On the back of the 2022 Youth World Championships, a Youth MMA Coach Education and Certification Course was held from August 21-22 at the UFC Gym in Al Maqtaa Mall, Abu Dhabi.
The course took place in the days following the UAE’s success at the Youth World Championships, where Jasem Al Hosani won the nation’s first-ever IMMAF gold medal.
The course was delivered by IMMAF Director of Development Andrew Moshanov, alongside coaching commission member and author of the first grading syllabus, Bertrand Amoussou. During the practical assessment of the new coaches, Amoussou was assisted by two IMMAF black belts, Imad Al Howayek (UFC GYM Al Maqtaa) and Tolly Plested (UFC GYM Abu Dhabi)
Thirty-five coaches attended the course with representatives from seven countries; Armenia, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, Lebanon, South Africa, Philippines, Turkey and UAE.
Amongst the UAE representatives were some new clubs that are seeking affiliation to UAE MMA Federation.
Coach Walid Bajjani, who took IMMAF Level 1 course in January, joined to earn another qualification as he is looking to start a mixed martial arts club at the New York University of Abu Dhabi. Coaches Imad Al Howayek and Marc Aldovino from UFC GYM Al Maqtaa were also in attendance to upskill themselves as the gym plans to offer more kids MMA classes.
A large contingent that came was inspired by the success of Sbee Rahal – UAE Youth Team coach, who took the Level 1 course himself back in January 2022. He commented on his experience on the course, stating: “It was a good experience, and I benefited from it, and I would also like to thank them for their cooperation in raising the capacity of the coaches in the UAE.”
Reflecting on the course, Andrew Moshanov said:
“I was trying to make a point that knowledge of the sport, continuous education and permanent upskilling is the source of success for a coach, often more than their medals record. So, I challenged the audience with the question, “how many world champions are there in this room today?”. When seven hands raised, for me, the penny dropped, although there was not a moment of dead silence. We had champions in karate, kickboxing, taekwondo, and sanda, and it was pretty casual for them. Remarkably, they did not make much fuss out of their track record and were there to learn.”
“I had one of the most exciting courses with this group of thirty-five coaches. Most of them were UAE residents and realise the depth the UAE MMA Federation will have as we continue to assist this country in growing the national federation. With almost fifty certified coaches in the UAE, I have a feeling that the development of the youth MMA in the UAE is on the right track. There is definitely momentum being gained here.
Speaking on behalf of the UAE MMA Federation, Mohammad Al Hosani added:
“We are delighted to have concluded the second Coach Education and Certification Course in the UAE, albeit an important one this time as it specialised in developing and improving Youth MMA Coaches. Coming off a historic 2022 Youth World Championships with the UAE’s inaugural participation and medal tally, it was a natural fit to host a youth coaching course in conjunction with the event, and I’m really happy with the number of attendees and the high levels I have witnessed. The UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation will continue to provide these courses to local and regional coaches in order to continue to develop all facets of the sport in the UAE.”