Code of Conduct

Liverpool Shotokan Karate Club (LSKC) expects all instructors and coaches to conform to ethical standards in a number of areas. These areas are clearly laid down in this document and it is imperative that all coaches have read and understood this code before working with any group of performers.


• Introduction

• Personal Standards

• Relationships

• Safety

• Expectations

• Equity

• Competency and license to Instruct in Martial Arts

• Complaints Procedure

• Terms of Reference

LSKC has a duty to its members to provide guidelines within which Karate Instructors work. Thus ensuring that all those involved within the Martial Art are acting in the best interest of the students at all times.

It is important that the expected standards of ethical behaviour in instructing are widely publicised and maintained. It is essential that people within karate and members of the public who are using the services of Karate Instructors are informed of the codes of ethics and protected through it application.


Shotokan Karate is one of the most popular Martial Arts amongst young people. It is important that all people taking part in the sport are exposed to positive experiences and protected from negative ones.

The role of the instructor, within the sport is a very important one. The instructor is any person who is responsible for the development of an individual or group of individuals within a specific sport. As well as the sporting development the instructor is also tasked with the all round development of the Karate student, or group of students, within the sporting context.

The instructor is the mentor, the confidant and the teacher (Sensei), to name but a few of their roles, and therefore must demonstrate exemplary behaviour at all times.

The instructor also has to maintain this level of behaviour when dealing with parents, senior instructors, assistant instructors and other personnel involved in the sport.

Instructors who accept and work to the guidelines within this document are accepting their responsibility to the students they instruct and their families and to other colleagues within their sport.

Procedures are in place to deal with any situation, which could arise, where an instructor’s application of the ‘Code of Ethics and Conduct’ may be called into question. Such as situations occur the matter would be dealt with in an objective and confidential manner.

The following sections set out the overriding principles that instructors are expected to adhere to, to ensure that taking part in Shotokan Karate is a positive and worthwhile experience for all.

Personal Standards

• Personal appearance is of great importance when instructing, the instructor has a responsibility to look clean wearing a white practice Karate GI, clean and in good order bearing the Association emblem (badge) and project an image of functional efficiency at all times.

• Instructors should never smoke while teaching.

• Instructors should avoid chewing gum whilst coaching.

• Instructors should never teach under the influence of alcohol under any

• Instructors should avoid using profanities during Karate sessions.

It is recommended that instructors should:

• Consistently project a favourable image of the Martial Arts and of instructing the students they are working with, their parents/families/guardians, officials, spectators and the general public.

• Try and encourage performers to work within Discipline Guidelines contained in the association’s constitution.

• Make sure that the level of activity carried out by the performers is suitable for their age, strength, maturity and the ability of each individual performer.

• Encourage appropriate behaviour by the performers during both training and competition.

• Encourage the performers to abide by the rules of the sport. All performers should be encouraged to uphold the spirit of sport.

• Make a positive effort to educate the performers as to the improper use of substances that are on the sport’s banned drugs and substances list.

• Help the performers to deal with victory and defeat in a sportsmanlike manner, and encourage them at all times to treat opponents with due respect.


• Instructors have a responsibility to set and uphold the boundaries between a working relationship and friendships between themselves and the performers. This is especially important when the performer is young person.

• It is recommended that instructors should be concerned at all times with the safety and well being of the performers. There should be a sensible balance between performance and the emotional, physical, social and developmental needs of the performer.

• If any part of the instruction process requires physical contact between Sensei and karaka, it is recommended that no action on their part could be seen as inappropriate. It is essential that all coaches are aware and adhere to the association’s guidelines with regard to such situations.

• As the relationship between instructor and performer is based heavily on trust it is important that all instructors can offer proof of experience and qualification.

• Instructors will undoubtedly build up strong relationships with performers, and in some cases will travel and reside with them during the course of competition. At no time is an instructor to use this privilege to place undue pressure or exert influence over performers to gain person benefit for themselves of their club.

• Instructors will, in the course of a working relationship, gather much information about performers. It is important that an appropriate degree of confidentiality is maintained and that all personal information is not divulged without the permission of the performer. At times instructors will be asked to provide relevant information concerning a student’s performance and development and an agreement must be made between the instructor and the performer with regard to the passing of such information.


• Instructors have a responsibility to make sure that performers have a safe environment to train in.

• If an accident occurs it is recommended that instructors follow the steps laid out in the LSKC ‘Health & Safety Policy’ document.

• Instructors have a responsibility to protect children from any form of abuse during training sessions, competitions and whilst in their care.

• It is recommended that instructors carry out their work in keeping with the regular and approved practice adopted and laid out by the association.

• It is strongly recommended that instructors arrange adequate insurance to cover their Karate training sessions.

• It is recommended that any activities carried out by instructors should be suitable for the age, maturity, strength and ability of the performer.

• It is strongly recommended that instructors do not attempt to instruct techniques that have not been covered in their specific level of instructor level qualification. An attempt to do so will invalidate their insurance cover.

• Children should not leave the room once training commences, even to go to the toilet (unless there is a medical reason, or escorted by their parent/guardian or other responsible person).


• Instructors should clarify the level of commitment expected from performers at the outset of any agreement. Details should include number and length of sessions, attendance at training sessions, competitions or grading fees and method of payment. In the same respect, the performers/employers should state the expectation of the outcome of the instruction in Karate.

• It is strongly recommended that some form of written agreement acceptable to all parties is drawn up at the beginning of any instruction undertaken. When more commitment is necessary (i.e. senior grades are required to train more than the mandatory two 1 hour sessions a week) another contract must be signed before being allowed to grade further.

• It is recommended that instructors declare any other coaching commitments they have before working with new partners.

• Instructors who start to experience conflict between obligations to their performers and to other parties (i.e. Children who are in other clubs such as football, dance etc) must make all parties aware of the conflict in an attempt to solve it.

• It is up to each individual to ensure that any monies earned during instruction should be declared to the Inland Revenue in line with current taxation laws.


• It is recommended that instructors respect the rights of every human being they work with, and treat all as equals within the context of their activity. This must be regardless of age, ethnic origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background or political affiliation.

• Instructors should try and ensure that any activity under their supervision is free from any form of non-equitable behaviour.

Competency and Instructors Licenses

• Competency to teach Karate should be verified through the proof of qualification and should not be inferred from evidence of prior experience.

• It is recommended that instructors confine themselves to carrying out sessions in accordance with experience gained whilst obtaining their highest qualifications.

• It is recommended that instructors are able to recognise when to pass performers on to other clubs or agencies. It is important that instructors have the performers’ best interest at heart at all times. It is also the responsibility of instructors to verify, as far as possible, the integrity of any club or agency, which they are referring the performers to.

• It is important that instructors take responsibility for their own continuous professional development, making the most of opportunities offered to them through the association or other education agencies.

• It is important for instructors to be objective about their teaching ability.  If at any time they feel concerned about their ability to teach at a certain level, or about their effectiveness in a certain situation it is up to them to find help or withdraw if necessary.

• On the introduction of the proposed Shotokan Karate-Do Instructor License Scheme all instructors will be required to undergo continuous professional development to maintain their license to instruct. All necessary support will be offered to them to do so.

Complaints Procedure

Anyone wishing to make a complaint about any person acting in the capacity of Shotokan Karate Instructor within the context of these guidelines must follow the set procedure.

1. Report the matter to the Senior Instructor LSKC

2. If the complaint involves a minor, a report may also need to be considered to the Police and Social Services.

3. On receipt of a complaint procedural guidelines will be issued to all parties.

Terms of reference within this document

Professional – this does not necessarily imply a paid position or person, but refers to the instructor’s role.

Employer – This refers to the organisation who commissioned the Instructor to instruct, this could be paid or unpaid.

Karate Gi – Garments worn whilst training

KARAKA – Student of Karate.