Safety policies

Our mission is to help you become healthier, happier and safer.

Accordingly, all instructors and students must familiarise themselves with Sobukan Safety Policies. Failure to abide by our safety policies will lead to membership suspension, expulsion and/or legal action.

Temporary COVID safety measures – last updated 5 January 2022

Sobukan’s mission has not changed for the past decade: we help people to be healthier, happier and safer. I am confident that Sobukan helps our members to improve their physical and mental health and fitness, and provides a strong foundation for self-defence.

We are in the midst of a pandemic, with more COVID cases and hospitalisations than ever before. It would be remiss not to provide as safe and healthy environment as possible for our members.

I remind members of our safety policies and particularly the COVID-19 and infectious disease policy listed below. We are currently in a ‘time of higher risk of infectious disease’, and therefore the relevant measures below apply at all Sobukan training sessions.

In addition, I hereby implement the following safety measures, effective immediately and until further notice. These measures apply to everyone in the dojo/training environment without exception, including children, parents and adult members.  Continued consideration will be given to safety measures as developments occur. I appreciate that some of these measures may be inconvenient or uncomfortable, and your understanding and cooperation is appreciated.

  • Masks must be worn over the nose and mount at all times at the dojo, including during training, except when drinking water.
  • During indoor sparring/grappling, Kudo/Koshiki helmets will be worn in addition to masks.
  • During outdoor partner drills, including sparring, masks will be worn.
  • During outdoor solo drills, masks may be removed as long as 1.5 metres distancing is maintained.
  • Limited (fist-bumps) or non-contact (bows) greetings will replace hugs and handshakes.
  • Limit of 30 people in the dojo. Junior members are to leave the dojo by 6:50 and adult members are to enter the dojo after 6:50 to minimise contact between classes. A parent or guardian is able to enter during the junior class.
  • Anyone exposed to a higher risk environment* in the 7 days prior is not to attend the dojo unless a negative COVID RAT or PCR test result has been returned. 

*A higher risk environment is defined as any situation in which social distancing was not possible, unless masks were worn over mouth and nose by all parties. This includes social, work and external martial art training environments, but does not include contact with close family members.


The following safety policies are a condition of entry to premises and attendance at classes or events arranged by Sobukan Martial Arts Pty Ltd, including by non-members present. Breach of any of these safety policies must be reported to the Director, Chris Gillies and may result in suspension, expulsion from Sobukan Martial Arts and/or police action.

Sobukan Martial Arts Safety Policies are based upon mutual respect. Members will always have others’ best interests in mind and will immediately cease any activity that is unwelcome to other members.


Regular instructors are instructors who teach or are expected to teach at least seven classes in a 12-month period. 

In an emergency, such as in the case of illness or injury of regular instructors, a senior member (of purple belt or above) may be requested to teach classes at short notice without having completed the full requirements below. If such as member is anticipated to teach at least seven lessons within a 12-month period, they will be required to fulfil the requirements below.

All regular instructors must have:

  • a black belt in a related martial art
  • provided a police clearance certificate with no convictions for violent, sexual or major crimes
  • a working with children certificate if involved in teaching or mentoring minors
  • understand their obligations under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016
  • read and acknowledged (in writing) the Sobukan Leadership Guide
  • acknowledged (in writing) Sobukan Safety Policies.

In the event that a regular or emergency instructor is not available, classes will be cancelled.


Classes and instructors will be covered by a valid liability and professional indemnity insurance policy for the activities.


Harassment is not tolerated in any shape or form at Sobukan Martial Arts, and anyone found harassing any students will be expelled and reported to the police if appropriate. 


Instructors and students must never attend training or be present in the training environment if under the influence of alcohol or drugs (illicit or prescription medication that may impair coordination or judgement). Instructors will refuse entry to the training environment if any person has the appearance of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including odours indicating use of the same. In the situation that a person refuses to obey instructions, police will be called.


Safety mats are used in training areas. Safety buffer zones are established near walls and around perimeters when engaged in higher risk activities such as sparring. Exposed hard surfaces within the training area will be padded or otherwise protected. Members are only to use training equipment with prior permission and supervision by an adult senior member (of purple belt or above).


Due to the inherent risks involved with martial art training, students are required to agree verbally, and sign a contract, agreeing to:

1. Put safety first

2. To listen to instruction; and

3. Not use martial art techniques outside of the dojo except when in imminent danger.

Due to the physical contact inherent in martial art training and instruction, a parent or guardian must remain present during classes or while a child is at premises including activities hosted by Sobukan Martial Arts. In the event that a parent or guardian is not available to observe class, they will be expected to nominate an adult responsible for monitoring the safety and welfare of the child.

Before a child participates in Sobukan activities for the first time, they are advised that they may elect not to participate in any activities if they feel uncomfortable. Parents are asked to reinforce this message, and advise the director, Chris Gillies, if the child feels uncomfortable with any aspect of lessons or activities.

Children are asked to volunteer for any activity (such as wrestling) that may involve body contact, and can opt out at any time. Students are taught to assert themselves and taught verbal and non-verbal methods for dealing with confronting issues.

HazardRisk mitigation
Standing techniquesChildren will use controlled contact with strikes. Correct technique is emphasised. Strikes are directed to safer areas (such as the legs or body) rather than more vulnerable areas such as the head or neck to mitigate the risk of accidental contact causing injury.
Clinching techniquesOnly selected throws are practiced by children to minimise the risk of falling injuries. Leg sweeps and trips are taught as they are relatively safe. Break falls are taught in order to minimise the risk of injury.
Ground techniquesHold-down positions and escapes are taught to children, but chokes, joint locks and other dangerous techniques are not taught to small children.


In the case of teaching dedicated classes to people with disabilities or other vulnerable individuals, instructors will have completed the relevant screening procedures.

Individuals must be consulted to identify limitations and risk factors, and classes will be designed in order to achieve the individuals’ goals while observing the relevant safety considerations. 


In order to minimise risk of transmission of infectious diseases, instructors and students must:

  • observe all COVID-19 rules established by the dojo, venue, and state and federal governments
  • keep the training environment, equipment, facilities and personal attire clean
  • observe physical distancing rules, including 1.5 metres between participants during solo exercises
  • not share gloves, masks, shin-guards and other safety equipment
  • regularly wash hands and observe cough/sneeze hygiene protocols
  • not attend training when unwell or if any close contacts or household members are unwell
  • avoid contact with anyone unwell without appropriate protective equipment.

In times of higher risk of infectious diseases (for example local community transmission is evident), instructors and students should minimise unnecessary contact with others in the training environment, by:

  • working with no more than 2 partners per training session
  • washing and/or using alcohol disinfectant between and after partner-based exercises
  • wearing masks as appropriate
  • have a clear COVID test result before returning to training after experiencing COVID symptoms or having contact with someone experiencing COVID symptoms.

In the event that a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 or a similar infectious disease has been associated with the dojo, training will be suspended immediately until deemed safe to resume.

Sobukan COVID Safety plan and QR code