Danny Corr, founder and chairman of The Ulster Amateur MMA Association visited London upon invitation to the annual Fight for Peace Awards.
Danny (pictured above coaching his son Jack at the 2017 Amateur MMA World Championships) delivered a talk on the ground-breaking work making waves in Belfast, using the sport of MMA to impact social development within communities and effectively generate cohesion within the youth of Northern Ireland.
The former Karate competitor and coach of Irish and Northern-Irish national teams, delivered an overview of the ZKJ Dojo’s unique program supported by Laureus Sport For Good Foundation and Fight For Peace.
Speaking with IMMAF.org, he said: “My club, ZKJ, is among the only organisations across the UK who were awarded support to develop and run an Education and MMA Pathways program, to help young people who have either disengaged from formal learning, or who are struggling due to varying reasons to find their education and move on to further education, employment or training. The project offers the chance of unlimited training at ZKJ, formal education under the guidance of qualified teachers and access to coaching qualifications. This is also combined with vital personal development sessions to help young people build much needed resilience in their lives, probably the most important aspect. This is a culmination of many years volunteering in the community by coaches and ZKJ volunteers, giving young people a chance to train without the usual financial burdens.”
In 2016 The Ulster Amateur MMA Association concluded its research of pilot program Fight to Unites and discovered inspiring feedback and results on the impact of local youth work through MMA in relation to ongoing issues among young people and formally received high commendation from Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford. Danny’s work has continued to flourish and attract further support ever since
“When most gyms concentrate on the short term goals we have always looked at longevity and giving people not only an amazing sport but the tools and qualifications to engage in every aspect of life,” Danny explained to IMMAF.org. “To offer recognised qualifications alongside sport specific training is a dream come true. Bringing experts from education and youth work into the gyms breaks down many barriers faced by young people. I have been part of the Fight For Peace Alliance for over 5 years after I was lucky enough to visit the FFP Academy In Mare Favela in Rio. The similarities between their problems and the problems young people in our areas face are all very familiar. This inspired us to develop a similar system in the North alongside the Northern Ireland Youth Forum. It has been hard long work but this year has made a huge difference and will provide a legacy for the future. We can’t just focus of finding the best competitor otherwise we miss all the amazing young people that need our help.”
On Saturday, December 14, key stakeholders of Northern Ireland’s MMA scene came together, discussing essential communication as the nation moves froward with the development of MMA as a legitimised sport. Danny summarised that in 2020 a big year is expected for MMA Northern Ireland.
By IMMAF.org lead writer: Jorden Curran