<![CDATA[See below for CFMMA Progression Scheme Chart On Friday 24th April, the Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts (CFMMA) unveiled its Progression Scheme for the Participants of MMA in Paris at the Racing Club de France. The occasion also marked the opening of the IMMAF Education Academy as it opened its doors with a 3 day International MMA training camp lead by Aurelian Duarte (7 times Muay Thai world champion), Andrey Prieto (wrestling world champion), Bertrand Amoussou (3 times jujitsu world champion) and David Pierre Louis (grappling world champion). Progression Schemes are common to all established and recognised sports, providing a coaching framework that takes students through a structured and safe educational pathway and enables the measurement of progress. Unlike many other sports, MMA was born at a professional level first. The result is that coaching at a grassroots level, from beginner level upwards, has developed organically everywhere with no cohesion. In France, where a strong lobby from French Judo has kept MMA marginalised and competition as good as illegal, being able to demonstrate that MMA fits sports criteria is a political imperative. Friday’s MMA Progression Scheme launch kicked of with a media breakfast in which the pathway was presented to French journalists by Bertrand Amoussou, President of IMMAF and the CFMMA. Amoussou spoke of the importance of IMMAF representatives being in France to support the scheme, in view of the hostile political environment Amoussou presented the CFMMA’s wrist band grading system which, designed with recreational participants in mind, sees students rewarded with colour wrist bands to mark their progress (running from white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown through to black and red). The bands have been tested for safety in training over the course of a one year pilot. Other options such as coloured gloves were discussed with Addidas at the beginning, but cost was prohibitive. Every colour band corresponds to key techniques in 3 different groups: striking, wrestling/take-downs and ground-work. [See below for CFMMA Progression Scheme Chart] In his speech, IMMAF CEO Densign White, gave his support to the scheme and described a demand from member countries for guidance on coaching pathways, for both practical and developmental reasons. Progression markers also enable recreational participants to track their progress and to continue their enjoyment of training. The media breakfast was followed by an IMMAF members meeting. People in attendance were: Dan Issac (All India Mixed Martial Arts Alliance), John Kavanagh (Irish Amateur Pankration Association), Zdeněk Ledvina (Mixed Martial Arts Association Czech Republic), Bertrand Amoussou (Commission Française de Mixed Martial Arts/ IMMAF), Densign White (IMMAF CEO), Alistair Pettitt (IMMAF/United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation), Isobel Carnwath (IMMAF/ United Kingdom Mixed Martial Arts Federation), Roberto Reid (IMMAF) and Kerrith Brown (Chairman of the British Judo Association.) The meeting involved an open discussion about progression ladders and development in MMA: Zdeněk Ledvina of Mixed Martial Arts Association Czech Republic presented the Czech MMA coaches education scheme. The governing body works closely with the Charles University Faculty of Sports (UK FTVS ) in Prague to conduct MMA research and coaching courses, including degrees and masters degrees. Areas of research included subjects such as the influence of body smell on chances of victory in an MMA match. Dan Isaac of the All India Mixed Martial Arts Alliance talked about India’s MMA progression pathway for children and youths, “Sport MMA”. The system allows for light contact competition based on point scoring. Isaac outlined how formal recognition of the system by IMMAF would enable AIMMAA to open up under 18s competition to international competitors, particularly across Asia where AIMMAA is developing a strong network. Some difference was noted between countries on whether under 18s participation in MMA competition would be acceptable to governments, in some cases being an enabler for sport recognition and in other territories a prohibiter. It was outlined that IMMAF will be working to develop international guidelines for participants’ progression in the sport, based on steer from members at the upcoming Annual General Meeting in Las Vegas in July. While some countries already have developed their own systems, many are requesting guidance or an international standard. Any pathway created by IMMAF will need to be ratified by its members. The IMMAF Annual General Meeting will also see the election of new board members, an expansion of the Regulatory Affairs Committee and the establishment of a Coaching Technical Committee.