The COVID -19 protocols implemented by the government of Barbados have once again disrupted the Barbados Mixed Martial Arts Federation‘s plans to resume contact training and to host events. Despite this, the BMMAF has continued to offer coaching and training to its members, albeit through unorthodox means.
“We have been offering individual training programmes virtually, whether using IMMAF materials or own-created,” reports President Paul A. Forte. “We organise sessions on various days at the beach for non-contact, face-to-face training with strict COVID-19 protocols in place. These periodic physical sessions have helped keep athletes and coaches mentally and emotionally motivated in the sport.”
Based on the success of the non-contact beach training and conditioning, with strict protocols in place, the BMMAF plans to increase these sessions and also to launch non-contact competitions to “provide greater mental stimulation to athletes and coaches during this distressing time.”
“Going forward too,” says Forte, “under government restrictions, we will be evolving our training programmes to incorporate the recruitment, training and further training of young athletes through non-contact activities.”
IMMAF’s Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, expanded on the BMMAF’s recent successes in by congratulating Rollins Ayene as the first coach on the island to become certified under IMMAF. Meanwhile, one of Barbados’ most decorated athletes, Renaldo Stuart, has taken on the role of ambassador for the federation. Besides his accolades in professional and amateur MMA, Stuart has achieved also across sambo, beach-wrestling, pankration, taekwondo, sanda and grappling.
Moshanov commented: “There has been a lot said about ‘a journey in martial arts’. I think today, many athletes outgrow the boundaries of their first core sport and look to extend their journey in the wider family of combat sports and martial arts. Renaldo embodies such accomplishment and continuous personal growth. Isn’t this what sport is meant to be about? “
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown said: “These times are presenting huge challenges to sport, and so it is inspiring to see how proactive and innovative the BMMAF is being in keeping MMA alive and continuing to deliver to MMA’s participants in Barbados. By sharing these experiences, we can learn from each other as we persist in developing the sport and in positively shaping and changing lives.”