Just like our students, we have to roll with the punches doing our best to deflect, avoid and absorb the hits. Yet again today tens of thousands of instructors and hundreds of thousands of students across UK martial arts will have been desperately searching the news for updates. This evening, for England atleast, Boris Johnson delivered his update.
Here we go again…

This information is up to date and correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing but please do follow the links to the .GOV website to double check there have been no later changes or updates.

A quick foreword;

As a team, BMABA have worked 7 days a week since March to keep our clubs up to date on the latest guidance. We’ve introduced industry-first and industry-leading tools, resources and provisions to help clubs survive lockdown and thrive post-lockdown. As winter approaches, we remain fully committed to a 7 day a week service to keep clubs alive until Spring.

The guidance provided below is designed to try and provide a ‘verbatim’, martial arts specific version of Government guidance and we link back to the official Government sources on each occasion. We would recommend you do your own research on the .GOV website using the links provided. If you are being alerted to different guidance via non-substantiated sources online, please check with your local authority directly before proceeding.

What are the new restrictions for England, and what does the new risk-level (tier system) mean for martial arts?
To get an accurate picture of things, we need to draw in a few official sources. We don’t deal with anything other than confirmed Government sources to try and ensure the information shared is as up to date as possible.
As it stands;
  • There are 3 risk ratings for England – 1 (medium), 2 (high) and 3 (very high)
  • There appears to be no grounds to suspend any classes or stop any clubs from operating in any of the risk categories provided they continue to follow stringent guidelines.
The divide at the moment looks a little as follows;
(Credit: Sky News)
Let’s take a look at the restrictions in each category;

Clubs and instructors within the level 1 medium risk category can continue to follow the Government’s guidance for a phased return to recreation, including the latest updates on the rule of 6. This means clubs and instructors can continue to deliver training to groups larger than 6 provided all relevant and current guidelines are met, including strict social distancing and ensuring groups do not arrive, depart or ‘mingle’ in groups of 6 or more. We have covered this previously, if you need to refresh yourself.
If you would like to see the full references for this, please click here to see the .GOV website. You will note the blue warning box to confirm the summary points only apply to the lowest level of risk – Medium (1).
This area of risk applies to all areas in England, apart from those listed below as high or very high.
It would appear that for those in level 2 (high risk) you may also continue teaching indoors per the above the guidance. The specific reference to this can be found here, under the category for High Risk. We have highlighted the sentence most relevant to indoor classes.

exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These [classes] will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport

We hope this provides comfort to many clubs in the predominantly North of England and surrounding regions. If you are in any doubt or have heard information contrary to the above we would recommend going straight to your local authority to rule out any regional variations however the above is from an official source.
At the time of publication, areas classed as ‘high’ are as follows;
    • Cheshire West and Chester
    • Cheshire East
    • Warrington
Greater Manchester
    • Manchester
    • Bolton
    • Bury
    • Stockport
    • Tameside
    • Trafford
    • Wigan
    • Salford
    • Rochdale
    • Oldham
    • High Peak ‒ the wards of:
      • Tintwistle
      • Padfield
      • Dinting
      • St John’s
      • Old Glossop
      • Whitfield
      • Simmondley
      • Gamesley
      • Howard Town
      • Hadfield South
      • Hadfield North
    • Blackpool
    • Blackburn with Darwen
    • Burnley
    • Chorley
    • Fylde
    • Hyndburn
    • Lancaster
    • Pendle
    • Preston
    • Ribble Valley
    • Rossendale
    • South Ribble
    • West Lancashire
    • Wyre
West Yorkshire
    • Leeds
    • Bradford
    • Kirklees
    • Calderdale
    • Wakefield
South Yorkshire
    • Barnsley
    • Rotherham
    • Doncaster
    • Sheffield
    • Durham
    • Northumberland
Tyne and Wear
    • Newcastle
    • South Tyneside
    • North Tyneside
    • Gateshead
    • Sunderland
Tees Valley
    • Middlesbrough
    • Redcar and Cleveland
    • Stockton-on-Tees
    • Darlington
    • Hartlepool
West Midlands
    • Birmingham
    • Sandwell
    • Solihull
    • Wolverhampton
    • Walsall
    • Leicester
    • Oadby and Wigston
    • Ashfield
    • Bassetlaw
    • Broxtowe
    • Gedling
    • Mansfield
    • Newark & Sherwood
    • Nottingham City
    • Rushcliffe
For clubs and classes in level 3 (very high) category it would appear that you can remain open, provided you can maintain strict social distancing and all other guidance per official sources. We have again highlighted the most relevant sentence below for those teaching indoors.
The specific guidance quotes;

exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport

Essential References & Reading
We know alot of clubs shy away from this, but it is very, very important every instructor understands right now exactly what category they are in. You also need to know where to look for official guidance on changing classifications as and when this evolves in the weeks ahead.
Here is some essential reading for those in England;
Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know
Full list of local COVID alert levels by area
Return to recreational team sport framework
Please do take the time to properly read through and digest this information for yourself and do not rely on third parties to interpret this for you unless they are qualified to do so.
What Next?
We are continuing to mount pressure on UK Government to take martial arts seriously and provide us with additional support. In addition to this we are also bolstering our COVID Recovery Toolkit to provide resources, tools and help for clubs in need across the whole of the UK. This is open to any club with free 6 month membership available.