The Power of Independence: Thriving Martial Arts Coaches Embrace Autonomy

Coach Check’s Founder Highlights the Benefits of Independent Martial Arts Coaching


In the world of martial arts, independence is on the rise. According to Barry Johnston, the founder of Coach Check, over 75% of martial arts coaches worldwide operate independently from organizations and peak bodies. While this trend may seem surprising to some, Johnston believes that independence offers unique advantages for coaches and their students. In this article, we explore the benefits of being an independent martial arts coach and how platforms like Coach Check are helping professionals establish their name in the industry.

Freedom to Innovate:

One of the key advantages of being an independent martial arts coach is the freedom to create customized programs tailored to the specific needs of their clients. Unlike a one-size-fits-all approach dictated by peak organizations, independent coaches can adapt their teaching methods and techniques to better suit their cohort of students. This flexibility allows them to address individual strengths, weaknesses, and personal goals, leading to a more enriching and effective learning experience.

Escaping Financial Constraints and Hierarchical Suppression:

Barry Johnston, who successfully built a thriving martial arts school after breaking away from the Kyokushinkai organization in 1983, emphasizes the freedom from financial constraints and hierarchical suppression that comes with independence. Operating outside the confines of a formal organization allows coaches to set their own pricing structures, allocate resources more efficiently, and make decisions without excessive bureaucratic oversight. This independence empowers coaches to focus on what truly matters: the best interests and development of their students.

Commitment and Responsibility:

While independence provides numerous advantages, it also comes with a unique set of challenges. Coaches who choose the path of independence must shoulder the responsibility of their club’s destiny. Barry Johnston cautions against viewing martial arts coaching as a short-term endeavor. Commitment to the craft is crucial, as coaches must weather the inevitable highs and lows that come with running a martial arts school. It requires a lifelong dedication to the art and a genuine passion for guiding and inspiring students.

The Role of Coach Check:

Coach Check emerges as a vital tool for martial arts coaches, regardless of their affiliation with peak organizations. By getting listed on this platform, independent coaches and those associated with specific associations can showcase their expertise, experience, and professional history to a global audience. Coach Check not only serves as a comprehensive directory but also emphasizes coaches’ commitment to ethical behavior, community expectations, and safety guidelines. Being listed on Coach Check establishes credibility and reassures potential clients that they are selecting a reliable and trustworthy coach.


In a world where independence is becoming increasingly prevalent among martial arts coaches, the advantages are clear. Independent coaches have the freedom to innovate, tailor programs to their students, and escape financial constraints and hierarchical suppression. However, this independence also requires a long-term commitment and a genuine dedication to students’ well-being. With platforms like Coach Check, martial arts coaches can establish their name globally, showcase their expertise, and demonstrate their commitment to ethical practices. Whether independent or affiliated, martial arts coaches can now thrive on their own terms, making a lasting impact in the lives of their students.

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