Attention has being drawn via Websites and Facebook, to what is being labelled ‘Fraud in Martial Arts” … and while some contributors to such media show little to no understanding of martial arts or of the debate … other contributors allege claims that are of prima facia concern.
Specifically of concern to the Australian Jujitsu Federation (AJF), as one would expect of any national body, goes to persons who are members within an associate or member school of the AJF … To clarify, within the AJF it is the school that is the member and pays a membership fee … Individuals within the school are not required to be members and do not pay fees … each school however, does delegate a person (normally the head of the school) as the person to be the representative for that school.
In considering the role of the AJF when such concerns are raised, it is important to understand that the AJF does not employ anyone. All services to the administration of the AJF are provided by dedicated volunteers. Such volunteers include those who accept the roles of state representative and members of the board, all of whom give their time freely in support of the objects of the AJF … while the AJF is recognised by the Australian Government through the Australian Sports Commission, the AJF is not funded.
So with these limitations does the AJF board accept a responsibility in regard to investigating claims of misrepresentation? … The answer is YES. The members of the board are committed to providing a system that enables those within the martial arts covered by the AJF, to aspire to a high standard of both coaching ethics and instructor code of behaviour. Evidence of this can be seen within the AJFs policies and practices as detailed in the: ‘Member Protection Policy – which deals with non-discrimination and child welfare’; ‘Anti-doping Policy – as governed by ASADA’; National Coaching Accreditation – under the National Coaching Development Program of the AJF, and the AJFs Constitution; all of which are filed with the Australian Sports Commission … these together with other policies and codes of practice relating to many aspects of martial arts.
This commitment recognises that the martial arts community is however in many respects self governing, to the extent that no school or instructor is compelled to affiliate with a government recognised national body, and that the same goes for the adherence to policies or codes of practice mentioned. On a positive note more and more venues as part of their risk management are insisting that instructors using their facilities have both appropriate accreditation and insurance.
So what does the AJF do to screen schools who seek membership, and the senior instructor there-in … This is a three stage process: Stage 1 Associate membership – the school confirms that they satisfy the discipline criteria i.e. that they are teaching jujitsu or a related martial art. Stage 2 Accreditation – person(s) within the school attend a very full weekend course as approved under the National Coaching Development Program of the AJF, and complete the required post course assignments. This will include commitment to the code of behaviour, the member protection policy, and the anti-doping policy; plus providing documentation in regard to their school, their grading criteria, and their grade authority. Stage 3 Member school status (full membership) – here the documentation of the school is presented to an ‘annual general meeting’ of members for consideration.
At this point it should be noted that these three Stages do not purport to validate a schools curriculum or an instructors grade qualification … What the process seeks to ensure is that a student or potential student has access to what will be taught within a school, and to the level of competency required to progress through the grading system of the school … plus through the National Coaching Development Program, provide coaches with a recognised level of coaching accreditation, an emphasis of which includes the ‘duty of care’. All aimed at providing the community and students with greater information to make informed choices as to the system in which they choose to learn.