New Martial Arts Groups

Watching the never ending growth in new martial art groups. It seems hardly a month goes by without a new group being formed. These groups start for all sorts of reasons, but as we know, by far the most popular is disagreement amongst individuals, and between groups themselves.

Martial artists are experts at fighting amongst themselves. But believe it or not this is nothing new.

In 1959 the Korean Tackwondo Association had a disagreement with the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association. The Taekwondo Association petitioned the

Korean Government… ‘We, the Korean Taekwondo Association, co-operate with the national rebuilding committee’s policies. But we must petition the registration of the gangsters (gangpae) hotbed, the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association (Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan). Soo Bahk Do’s official discipline is to train both body and spirit, but in reality, it is just an unsportsmanlike club. Oh dear! Anyway, back to the new groups. For whatever reason, a decision is made to start a new group. Of course it’s important for the new group to have credence. Irrespective of who runs the group or how it’s run. It needs a name. So what’s in a name? Well a lot more then might first appear. If. For example, items are bought in by the group then re-sold, or the group sells other products or services, then they are technically a business. This includes unincorporated members clubs. Unfortunately this poses a problem for many martial arts groups. This is because the law defines certain business names that require the permission of the Secretary of State for

Trade and Industry before they can be used. Names that require the approval of the Secretary of State include: National. British. English.

United Kingdom. International. Association. Federation. Board. Society and Council. In certain circumstances the name European may also require approval.

So how hard could it be to obtain approval? Harder than might be imagined. Take for example a group seeking to obtain approval for use of the word British in a name. According to guidance published in 1995 by Companies House, the group would ‘need to show that the business is pr- eminent in its field by providing supporting evidence from an independent source such as a Government Department or trade association.

To obtain approval for use of the words Association. Federation or Society the group’s ‘constitution should state that each member should have one vote and normally any profits should be used to further the objects of the organisation rather than being paid out to the members as dividends. Martial artists trading as partnerships or sole traders would therefore be unlikely to obtain approval for the use of any of these names. (Unless, of course, they became a CIC).

If the new group has a combination of any of the names, approval will be required for the use of each of the names. It is a criminal offence to use a business name that requires prior approval and to have not obtained that approval. If a complaint is made and the Department of Trade and Industry records show that a business name has not received approval, the group or individual can expect to receive a letter requiring that approval be sought. If approval is not sought then the DTI will require that use of the name stop immediately. If this does not happen then the matter will be passed to the Crown Solicitors.

Martial Artists specialise in self -defence. Printing, badges and licence books cost money. How many martial art groups have protected their investment by ensuring they are acting within the law…

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