Scottish Karate Governing Body’s ‘Women’s Coaching Week’

From the 7th-13th of March 2016 the Scottish Karate Governing Body (SKGB) ran a ‘Women’s coaching week’ encouraging club coaches across Scotland to give some of their most experienced women a shot at coaching the class. Scottish Karate’s director of women and girl’s interests, Chloe Maclean, explains why the SKGB done this, and the success of the event.

Karate 4Before stepping into a karate class, many people might imagine scenes of strong men, serious faces, a ‘hard’ attitude, and an absence of anything deemed ‘womanly’ or feminine. In reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. Although a combat sport, Scottish karate is a place filled with women, girls, men, and boys all training together, learning together, sweating together, and laughing together.

Scottish karate is filled with many extremely successful women athletes who have competed across the world and won medals from both the European and World stages. Alongside these women, there are even more who have trained hard perfecting their technique and reached the rank of black belt ( a belt which signifies extremely high technical ability and knowledge of the martial art).

Scottish karate is has a wealth of talented women, but unfortunately there remains a large difference in the quantity of these women going into coaching compared to men. Comparative to how many black belt women we have training, very few have turned to coaching. To try to encourage more women to consider coaching, the SKGB decided to hold a ‘women’s coaching week’ running on the same week as international women’s day. Our aim of the week was to have as many women as possible having a shot at taking a karate class – whether that be a whole class, the whole week, or parts of a class alongside another coach – to both build the confidence of the women taking the classes, and to Karate 1encourage more women and girls in the class to consider becoming coaches themselves.

As director of women and girl’s interests’ I couldn’t be more pleased with how the week went. Photos appeared on club websites and facebook pages rapidly as the week progressed, showing halls spread with men, women, and children learning new tips and tricks from their clubs top women. The range of women coaching during the week included Scottish national team members, ex British and commonwealth champions, women from ages 15-60, and 7months pregnant (!) Lisa Scott of Broxburn. Seeing the enthusiasm for being taught by these women, and the enthusiasm of the women themselves, was fantastic. The support shown for the event was even more I had hoped to see, and marks a great initial step forward for Scottish karate.

I think women coaching, particularly in a sport like karate, is such a positive thing is so many ways:

  1. It challenges stereotypes of women as passive, fragile and not as skilled as men at sport, and instead allows women to be assertive and share their expert knowledge;
  2. It builds women’s confidence and belief in their own ability;
  3. It creates good, positive, role models for younger women and girls, which may, in turn, encourage them to go on to coach themselves;
  4. It shows everyone in the class that women can be just as talented, if not more talented, than men at karate. This is a particularly important outcome in building a well-deserved respect for women, and potentially developing positive understandings of gender equality in boys and men.

The SKGB is looking to run this as an annual event, and hopefully we will begin to see some shifts in the coaching make-up of Scottish karate that will utilize, celebrate, and build the confidence of the fantastic women we have in our sport.

If you would like to find out more about Scottish karate, please see .

You can contact Scottish karate’s director of women and girls’s interests at