IAPA completes youth & beginners MMA competition

Picture: Beginner athletes are briefed ahead of the day’s competition Earlier this month the Irish Amateur Pankration Association (IAPA) held an Amateur MMA tournament for beginner competitors from the ages of 13 upwards. The event was organized in collaboration with Team Ryano head coach Andy Ryan who hosted the competition at the Ryano gym facility in Dublin. IMMAF.org spoke with IAPA Secretary General Deano Wade to review the results. The age classes were 13-14, 14-16, 17-18, & Adult. Weight classes were approximately every 5kg up to 100kg+. Taking place from 11am on January 16, the day’s competition captured the full spirit of a novice experience with same day weigh-ins and an accommodating environment with adapted open-mat rules. Deano explained: “The event was open mat, with no cage. We used a slightly modified version of the IMMAF Unified Rules Set. We added headgear and took away strikes to the head of a down opponent.” Prior to its completion the beginner’s event was considered by organizers as a first time trial. However, its success seems to have far surpassed expectation with a large turnout bringing together athletes from several gyms. Online feedback praised the organization and competitive experience that was on offer, and further events are already in the works. “The Ryano Novice Event went extremely well. There were 93 participants and no injuries which is by far the most important thing. So it was a great success. “The IAPA will definitely be looking to run novice and youth events in the near and foreseeable future. There are already two following events planned.” Entry level, open mat Amateur MMA competitions already have a history in other countries that include Italy, India and Ukraine. However, in the UK and Ireland many of the most respected amateur promotions feature an environment that is very close to that of a professional experience, which is not always suitable for beginner competitors who wish to feed off the benefits of live competition without the added distractions and pressures. “The Saturday night cage shows are the lifeblood of MMA in its current form. Those local shows are what created the MMA community as we know it. However, many of my fighters had their 1st competitive experience in that environment. It’s fairly stressful. The advantage of these MMA on mats tournaments is that it allows novice fighters to experience the combat end of the sport without the massive crowd and expectations and the dreaded loss. Losing in a novice tournament is much less upsetting. The less demanding rules set also allows the Novice competitor to build their skill set in less pressurised and safer combat sports environment. This will increase and contribute to their overall health and safety.” On March 5 Northern Ireland’s Ulster Amateur MMA Association (UAMMA) will host a full Junior and Novice Championships, currently expected to take place at the Andersonstown Leisure Centre in Belfast. You can follow the IAPA on Twitter @IAPAMMA Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran IAPA logo

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