The IMMAF Coaching Commission, which met on the 9 February, confirmed its commitment to a coaching pathway which welcomes specialists from other combat sports, whether stand up or ground based. With successful pilot courses held in Australia in 2019 and 2020, IMMAF is now ready to roll out the programme worldwide.
Richie Cranny, chairman of the Commission, said: “I have always been a big believer in encouraging coaches from other sports to consider MMA and we’re giving them a warm welcome to the MMA and IMMAF family. Based on the Australian pilots we have now finalised a coaching pathway into MMA for coaches from different styles and will offer split coaching qualifications for “MMA Stand-Up Coach” and “MMA Ground Coach”.
Andrew Moshanov, IMMAF Development Director said:
“We welcome specialists from sambo, judo, kickboxing, muay thai, wrestling, boxing to MMA. Their contribution to the methodology of coaching in mixed martial arts will be priceless. They just need to be prepared to rethink the applicability of the techniques of their core sport, review it from a biomechanical standpoint and then adapt their coaching accordingly. Creating pathways that offer early specialisation is not that unusual in high performance sport, and we want ours to lead to a full IMMAF qualification at Level 1, 2 or 3. The sport will flourish if more coaches with a split qualification take their expertise back to their clubs and gyms.”
In the early days of mixed martial arts, MMA was often seen as a mixture of a few combat sports. Over the years of its development MMA as a sporting discipline became more of a melting pot, where skills of different combat sports underwent transformation and adaptation. Today it is well established as a separate sport, in its own rights, clearly defined with specific rules and distinctive techniques, which “are borrowed” from other sports, but adapted to suit MMA.
During the evolution of the sport to date, very few athletes have been trained trained purely as mixed-martial-artists. Most of them experienced so-called evolution of their core style and technical repertoire as they established themselves as MMA athletes.
Adaptation takes time
Head coach of the Russian MMA Team, Gennadiy Kapshai, who was a former wrestler and professional Thai-boxer himself and is now a member of IMMAF’s Coaching Commission reflects on his own journey:
“It may take an advanced level athlete up to three years to adapt the technique of his core combat sport to the new format of MMA. As for a coach, it may happen sooner. I look back on my own journey from Thai boxing coach (with a decent wrestling base) to MMA coach, I can say it took me a year and a half to review my coaching means and methods to fit the purpose. At that time, I spent 5-6 hours a day in the gym teaching and coaching top athletes.”
IMMAF Board Member and Coaching Commission Member Bertrand Amoussou said: “as a former judo athlete, I know that at the elite level, there are no equally skilled athletes in standing and ground based judo. We see something very similar now in MMA. There is a common definition of MMA athletes as either strikers, wrestlers, or universals. It seems that their coaches display great competence in one or another area so what IMMAF proposes is an extension of that ethos.”
The IMMAF Coaching Commission also discussed IMMAF’s youth grading format and how to incorporate live drills and is planning a series of Webinars for countries on the youth grading prior to Youth Worlds 2021 as well as proposed amendments to the coaching education syllabus.
For more information about the IMMAF Coaches Commission please contact: [email protected]