The IMMAF Youth Development Commission, following its virtual meeting on 10 February, has prepared new guidelines to allow assessment of the technical competency of young athletes.
In the challenging times of restricted practice and the need of the social distancing, the IMMAF Youth Development Commission recommended that IMMAF national federations, clubs and coaches begin to conduct grading online, when it is not possible to manage examination in the conventional way, in a class in front of peers and parents.
Following a thorough review of the pilot trials in Hong Kong, the Commission found that an online method was feasible and should be valid, particularly for the first grades Yellow and Orange.
Grading is seen as an important part of a young athlete’s journey within the sport and is a common practice in all mixed martial arts, and therefore coaches should encourage young athletes to continue improving their skills. The chairman of the Youth Development Commission, former MMA pro standout Stanislav Nedkov of Bulgaria said:
“I would like to thank the IMMAF President Kerrith Brown for empowering the Director of Development Andrew Moshanov and all my colleagues of the Youth Development Commission to develop new pathways for youth MMA athletes. We have done an enormous work during the last few months to create a tool which works, and which is fair and safe. With this tool, we will be able to motivate athletes in their development, so they have the chance to compete internationally and, with God’s grace, one day at Olympic level too.”
Vice Chairman of the Commission, Danny Corr, who is also chair of the MMA for Peace Commission https://immaf.org/2020/07/15/immaf-launches-peace-through-mma-commission/ and driving force behind youth-centric social welfare sport projects in his native Ulster said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to engage our young people especially during these difficult times. IMMAF are leading the way and ensuring our young athletes have the best outcomes and are provided with safe and effective online training and that they are able to grow and develop happily and healthily without the risk of abuse or neglect.”
Mexico is amongst the IMMAF Member Federations who are working hard to implement youth policies. The Mexican Mixed Martial Arts Federation is aware of the importance of developing an orderly and replicable system that allows them to measure the development and knowledge of the students, within their Federation, and many of its own members had their own MMA systems, awarded grades and took exams.
But now, MMA Mexico has worked to implement the IMMAF grading system. According to the Federation President Raul Salas Navarro: “In the last year we have successfully achieved approximately 30 graduations, a number that will increase in the coming months, as due to restrictions imposed to combat Covid 19, Mexico has had to slow down assessments. We believe that the IMMAF grading system is definitely the right way forward for the development of our athletes and is another key milestone in the journey to achieve recognition of the sport at Olympic level.”
Download the Online Grading Policy here.
The Youth Development Commission, which was created by IMMAF at the end of 2019, also discussed the process of managing the mandatory grading process for competitors at the Youth World Championships starting in 2021.