Staff profile

Dr Charles Spring

Senior Lecturer In Applied Management

Charles standing giving a lecture


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences


Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism

Research centre

Visitor Economy Research Group


Buxton Campus



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 using 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 on social inclusion and business management. Modules I have responsibility as Module Leader for are Business Development and Entrepreneurship and Research Skills. 

Professional interests

Education and professionalisation; wellness management; martial arts; sustainability and the impact on the environment of spa, wellness and tourism.

I still compete in martial arts and am current veteran European, British and English Champion in Kata (forms). I competed in the 2017 and 2018 world championships and came back with medals on both occasions.

Research interests

I have just completed 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.

Membership of professional bodies

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am also a member of the Association for Qualified Combat Sports Coaches.


Undergraduate qualifications

BA (Hons) Leisure Management, Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies

Postgraduate qualifications

Master of Arts Tourism Business Administration, University of Birmingham

Educational Doctorate

Recent conferences

Spring, C and Buxton, L. (2018) Steps Forward: The Journey of Wellness Education in the UK. Conference Paper National Wellness Conference 2018 June 18-20th Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Wakefield, L. and Spring, C. (2018) Developing sustainable heritage tourism: Determining the wants and needs of Buxton residents and visitors for heritage tourism space ‘The pump room’ Buxton, Derbyshire. Leisure Studies Association Annual Conference July 10th-12th 2018, Bath, UK.

Spring, C. (2016) Application of an Experiential Model of learning using martial arts in university settings The 5th IMACSSS conference Rio Major Portugal 5-8th October, 2016.

Experience in industry

I worked in the sport 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.

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. Firstly 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 Heidleberg and have previously lectured as part of a Leonardo project at the Hogeschool in Nijmegan 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 that has helped me link with education outside of the University.

I am a keen martial artist who has been practising for 44 years and a black belt in both Karate and Kickboxing. I'm also a Self Defence instructor. I run my own small martial arts association and am an Ambassador for the Disability Martial Arts Association. I have a Facebook page that discusses all things martial arts to help students on the degree programme network with alumni and others. I am still competitive and am the current English veterans champion in kata (forms) and am striving to become competitive on a European and world level in my category.

In the media

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

Recent publications

Spring, C. (2018) Considerations for martial arts training for increasing older participants’ wellness. International Journal of Spa and Wellness, DOI: 10.1080/24721735.2018.1493782

Spring, C., (2017) Preliminary Findings from: The Professionalisation of Martial Arts: the perspectives of experts on the concept of an independently awarded teaching qualification. IQ (Institute of Martial Arts Quarterly) Vol. 6, Issue 3, Summer (2017) Greater Manchester England

Spring, C., (2017) Integrating Martial Arts for Disability Communities: Case Study of ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ Events. Poster Presentation Abstract National Wellness Conference June 19-21st 2017. St. Paul Minnesota USA

Spring, C., (2016) Martial Arts instructor, coach, mentor or teacher? IQ (Institute of Martial Arts Quarterly) Vol. 5, Issue 3, Summer (2016) Greater Manchester England

Spring, C. (2015) Martial Arts: Applications in Higher Education. Ex-L-Ence Publishing.UK

Spring, C., (2015) Professionalisation of Martial Arts: Case of University of Derby Developing a BA. (Hons) Joint Honours Degree in Martial Arts with the European Wing Tsun Organisation in Heidelberg Germany. IQ (Institute of Martial Arts Quarterly) Vol. 4 Issue 3. Summer (2015)

Spring, C.P. (2014) Professionalisation of Sports Teaching and Coaching through Experiential Learning: in Reid, G. and Woo Lee, J. (Eds). (2014) Social Justice in Sports Development: LSA Publications: UK

Spring, C., Moeller, R. and Cheetham M. (2014) Measure of the influence of Martial Arts Instructors on Aggressiveness:  IQ Journal. Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences: UK.

Spring, C. & Rice, M. (2013) Critical Evaluation of Learning Teaching and Assessment Applied to Martial Arts Theory and Practice. IQ Journal. Institute of Martial Arts and Sciences: UK.

Spring, C. (November 2012)  Sociology of Boxing University of Derby Sports Conference

Spring, C. (July 2012) Martial Arts in Higher Education: Case study of BA (Hons) Martial Arts Theory and Practice LSA National Conference Edinburgh

Spring, C. (2011) Experiential learning and martial arts World Scientific Congress of Combat Sports and Martial Arts Conference (Sept. 2011) University of Resznow Poland

Spring, C. (2010) Martial Arts in Higher Educational Settings. Sports in Society conference (March 2010) Vancouver Canada

Spring, C. (2009) Experiential Learning in the University setting. University of Applied Sciences summer school conference Hamenliina Finland

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