MMA coaching degree at University of Wolverhampton

The University of Wolverhampton in the UK has introduced a compelling new martial arts based degree titled “BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching Practice – Martial Arts”, currently on offer at the Institute of Sport, Walsall campus – where the IMMAF European Championships are to be held. “This is not a course for armchair coaches.” Main focuses of the course include developing a high level of coaching ability and an understanding of sports science, in addition to other academic areas such as business and running a martial arts/combat sports club on a professional level. Furthermore, students will be required to develop their technical/physical skills to a very high level with daily training sessions, and their development from this will be graded. Students can follow a single martial art with the opportunity to take on more, including following a pathway suitable to the coaching of Mixed Martial Arts. Senior lecturer and course leader Dr Shaun M. Galloway provided IMMAF with details of the three year course. “The focus of the course will be on coaching/instructing either participation and performance students/athletes (though students may choose both categories). The academic content will teach perspective students to use sports sciences in their coaching/instructing (pedagogy). Another academic focus will be to help students become their own boss and develop a Martial Arts (MA)/Combat Sports (CS) club professionally. Many times we start a club and have a passion for it and would do it for free – however, this doesn’t pay the bills. We hope to help student to make a MA/CS a profession and at the very least a good extra income. “Another key element to our program is that students will be required to develop their technical/physical skills to a very high level. As such, nearly every day there will be physical/technical training that is a requirement of the students in this course. Student will be expected to reach very good levels of physical and technical ability and are graded on these abilities. This is not a course for ‘arm chair’ MA/CS coaches.  “Future students can follow a singular art/sport (however, they will have the opportunity and will be encouraged to develop a second art/sport). They can also follow a number of arts which would be more in line with the mixed martial arts trend of late. There will also be a number of weapons arts/sports available, such as: kobudo, kyudo, iaido, kendo, kali, jo, archery and fencing. Some of the Martial arts that will be covered will be: karate, judo, juijisu, and TKD. Some of the Combat sports that will be covered are: boxing and wrestling. Others can be included depending on the accessibility of coaches and specific facilities (if needed).” The course was born out of several contributing factors that lead the University of Wolverhampton to develop a thriving martial arts scene. The University boasts lecturer expertise with world class experience in karate, judo, and boxing. In addition, the Walsall campus plays host to British Judo Centre of Excellence. Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Judo, Wrestling and Taekwondo are all part of the University’s martial arts program, as well as many other competitions and training camps. As with all University courses, the success and further development greatly depends upon the enjoyment, success, and overall reaction of the students. Feedback was gathered from a diverse selection of students, from Olympic hopefuls and those with a history of martial arts practise, to newcomers with a keen interest. “To have the course validated we needed to ask current students what they thought,” Dr Galloway explained. “General students thought there was a need for the program. The interest from the current students who are involved in martial arts was immense. Many are thinking of taking the course as a second degree.  “Though it is early days for the BSc (Hons) Sport Coaching Practise – Martial Arts course, the new students have found the program to be quite flexible. We have students who are Olympic hopefuls, mature students who have a long history in martial arts and coaching and young students just starting their career in MMA.” For more information on BSc (Hons) Sports Coaching Practice – Martial Arts, such as entry requirements and employability, visit http://courses.wlv.ac.uk/course.asp?code=SR020H31UVD Students interested in joining the program are encouraged to contact Dr Shaun M. Galloway – s.galloway@wlv.ac.uk.

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