Martial Arts Scams

1 – Provision of Bogus Accreditation Services

There are only two recognised forms of Accreditation in the Martial Arts Industry. These are The NMAS (National Martial Arts Instructor Accreditation Scheme) administered by the MAIA and the NCAS (National Coaching Accreditation Scheme) administered by the Australian Sports Commission recognised martial arts NSO’s (National Sporting Organisations).

Many bogus groups will claim or imply ‘Accreditation’ by aligning themselves with a “General Principles’ Course or with qualifications under the Australian Qualifications Framework – neither constitute Accreditation. Please go to our site section on Accreditation for further information.


2 – Bogus Martial Arts ‘Certification’

‘Certification’ is a term often used by bodies to imply an ‘official or endorsed status – in fact, when closely looked at some ‘Certification’ programs are usually just issued by private organisations as a money making exercise. The MAIA will provide an evaluation on any ‘certification’ program tat any consumer may have concerns about.

3 – Representative Bodies

Some organizations will make claim to being representative or ‘peak body’

Look to who owns and runs the organisation. There are some groups that claim to be representative or peak bodies but in fact are private organisations that are run for the profit of the owners. Organisations that are Pty Ltd Companies or worse still a simple registered business name are just that private businesses set up to make a profit – there is nothing wrong in making a profit but there is a lot wrong with implying that you are in some way helping the industry when the profit motive is the prime reason that your business functions. Bona fide organisations will be able to provide audited accounts, have regular elections of office bearers and be registered non profit organisations. Non Profit Organisations will be State registered incorporated bodies that will have ‘Inc.’ after their organisation name or Nationally registered public companies limited by guarantee, these will have only the word ‘Limited’ after their name. that You can check on an organisation’s status by going to the ASIC.

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4 – Insurance Scams

Some groups on-sell insurance by obtaining a group policy then on-sell policies at a profit. Many such policies contain martial arts exclusion clauses as well as high excess payments. An organisation profiting from selling insurance must by law advise you of what percentage of your premium is for the policy and how much is for other charges. Go to our Insurance section for further information.


 5 – The Conman Instructor

Be wary of instructors who will present an ‘Instructors Certificate’ as proof of their qualification to instruct. Many organisations sell Instructor Certificates after the applicants complete a one or two week course. No serious martial artist will sign up to such courses so they tend to attract the martial arts conman and sadly those in our community with mental health problems, generally in the areas of identity crisis or low self esteem issues.

Others will forge certificates on their PC. Be wary of instructors with stories of a long history of varied ‘training’ without verification or record. When in doubt contact the MAIA who will provides an evaluation for you.

The only real guarantee is to ensure the instructor is accredited anything less is a risk not worth taking.

6 – Door to Door Sign Up

High on the list of complaints that the MAIA receives are those involving ‘door to door’ karate course salesman. Be wary of anyone selling karate courses in this manner often such salespeople will use false and misleading crime statistics backed up with graphic photos to convince you that you or your children need to enrol in a course to feel safe.

Such tactics are unethical. In most circumstances the law provides for a cooling off period when services such as these are bought door to door. This means that you can cancel any agreement signed during this period and obtain a refund. Anyone offering such courses must also provide you with written information about your legal rights in the event you change your mind.

Your local Fair Trading Office or MAIA Representative can help you further.

7 – Employment Opportunities?

In truth employment opportunities in the Martial Arts industry are governed by more than passing a ‘Special’ and generally high cost course. The MAIA has received numerous complaints about organisations who provide courses that ‘guarantee’ employment after the paying of inflated tuition fees. Please

Many of these proposals fall under the headings of:

  • Bait Advertising
  • False and Misleading Information and
  • Misleading advertising relating to employment
  • Organisations involved in this practise are subject to substantial penalties
  • Victims of such practices are, at a minimum, entitled to a refund on monies paid on such courses.

8 – Raffles and Guessing Competitions

Some martial arts clubs run raffles, guessing competitions and other similar

Projects under the guise of fund raising or to support a team entering a tournament. Such practices, unless subject to the appropriate permit from the State Gaming and Racing Department. Any martial arts organization attempting to sell you tickets in such things will be able to provide you with an appropriate permit number – if they can’t do not provide money and please report them to the MAIA and we will assist you in taking the correct remedial Action.


Complaints relating to the above matters can be directed to the relevant State Department of Fair Trading Office or Consumer Affairs Office. Our MAIA Fair Trading representative is happy to advise and assist you – he can be contacted on: