Devon

Martial arts knife teaching 'should face better controls'

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Media captionTeacher Fiorindi Ardesi said he would "never put anyone in a situation where they could hurt themselves"

It would "take a death" to change licensing rules for Chinese martial arts teachers, the sport's governing body has said.

There is no legal requirement for instructors, some of whom use knives, to have relevant qualifications.

Videos on social media show kung fu instructors, some of them unregistered, teaching trainees with knives.

The British Council for Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA) has called for mandatory registration of instructors.

Torquay instructor Fiorindo Ardesi, 38, who is shown sparring in a number of videos on Facebook, said he had "never heard" of the BCCMA but said he would consider joining.

He said he would "never put anyone in a situation where they could hurt themselves".

Image caption Wing Chun instructor Derek Vernon said Fiorindo Ardesi, circled, left his classes in 2017 after 18 months

Des Harman of the BCCMA, which has about 1,000 teachers registered with it, said it had urged Sport England "for over 40 years" to "make it mandatory" to be a member of a national governing body such as the BCCMA in order to teach.

He said: "For every one teacher registered with the BCCMA there are probably 10 that aren't.

"If you wanted to teach many sports in this country, you would have to have a national coaching certificate in order to do so and be a member of the (governing body).

"In Chinese Martial Arts this is not the case.

"It is going to take a death to make a change."

Sport England said it had no power to enforce registration but it "encouraged" instructors to affiliate to the national governing body.

Image caption Fiorindo Ardesi calls himself a martial art teacher on his Facebook page

"In the UK there isn't one overarching governing body for martial arts, instead there are governing bodies for each sport such as taekwondo, jiu jitsu, or Chinese martial arts," said a spokesman.

But "the lack of one overarching governing body" and safety concerns for children prompted the launch of a Safeguarding Code in Martial Arts in 2018.

Mr Ardesi advertises on Facebook as a teacher of Kung Fu, Wing Shun and Wu Shu.

Torquay Wing Chun instructor Derek Vernon, who taught Mr Ardesi for at least 18 months, said it would "take a minimum seven years" before someone could teach knife fighting.

"I agree that there should be protection in our industry but why would I fork out money to join the BCCMA if it is not mandatory?" asked Mr Vernon, who said he left the BCCMA "many years" ago.

Image caption Fiorindo Ardesi: "For me a qualified person is a person that teaches you"

Mr Ardesi said he had trained in martial arts and with knives since he was a teenager.

And he said he trained military police in Italy in "close quarter combat".

"For me a qualified person is a person that teaches you," he said.

The knife used in Facebook videos featuring him has a blunt edge and a rounded tip.

"You could not cut someone with it," said Mr Ardesi.

He said what he taught was a combination of Chinese martial arts, including Wing Chun.

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