Anyone working with the public, especially kids, must be careful when it comes to personal interactions. Children’s classes, fitness kickboxing, and self-defense all have their own potential liabilities. Here are three primary types of liability exposure common to all Martial Arts studios.

First up is premises liability. Premises liability relates to the facility itself and is primarily the responsibility of the studio owner. Real life occurrences of premises liability that can lead to claims include a slip and fall on the sidewalk or over electrical cords.

One of the most common insurance claims in any brick and mortar business is a wet floor. If someone slips and falls and claims the owner knew the floor was wet or didn’t take proper precautions to create a safe environment, it could lead to legal action.

The second liability is professional liability. This is where the vast majority of exposure exists for Martial Arts professionals. All of the school’s staff, instructors and assistant instructors are held accountable for the things that they say and do OR fail to say or do. This includes performing the actual teaching and instructing in a class or session, as well as the advice that they provide such as nutritional counseling. The most common form of professional liability claims occurs when a member or client is injured and alleges that the instructor failed to keep a safe environment or taught something that resulted in injury.

Board breaking poorly taught takedowns, and uncontrolled sparring are just a few of the potential circumstances for a professional liability action.

Finally, Martial Arts professionals have exposure for sexual abuse and molestation claims. Since the majority of students are minors, schools are open to claims of improper touching, overly familiar language or inappropriate comments. Dressing rooms where adults and children change clothes, sleepovers, and tournament trips are just the obvious examples of the potential for a claim.


John Graden
John Graden

John Graden is widely credited with leading the martial arts school business into the modern age. He is the founder of the first successful professional association and trade journal. MA Success editor John Corcoran first called him a “visionary” in 1995. Martial Arts World magazine dubbed him, The Teacher of Teachers. Mr. Graden’s leadership was recognized in many mainstream media outlets including a cover story on the Wall Street Journal, documentaries on A&E Network, and as a guest on the Dr. Oz Show and many others.