Many aspiring martial artists fall in love with their art, and would be honored to spread its life-changing impact to others. You can feel a sense of evangelism and missionary-like drive to teach and make the world a better place through the tenets of Tae Kwon Do, or the brotherhood of BJJ. Most of these martial artists have the best of intentions, and some of them go on to opening up their own school, or teaching others in some capacity.
Can anyone start teaching martial arts?
Depending on the country that you live in, the answer is usually yes. Essentially anyone can open up a facility, call it a martial arts school, charge for tuition, and teach whatever they would like. On the one hand, it is great that governments give us the freedom to do as we please, and teach or congregate (if it is not immediately dangerous to society), without unnecessary oversight. On the other hand, this can lead to very poor experiences for students, due to the lack of a professional education on the instructor’s part.
What education, certificates, or training do most martial arts instructors have?
Are there any legal requirements or licenses one must hold to teach martial arts?
This will vary depending on the country that you live in. In the United States, you are not required to hold a specific license to operate a school. You do need sport’s liability insurance, to protect yourself and your students in the event of an injury or other incident.
Some countries monitor and enforce the requirement of a teaching license for martial arts. Contact your country’s ministry of sport. Or, contact your martial arts association, and they can point you toward the correct information.
Do I need to be connected with a martial arts association?
You most likely are, even if you don’t know it. Take a look at your most recent belt rank certificate, what association issued the rank to you? And, if it is not listed, ask your instructor what association the school is affiliated with. Martial arts associations set standards for rank requirements, tournament regulations, and teaching standards (in some cases). By being aligned with your association, you will have a legitimate connection for issuing accredited rank to your own students, having the ability to continue ranking up yourself, and even earning an instructor certification.
Are there any online alternatives to becoming a certified martial arts instructor?
If your local school or association does not offer a comprehensive instructor training and certification program, you should consider looking for alternatives. One alternative is the CMAT™ (Certified Martial Arts Teacher) Course and Certification. This is a fully online course of study that is offered from a university-style approach. By becoming a CMAT™, you will have the skills, confidence, and certification needed to have a highly successful career as a martial arts instructor.