BMABA Win The 2019 Sports Business Awards’ Coveted Best Governing Body Initiative For Our New Scholarship & Knife-Free Project!

We were thrilled to be finalists in the 2019 Sports Business Awards for both Best Association Serving Sport and Best Governing Body Initiative. On the 31st May 2019, we attended the superb Brewery venue at Moorgate for the prestigious event, hosted by BBC Sport’s Hazel Irvine and attended by hundreds of the country’s finest sports organisations.


The awards celebrate the sport’s sector from right across the board. Sport Tech, Events, Engagement, Operations and more. It’s the biggest event we’ve been to, especially as it’s specific to the sports industry. The judging panel are impressive too – Philip Bernie (Head of BBC TV Sport), Nick Bitel (Chairman, Sport England), Roger Black MBE (European, Commonwealth, and World Championship Gold Medalist), Clare Briegal (Chief Executive Officer, International Netball Federation), Lawrence Dallaglio OBE, Annamarie Phelps CBE (Vice Chair, British Olympic Association), Phil Smith (Director of Sport at Sport England) and many more. Whilst we know our work is valuable, and the association reaches many in our industry, we were up against some superb organisations. Not only are they good, they’re well funded too! Many in our category receive direct support from Sport England. We were started in 2012 with just £20 of capital, and today remain completely self-sufficient and entirely without any financing, funding or support.

Our Scholarship Programme, which aims to ensure children in poverty have access to free martial arts training until they are suitably graded to under go free instructor training, to go on to teach and inspire a generation of their own, is still in pilot testing. This means we’re still finalising mechanisms and finer details so only have a limited number of clubs on the program. Despite this, we are absolutely thrilled to have won! The Scholarship Program fits with our #DitchTheBlade programme, an anti-knife initiative that works to talk about the realities of knife crime, educate children and inspire better life choices through sport. Our Scholarship Programme will be formally launched over the next couple of months, and it will be absolutely free for you and your club to get involved with. We’ll let Giovanni, who was there to receive the award on behalf of the association, tell you a little more about the big night;

“The Sports Business Awards are the largest event we’ve ever attended (in terms of award nights etc). It’s incredibly impressive – both in venue and (more importantly) it’s entrants. We were thrilled to have been invited as finalists but if we’re honest, didn’t really expect to receive any awards. This isn’t negative – just realistic. We were up against organisations with £1.5+ million funding and more. We’re still completely self funded, and without any government support whatsoever so we don’t have alot of the fancy resources, PR companies and governmental support.

Martial Arts is always poorly represented at these types of national awards. I say poorly represented – they’re not represented at all! We’re constantly the only martial arts organisation up for a nomination and when you consider we have the Chair and Director of Sport England (to name just one of many) judging the entrants, it’s yet again another example of the martial arts industry failing to engage professionally with the wider sports market, and failing to engage the wider public with the valuable work we all do.

To win Best Governing Body Initiative, up against the likes of the International Netball Federation, Swim England, The Golf Foundation and the ITTF Foundation is truly astonishing; we’re absolutely thrilled.

Tough competition!

This is as massive step forward for our organisation. We’ve won awards before based on what we do as an organisation, and our governance, but this is a solid endorsement of a new charitable focus we’re launching in July 2019. Whilst our Scholarship Programme may still be in Pilot testing until July 2019, it’s clearly making a huge impact. We absolutely love receiving this sort of recognition and feedback from our peers within the industry – and out of the martial arts sector even more so. We all know just how important and life-defining martial arts can be, but many who haven’t done it before don’t. To receive such a glowing endorsement of our charitable programmes from absolute industry giants is absolutely fantastic.”

We’ll be asking Giovanni to film a short ‘vlog’ to summarise the significance of the win over the next week or so, so be sure to keep an eye on our YouTube channel and we’ll share some more footage of the award and post-award interview!

If you’re not already a member, find out what all the fuss is about by joining us as an instructor, completely free of charge.

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