Staff profile

Dr Charles Spring

Senior Lecturer In Applied Management

Dr Charles Spring presenting a lecture


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism

Research centre

Visitor Economy Research Group


All Derby Sites



I am a Senior Lecturer in applied management programmes at the University of Derby in the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism. I research in the area of martial arts and professionalism and the use of martial arts as a wellness intervention. I have a book published in that area - Martial Arts: Applications in Higher Education. 

I am a member and education officer for the Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences. I am also active in Breaking Down Barriers to Martial Arts and the Disability Martial Arts Alliance.

Teaching responsibilities

I have lecturing duties in applied management in the Centre for Contemporary Tourism and Hospitality. My specialisms are contemporary issues in wellness that impact social inclusion and business management. Modules I have a responsibility as a Module Leader for are Business Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Financial Planning and Consumer Behaviour. I also have responsibilities for independent scholarships at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Professional interests

Education and professionalisation; wellness management; martial arts; sustainability and the impact on the environment of service sector activities.

I still compete in martial arts and am currently a veteran European, British and English Champion in Kata (forms). I competed in the 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 world championships and came back with medals on all occasions including world titles.

Research interests

I have an EdD in Professionalisation in Martial Arts.

I have presented papers at several conferences in relation to this subject and have several peer-reviewed papers.

My recent focus has been on children with SEND support at school and how engaging in martial arts can help support them in their educational journey.

Another area of research has been in the benefits of experiential education and work placement in aiding students in their journey through higher education.

Membership of professional bodies

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

The education officer for The Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences and a member of the Association for Qualified Combat Sports Coaches.


Undergraduate qualifications

Postgraduate qualifications

Recent conferences

Experience in industry

I worked in the sports and leisure industry in sports facilities, leisure and fitness centres. I also undertook sports development work in schools and for the community. I have coached and taught Karate since the early 1990s and run my own association Ronin Budo. I have a Martial Arts and fitness business that operates in a town in Derbyshire which has over 150 members.

International experience

I have been lucky enough to be a visiting scholar at the National Institute of Fitness and Sport in Kanoya Japan and The University of Sport Tianjin in China. I have delivered lectures in Thailand. I have regularly, since 2004, lectured in Finland at wellness and wellbeing summer schools and presented papers. First at the University of Applied Sciences in Hameenlinna, then the University of Applied Sciences in Jyvaskyla.

I also lecture regularly in Germany at the EWTO headquarters in Heidelberg and have previously lectured as part of a Leonardo project at the Hogeschool in Nijmegen Holland.

Current activities/Links with industry

I run my own karate classes weekly and have helped host large martial arts events through the Disability Martial Arts Association and other martial arts groups. I have also been a school governor and chair of governors which has helped me link with education outside of the University.

I am a keen martial artist who has been practising for nearly 50 years and a black belt in both karate and kickboxing. I'm also a self-defence instructor. I run my business and martial arts association and am an ambassador for the Breaking Down Barriers to Martial Arts.

I have a Facebook page that discusses all things martial arts to help students on the degree programme network, alumni and others. I am still competitive and have been the English, European and World veterans champion in kata (forms).

In the media

I have conducted several radio interviews and had many articles in the press relating to martial arts and wellness.

Recent publications

World Championship Martial Artist and lecturer Charles Spring discusses the benefits of older people taking up martial arts.