During the lockdowns wrought by COVID-19, the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation has piloted online examinations for the practical element of its MMA coaching courses, to complement the theoretical component already conducted in the digital sphere.
In June 2020, IMMAF member, the Hong Kong MMA Federation, submitted a proposal for the complete certification of its coaches through an online examination.
Heading the initiative were head coach Alberto Mina, an ex-UFC professional, and Jon Bond of Club “Hybrid”.
The two candidates participated in a two-month training program designed by Mina, in accordance with the IMMAF Syllabus.
With the aid of the “Teach Me” videos in the IMMAF Mobile App, the candidates were able to gage the standard required by IMMAF to qualify MMA coaches.
The examination was carried out online through multiple sessions in which the coaches were tested on their teaching delivery of the moves, theory and methodology and most importantly, their understanding of the psychological aspect of teaching martial arts.
Cameras and audio-speakers were setup to enable examiner, IMMAF's Director of Development Andrew Moshanov, to instruct and observe the candidates throughout the examination.
The newly certified coaches are Andy Tang, a professional MMA athlete under “JUST MMA” who has a Brown Belt in BJJ, and Donald Tong, an experienced MMA coach at the “Sensory Fight Club”.
“We put this plan together with the aim of encouraging other federations to continue in our mutual mission of promoting MMA during this difficult time," says Hong Kong MMA Federation President Andrew Chan.
"We thank IMMAF for supporting this initiative and will continue to find ways for our members to develop in and enjoy the sport.”
IMMAF Director of Development, Andrew Moshanov, says it was a great experience and the IMMAF Coaching Committee is fully supportive of this pilot and its evolution.
"We are entering a new era, in which we will have to rethink our approaches to coach education and training, using the power of IT technologies.
"While sports training methodology remains the cornerstone of the athletes' progress, we are reviewing and reformatting traditional modes of assessment and will continue to experiment with forms that can be implemented through remote engagement and maintain interaction with coaches and athletes around the world."
IMMAF President Kerrith Brown says in the COVID era, it's vital to sport – particularly at the grassroots - that it is innovative.
"Digital platforms create new opportunities for sports federations to continue delivering to participants world over, continuing to promote the health and social benefits of sport and moreover inclusive sports practice for all.”