Fidaah Edries gets a new platform to share his passion on
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CAPE TOWN – Fidaah Edries’ hard work and dedication has afforded him the opportunity to do more good in the communities of South Africa.
The Cape Town-based combat sport coach was recently selected to join the Mixed Martial Arts South Africa subcommittee to fulfill the role of Western Cape MMA Sports Development Officer and now, using mixed martial arts as the vehicle, Coach Fidaah aims to continue building better women and men through the sport he has dedicated his life to.
MMASA – under the auspices of Martial Arts South Africa (MASA) and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) recently did an organogram freshen-up travelling the country selecting individuals who will stand the sport of MMA in good stead and grow the MMA-SA brand.
With the sport spiking in popularity across the globe, it is imperative that proper structures are put in place to build the brand from an amateur to professional level, and Fidaah certainly fits the bill.
Being a gym owner, a sensei and a coach, Fidaah has cut his teeth in various martial art disciplines for years.
“I am a sensei (blackbelt in Kickboxing), a coach (qualified to level of kru) in muay thai, I am currently a student of wrestling under coach Hayden Abrahams and learning jiu jitsu under Erefaan Jacobs (brown belt).
It also helps that he has more than 15 years working as a councillor, a therapist and a youth development manager in the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) sector which plays an imperative role in the social development aspect of sport, building not only athletes or fighters, but better humans, too.
“I believe MMA and martial arts in general are important to the lives of many as it develops discipline and character. It also teaches hard work and resilience,” says Fidaah.
“These qualities only come when you are consistent over a long period of time and they help you contribute positively to society.”
Fidaah has been responsible for grooming many athletes for years, and he continues to build some of the biggest African stars in his Ottery gym.
He played a major role in Extreme Fighting Championship bantamweight champion Faeez Jacobs’ career, he took Terence Balelo – a young man who moved from Swellendam to the Cape to chase his dreams – under his wing helping him earn the National Amateur Championship title, while he also plays an imperative role in moulding athletes such as Muay Thai prospect Kristin Clarke and Boxing talent, Mishka Slamang who are both tipped for great things in the future.
“I also developed an array of South African and Western Province kickboxing champions, however, my biggest achievement is structuring my gym to develop better human beings through martial arts,” says the man proudly.
With the thick cloud of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) hanging over our country, Fidaah puts a lot of attention on self-defence for females.
It is extremely sad that our females have to learn how to protect themselves against us men, but sadly, this is the current situation we are in … We as men must do better!
“In this day and age, with GBV being so rife, it is vital to know how to defend yourself, self-defence capabilities can be very empowering for females and males,” says Fidaah.
Martial Arts are not only good for your health and self-defence, but it too has a positive impact on your mental and physical strength.
“I would like to encourage everyone to do MMA and martial arts for these exact reasons. It is especially good for kids and to subdue the urge to bully or break down your fellow classmates or human beings.”
With his new role in MMA-SA, Fidaah is keen on changing the stigma attached to Mixed Martial Arts.
“It is a beautiful sport. It is not the violent cage fighting as it was once portrayed. There are set rules, there are referees over seeing all fights and judges assessing in accordance with those rules. Most people train for self defence, to learn skills and for fitness. So it is for a everyone as fighting is not compulsory.
“I would like to encourage all gyms who teach MMA to register with MMA-SA and for those who would like to get fit and healthy, go join and support those gyms in your areas,” he concluded.
MMA-SA registered amateur athletes have the opportunity to participate in the National South African MMA Championship which could open doors to the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation events. Registered officials also get the opportunity – qualification dependent – to work at national and international events. Members who are unable to pay fees are encouraged to contact MMA-SA to explain their situation, which will be looked at. Registration or Renewal of membership with MMA-SA closes 28 February. Costs per gym are R850 while each athlete will pay R100 per year.