Martial arts


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Guideline review date: 28 October 2021​.

​This guideline is provided to support schools in implementing the managing risks in school curriculum activities procedure.

The CARA planner (DOCX, 600KB) must be used for the specific school context in conjunction with this guideline considering additional risks, hazards and controls and including environmental, facility, equipment and student considerations.

For activities beyond the scope of this guideline, complete a CARA record using the CARA generic template (DOCX, 488KB).

Activity scope

This guideline relates to student participation in martial arts training as an activity to support curriculum delivery.

Note: this activity does not include any form of heavy contact martial arts, breaking techniques, takedown/sweeping techniques or use of weapons.

Depending on the scope of this activity, other risk assessments may be required when planning. Curriculum activities encompassing more than 1 CARA guideline must comply with the requirements of all CARA guidelines appropriate to the activity.​

For activities conducted at an external venue, and/or when engaging external expertise, request written risk assessment advice and attach it to this CARA record.

For activities conducted off-site, schools must comply with the school excursions procedure​.​

Medium risk
Non-contact martial arts activities, including solo training techniques and leg and hand sequences to develop skill over power.
High risk
Light contact, non-competitive martial arts activities, including sparring, blocking and evading and/or using tools such as foam sticks.​

Activity requirements

If any requirement cannot be met, the activity must not occur.

If any other safety recommendation cannot be met, modify the activity (or elements of it) and/or identify and use the hierarchy of controls to implement alternative control measures to meet or exceed the minimum safety standard.

All risk levels



Principals make final supervision decisions for the activity. Sufficient adult supervision must be provided to manage the activity safely (including emergency situations).

For activities with students with a medical condition or disability that may impact on safety during the activity, consultation with parents is required prior to allocating supervision to determine the impact of students’ medical condition or disability on safety during the activity.

The number of adult supervisors required to fulfil emergency and supervision roles must consider the nature of the activity, students’ ages, abilities and specialised learning, access and/or health needs.

Before the activity, all adult supervisors must be familiar with the contents of the CARA record.

During the activity, all adult supervisors:

  • must be readily identifiable
  • must closely monitor students with health support needs
  • must comply with control measures from the CARA record and adapt as hazards arise
  • must suspend the activity if the conditions become unfavourable (e.g. extreme temperatures)
  • must not allow choke or strangle techniques.

For high risk activities:

  • closely supervise participants, when sparring, using simulated contact to ensure techniques are controlled short of the target (more than 10cm).

Supervisor qualifications

Principals make final decisions in determining supervisor capability (competence, relevance and currency) and are responsible for encouraging and enabling school-based activity supervisors to raise their qualifications to improve safety standards.

All adult supervisors must comply with the working with children authority—blue cards procedure and be able to identify, and respond to, risks or hazards that may emerge during the activity.

A registered teacher must be appointed to maintain overall responsibility for the activity.

For medium risk activities:

  • At least one adult supervisor is required to be:
    • a registered teacher with competence (knowledge and skills) in teaching non-contact martial arts activities—or
    • an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with demonstrated capability in teaching martial arts activities.

For high risk activities:

  • At least one adult supervisor is required to be:
    • a registered teacher with demonstrated ability to conduct the activity. Examples of demonstrated ability include:
      • qualifications in Physical Education or equivalent demonstrated capability
      • a martial arts qualification from a recognised national sporting organisation or similar—or
      • another method determined by the principal
    • or an adult supervisor, working under the direct supervision of a registered teacher, with either:

Facilities and equipment

The qualified adult supervisor of the activity, in consultation with the principal, determines the requirements for facilities and equipment appropriate to the local context.

Location must be suitable for the activity being undertaken, including sufficient space, adequate lighting and ventilation to ensure safe participation and that safety rules and procedures can be followed.

Surface must be even, firm and non-slip (e.g. wooden sprung floor, flat grassed area).

Participants must wear personal protective equipment appropriate to the activity (e.g. soft-soled footwear).

Equipment must be sized to match the ability and strength of students.

Training tools (e.g. strike sticks) must be soft and made from foam.

All equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

 Common hazards and controls

Further to those listed, include any additional hazards and control measures considering the local context of the activity.

Environmental hazards Control measures

Biological material
Body fluids (e.g. blood, saliva, sweat)

Manage bodily substances (e.g. blood) and open wounds before, during and after the activity. Consult infection control guidelines and Queensland Health’s exclusion periods for infectious conditions poster (PDF, 1.6MB) for hygienic practices and first aid.

Follow appropriate cleaning and hygiene management practices when using shared equipment (departmental staff search 'practical subjects cleaning equipment' in OnePortal).

Environmental conditions
Weather, sun, humidity

The school's sun safety strategy must be followed.

Assess weather (Bureau of Meteorology) and environmental conditions prior to participating outside.

Follow the managing excessive heat in schools guidelines when participating in very hot or extreme heat conditions.

Ensure drink breaks occur regularly. Make water available for individual participants between drink breaks.

Facilities and equipment hazards Control measures

Boundary clearance

Establish a 3-metre safety zone around the activity area. If this cannot be achieved, consider ways of reducing risks (e.g. stationing supervisors near any obstacle or padding the obstacles).

Faulty or dangerous equipment

Check equipment for damage before and during the activity.

Use markers made from non-injurious material (e.g. cardboard, foam).

Do not use personal protective equipment (e.g. pads, boxing mitts) with cracks, dents or damage.

Playing surface

Cover/fill playing surface hazards (e.g. post hole sleeves) to be level with the surrounds.

Provide martial arts matting appropriate to the activity. If multiple mats are required, secure together firmly and do not overlap.

Clear the playing surface from loose items or debris. Do not participate on a slippery surface.

Student considerations Control measures

Manual handling
Lifting and carrying equipment

Use correct manual handling processes when lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.

Physical contact

Manage injuries according to established procedures. If in doubt, do not allow students to return to play after injury until medically cleared.

Physical exertion
Exhaustion and fatigue

Conduct warm-up/cool-down activities.

Continually monitor participants for signs of fatigue and exhaustion.

Student issues

Pair students by size, age, maturity and skill level.

Remove accessories (e.g. jewellery, lanyards) before participating.

Ensure fingernails and hair and clothing (e.g. pockets) do not interfere with the activity.

Check footwear before the activity to ensure they provide sufficient protection for the feet. Look for soft, non-slip soles, no buckles, zips or embedded stones.

Remove footwear for kicking activities.


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Last updated 06 September 2023