion of the instructor.  Striking the face is not permitted.  If a head injury occurs or there is excessive contact to the head a Head Injury Assessment must be carried out by the instructor and or another 1st aid qualified assistant and immediate 1st Aid should be administered with the opportunity and ability to call for an ambulance if necessary.


  • When engaging in full sparring, full Jado Kuin Do protection must be worn: head guard, boxing gloves/sparring mitts, groin protection, shin protectors, foot protectors, and a well-fitted/fitting mouth guard/gum shield of the student’s/ parent’s/career’s choice.
  • When engaging in ‘hands only’ sparring (sparring using only the hands to strike and block – no kicks or strikes to below the belt at all) the Jado Kuin Do head guard, sports mitts/boxing gloves, and a well fitted gum shield/mouth guard must be worn at all times with no exceptions. This applies to all students – adults, colts (17-16) and students under 16yrs of age.
  • All safety equipment must be inspected for damage and correct fitting.
  • All sparring protection and equipment must be regularly cleaned with attention to hygiene.

Physical and mental Considerations

  • Height, weight, age, gender and grade of the participants must be taken into consideration along with the mental and physical state of participants (including background history).
  • when sparing – partners should be monitored and selected by the instructor accordingly.
  • Injured students should not take part in sparring – prescribe an alternative activity.


  • For (5yrs – 15yrs old depending on size maturity and ability) the ratio of Accredited Instructors to practitioners must not exceed 1: 5 pairs with an assistant.
  • For ‘Colt’ and ‘Adult’ classes both free-sparring and 1/2/3/4-step-sparring the ratio of Accredited Instructors to practitioners must not exceed 1:12 pairs, there must also be a minimum of 1 supervisor to assist.

In addition to the provisions for sparring in general and in accordance with the first aid policy, one certified instructor/assistant instructor with a valid First Aid certificate must be present at every sparring session.

Practitioners must be closely monitored and checks must be carried out on  their physical and mental state. Particular attention must be paid to the following:

  • hydration
  • Rate of perceived exertion
  • infection control – bleeding
  • health related conditions or illnesses


Hepatitis B is a serious illness transmitted through blood contact. It can be prevented by vaccination. You are strongly advised to see your doctor about getting vaccinated. Current Tetanus immunisations are also highly recommended.

The Sparring Area

  • Because there is no throwing or groundwork in Jado Kuin Do floor matting is not essential, however, the sparring area should be suitable for sparring:
  • flat
  • even
  • Free of clutter – bags, drinks, shoes, chairs etc
  • The main instructor must be present at all times.
  • Excessive contact is prohibited and must be monitored by the instructor and assistant/s.
  • Free Sparring requires a space of approximately 3 meters Squared per pair.
  • Guided sparring drills require less space depending on the nature of the drills.
  • Above all else sparring must be safe to carry out, which will be determined by a comprehensive, dynamic, ongoing risk analysis / assessment, and at the discretion of the instructor.
  1. Martial Arts involving weapons

Weapons are not permitted in Jado Kuin Do until the practitioner reaches the grade of 3rd Degree Black belt and only at the discretion of the instructor. Weapons is part of the adult syllabus only, and must only ever be delivered in advanced adult classes. Safe practice must be exercised at all times and must include but is not limited to:

  • Prior student suitability assessment
  • No live blades (sharp or otherwise) in the training hall
  • Good knowledge of use of the weapon and supervision at all times by Instructors
  • Adequate space
  • Constant risk analysis / assessment

the use and teaching of weapons is not included in the junior syllabus, therefore not permitted in children’s classes.

Above all, safe practice means having a suitably qualified and experienced instructor who will carry out continual comprehensive risk analysis/assessment and ensure that children and vulnerable people are not exposed to the above risks, and who can make a training session enjoyable whilst maintaining the discipline essential to learning Jado Kuin Do.


This document provides indicative/generic examples of some of the safety issues that should be individually considered by clubs when they are formulating or reviewing their own specific safe practice guides and processes.

This document is not advice and should not be adopted in whole or in part without careful and informed consideration being given to the specific needs and requirements of any given club and its particular characteristics.

Therefore, while the document may be used to inform the development and assessment of safe practices at clubs, it is essential that clubs and organisations take a broad evaluative approach in considering the relevance of each aspect of the document, and also endeavour to give detailed consideration to any conceivable safety concerns that are not covered by the document. Safe practice in all clubs should also be kept under ongoing review.

WJO Designated Safeguard lead : Mrs Nicola Ogden

Contact info :  |   Tel: 01327 342611

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