Info for Martial Arts School Owners and Instructors

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What May and May NOT be Covered by Insurance in 2020


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Get Certified as a Martial Arts Instructor Online

MATA Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course

Module 21-The Proper Use of Student Instructors

by Scot Conway, Esquire

The $25,000 Volunteers

Excerpt from the Martial Arts Instructor Certification Course:

Using upper ranks to teach classes has been a long-standing martial arts tradition. But, is it legal?

A California instructor had his black belts teaching under-rank classes at his studio. In exchange, he no longer charged them tuition.

This continued until one fateful day when the owner and a black belt student had a disagreement.

The vindictive student contacted the California Labor Board and reported that his instructor had been employing assistants by requiring that they teach classes each week.

This can constitute an Employer – Worker relationship. The only thing missing was payment for the workers and the taxes the government would collect if they were being paid.

The State of California investigators concluded that the owner, over the years, had a total of 25 black belts teach classes.

They defined them as uncompensated employees, which is illegal under the laws of California, and fined the instructor $1,000 per incident.

The final bill: $25,000 for the volunteers.

Lesson: Know your state laws regarding utilizing assistant instructors.

The landscape for the martial arts business has changed drastically over the past few decades. What used to be referred to as a martial arts school is now often referred to as a gym.

Just like the rules for what is martial arts have changed, so has the insurance coverage for martial arts schools or more specifically, martial arts programs.

As an example, your karate school with 200 kids may be covered by liability insurance. However, the same school may offer an MMA class that is NOT covered.

To help you make sure you have the right liability insurance coverage, here is a sampling of what May or May Not be covered by your insurance company.

What programs are usually covered by martial arts school insurance?

  • Karate Schools
  • Kung Fu
  • Aikido
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Fitness Kickboxing
  • Fitness Boxing
  • Judo
  • Jiu-Jitsu
  • Self-Defense (with fake weapons)

What programs are may not be covered by martial arts school insurance?

  • Any program with Live Bladed Weapons
  • Any program with Firearms
  • Concealed Firearm Classes
  • Full Contact Kick Boxing
  • Full Contact Boxing
  • Mixed Martial Arts
  • Submission Fighting
  • Cage Fighting (Just having a cage in your school can disqualify you)

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