An Affordable Martial Arts Insurance Plan For Everyone

Advocates of compulsory health insurance plans will often ask rhetorically, “What if you got hit by a bus?” Yet we all know that the relatively poor health of America today isn’t the result of some freak accident. It wasn’t the shark attack, the falling piano, or the runaway Prius that has led so many of us to physical (and financial) ruin.

The real cause is inappropriate conduct. It is, primarily, neglect and disregard for the effects of diet, exercise, environmental conditions, and other factors under our imperfect but substantial control.

As a holistic form of exercise, martial arts can arguably be classified as health care. Experienced practitioners also recognize it as a form of health insurance. Daily practice provides a richly detailed baseline against which latent health issues can easily be observed, and hopefully corrected in their earliest stages.

Those are the straightforward facts; now here is the tricky part: we can use martial arts to insure and ensure our health, but how do we insure the practice itself?

Unfortunately, many martial artists seem to rely upon faith-based insurance plans–plans consisting, first, of faith that the traditions of their (ancient or modern) style function as intended; and second, of a belief that their own personal practice is congruent with the canonical methods and standards of the style. And the only evidence required by these plans, is the testimony of one’s own teacher.

If we were to structure a martial arts liability insurance plan in the style of conventional health insurance, it might look something like this:

  1. The student selects, and pays a premium to their chosen provider.
  2. They study what initially appears to be an excellent style of martial arts.
  3. After investing years of time and effort, they finally learn otherwise.
  4. The student files a claim with their insurance provider for tuition reimbursement, plus pain and suffering.
  5. For one reason or another, an adjuster rejects the claim. (That is how they make their money, after all.)

So, are you interested in signing up for this plan? I should hope not. Here is an alternative.

A serious student of martial arts should make a serious effort to meet, and compare notes with their peers–especially peers from outside their own school. There is no better way to get an accurate assessment of one’s own strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement; to insure and ensure the integrity and continued fruition of one’s study.

Meeting martial arts practice partners can be awkward and difficult. You can simply walk into someone else’s school and ask, but that is easily interpreted as an outsider’s challenge (with dangerous consequences). You can post on a message board, but that only works if other locals are reading the same board at the same time. Fortunately, a new online service makes the chore of finding partners a little bit easier. is, to my knowledge, the one and only website specifically created to help martial artists seeking practice partners. After entering your address and chosen style(s) of martial arts, DojoScore allows you to search for and chat with like-minded students in your local area. Unlike other generalized “exercise friends” and social networking services where martial artists were clearly an afterthought, DojoScore is tailored specifically to the unique needs of the martial arts community. Matching up practice partners is only one of the services they provide, and for free.

Free martial arts insurance? Finally, a reform proposal we can all support!


  1. Ahem. I take issue with your first thesis. Sometimes health problems aren’t because of your behavior at all. Take my heart attack for instance. It happened because I have a bad gene. That’s a direct quote from my doctor. I have never smoked, I exercised regularly, I stopped eating saturated fat 10 years before my heart attack, and I still had one. Because my liver hates to make HDL cholesterol, and loves to make LDL.

    Now, with two stents in my heart, I have a preexisting condition and I can’t get insurance from insurance providers. I need this plan.

    In martial arts we follow the credo that we are in control of every variable, that there is no such thing as an accident. Ueshiba once said he could avoid a sniper on a rooftop, by turning the other way. This attitude serves us well in training, prompting us to higher levels of awareness and control. But it is an illusion, though a useful one. There are things in life we aren’t in control of. Which is why we need insurance.

  2. Sorry in advance if I appear callous… bad genes is, as Chris suggests, are a terrible excuse. And it’s used by “health care authorities” in one way or another… sometimes as a lie.

    In a similar vein, if I hear someone has knee pain I always, always, always ask them to see a massage therapist before an orthopedic surgeon (or knee doctor). I’ll go so far with my unprofessional opinion (don’t take this as medical advice, if you read on, do so at your own risk and only after receiving advice from a qualified health care practitioner in your own State)…90% of all knee surgeries are unnecessary. But when a doctor has a hammer: you look like a nail.

    As a Taiji instructor, one of my real, enduring tasks is to help people who’ve had knee surgery, knee pain, and knee injuries understand how to feel better, understand how to walk and to weight their legs in durable ways.

    Many modern technological “advances” are simply ways to scheme us into believing we are sick: and it’s not our fault…

    My last bit: long ago I dreaded H.C.Reform because I feared that they would make me pay for insurance.

    I’m not a gambler. Every insurance is a cruel bet: betting against competence. Life Insurance, indeed! Death Bet is a better name.
    Health insurance, when you pay it, is your way of saying: I bet I’ll get sick soon.

    I don’t mind that others pay for useless services, but I don’t want to…

    The are things we are not in control of, and insurance is an illusion of protection.

  3. Good share! I agree with you, a serious student of martial arts should really make a serious effort to meet, and compare notes with their peers..

  4. is a great concept. I took a look around and I like the idea.
    The challenge is that martial arts tends to be an emotional thing. People do come for different reasons. They tend to resonate with the instructor and/or the students. And once a person has made an internal commitment the psychology tends to give them tunnel vision (my art is better than your art).
    I hate the politics. When my wife and I opened our school over 12 years ago we went to a dozen martial arts schools with the intention of creating bonds with our fellow school owners. We were unpleasantly surprised.
    Students need to be committed to their training to get the benefits they desire. Unfortunately many school owners tend to poison (strong term, sorry) their open mindedness

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