The Slovakian Mixed Martial Arts Association (SZMMA) recently succeeded in adding MMA as an option for physical education courses in the country’s schools.
The news comes following significant efforts from the SZMMA to create opportunities for students to participate in MMA through a project called Modules, which was organized by the country’s Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport. The project focuses on providing students with a variety of interesting activity options, and now it will be possible for schools to offer combat sports in their physical education curriculum.
The report from the IMMAF website notes that some schools in Slovakia have already inquired about the classes, and SZMAA President Marek Herda shared some details about the organization’s efforts.
“Overall, it was a very difficult process as it was a gradual change of opinion on MMA. Bringing MMA into a school sport is difficult overall…However, we are very happy that we were given this project and thus were able to develop MMA and grappling sports on a national level. I hope this will help us in the development of our league (MAMMAL) and bring enough new talent but ultimately bring us a healthier society.”
Slovakia The Latest Country To Explore Youth MMA
Youth MMA is becoming more common in many countries as the sport continues to grow, and Herda hopes that offering combat sports classes will have a positive impact on Slovakian students and schools.
“Once established in a school setting, MMA can have several positive impacts on the landscape. For example, it can help increase the physical fitness and health of children and youth, which can lead to a lower incidence of overweight and obesity-related diseases. It can also help develop important social and emotional skills such as teamwork and overcoming obstacles. In addition, MMA sports can provide an opportunity for children and youth from diverse social and economic backgrounds to play and train together, which can help reduce social and economic disparities.”
Slovakia may not be known as the biggest hotbed of MMA talent in Europe, but the country has produced several notable fighters over the years. Ľudovít Klein made history in 2020 when he became the first Slovakian fighter in the history of the UFC, and “Mr. Highlight” was joined by his countryman Martin Buday when the heavyweight won a contract with the promotion on Contender Series 2021.
The country’s top promotion Oktagon MMA has also established itself as a significant player in the European MMA landscape, and the organization already has several events scheduled for the first half of 2023.
What’s your reaction to the news that MMA courses will now be an option for students in Slovakian schools?