The Fighting Chance Scholarship Program is the industry’s largest comprehensive scheme designed to help transform of the lives of children living in poverty through martial arts across the whole of the United Kingdom.

The program provides financial support and coaching for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. It will take a student from white belt through to a licensed instructor, providing fitness, self confidence and the social mobility needed to earn a self-sufficient income too, thus coaching and mentoring future generations of disadvantaged children.

Program Overview

It’s absolutely heartbreaking to think that in the 21st Century, with all of the technological developments and luxuries so many of us enjoy, that any child in the UK would still be living in poverty. Unfortunately that’s what is happening on a daily basis.

We’re not just talking about parents who work damn hard not having the disposal income to send their kids to a sports club to learn a new skill, or to buy football boots so they can join the local team (although that’s hugely prevalent and a huge problem in it’s self). We’re also talking about absolute poverty. Children who are hungry. Children who are cold. Children who start ‘the race in life’ so far beyond their peers it’s almost impossible to believe they’ll ever be able to catch up. And for so many kids growing up in relative poverty (the aforementioned group) they’ll see Mum and Dad, or just Mum or just Dad work so hard but still be unable to make ends meet. Mounting family debts, lack of opportunity and a focus on keeping a roof over the family head overtakes every parent’s ambition to give their child the very best opportunities in life – such as learning to defend themselves, keeping their weight under control and feeling confident enough to do well in life.

  • We have the power to change this, and the British Martial Arts & Boxing Association (BMABA) is changing this through martial arts. You can be a part of this too.
  • There were 4.1 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2016-17. That’s 30 per cent of children, or 9 in a classroom of 30.
  • As a direct result of tax and benefit decisions made since 2010, the Institute for Fiscal Studies project that the number of children in relative poverty will have risen from 3.6m to 4.3 million by 2020
  • Work does not provide a guaranteed route out of poverty in the UK. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of children growing up in poverty live in a family where at least one member works.
  • Child poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry, not being able to join in activities with friends. For example, 50 per cent of families in the bottom income quintile would like, but cannot afford, to take their children on holiday for one week a year.

2018 Stats are provided via EndChildPoverty, to whom we are a member.

Our Scholarship Programme is an award-winning flagship programme from the BMABA and the BMABA Fighting Chance Foundation, having successfully won the coveted ‘Best Sports Governing Body Initiative’ gong from the 2019 Sports Business Awards.

What’s The Aim?

Quite simply, we want to help children growing up in poverty access quality martial arts training, to help them get fit, build their confidence and learn self defence. When they’re eighteen, we’ll take them through a fully-funded instructor program which will give them the tools, licensing and insurance to in turn teach their own classes. This, we hope, will lead to future generations of children growing up in disadvantaged backgrounds benefiting from professional, licensed coaching from instructors whom themselves understand, intimately, the challenges faced by their students.

The Difference We Make

Our association has access to more than 16,500 martial arts participants across the UK, complimented by 50,000 followers, fans, volunteers and parents as well as many hundreds of qualified instructors, coaches and senseis. We straddle more than one hundred different styles of martial arts across just about every part of the United Kingdom. The reach our association has is massive, and together with our registered instructors, we’re making the scholarship program accessible to children from across the country.

The programme was launched in January 2019 so we’re still seeing dozens of clubs sign up to the scheme and start enrolling students. As we begin to see the direct impact and legacy of the programme, we’ll share the statistics with the public to ensure the BMABA clubs registered with us get the full credit they deserve.

How You Can Help

Follow Us On Facebook

Help spread the word about our work among your social media network.

Join Our Association

If you’re a coach or club, joining the BMABA will allow you to run our charity programs.

Sponsor Us

If you represent a company, group or celebrity you can sponsor our charity to help our message reach more people.

Does your family need support from the Scholarship Programme?

We passionately and fiercely believe in every child’s right to be active. If your child or children would benefit from martial arts tuition but money is too tight to make this a reality we may be able to help. Due to very limited funds, the Scholarship Programme is always over-subscribed but we encourage you to find a BMABA instructor or club local to you to see if there is any available spots for your little one.

This our association’s student and parent portal to find a local club and to learn more about accessing the program.