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FIASco

Why did I quit FIAS? (Federation International Amateur de Sambo)

This a question I get from several people in the Sambo world. I was the Canadian representative for FIAS from 2000-2005, by being the president of the National Sambo Association of Canada.

Before creating this association I asked other Sambo gyms in Canada ( at that time there was my gym, Club Kozak  and two in Ontario, which later dissolved several years later) on the idea of creating a national Sambo federation. One of the instructors of a gym in Ontario had his own “universal” Sambo federation and had on his resume that he was the rep for Canada for FIAS, but in reality wasn’t active with FIAS for some time.

I got my curiosity to compete at the Sambo worlds in 2000, which were held in Kyiv, Ukraine. I contacted FIAS and the reps of the American federation of the process to enter. I also contacted another Sambo instructor, whom was located in Ontario and had on his resume that he was the official rep for Canadian FIAS. I mentioned that I wanted to represent Canada at the worlds, but he didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it. I later found out that he wasn’t an active FIAS member for some time. Finally communicating with  FIAS, they  encouraged me to participate.

At the Sambo worlds in Ukraine.   Some members of FIAS urged me to create a Canadian Sambo  federation, even thought I got no response from the other Canadian Sambo gyms. When I returned to Canada I registered a non-profit organization: the National Sambo Association of Canada. I tried to get some sort of sponsorship, but being such a tiny group, no one would pay attention.

For the years as president, apart from minuscule amount from individual memberships, I ended up paying the majority of the yearly fee to FIAS for Canada. I was asking myself really what was the point anymore to have this federation?

FIAS was having their election for a new president. There was much talk going around, positive and of course negative about certain people wanting to run. One of them went to come visit me, and actually managed to bring one of the other Sambo instructors from Ontario ( the other one vanished!) I thought this was interesting, but at the same time wondering why after all these years the other instructor decided to come and talk with me?

We talked about the sad state of Sambo in Canada. They were saying that the is a bright future for the sport here. The upcoming president promised me that he would help and finance a Canadian Sambo championship, should he become president( there’s always a catch!)The other instructor was finally interested in joining my federation, but in the end never did and actually stopped teaching and left Canada.

A new president was voted in. I help to vote for him, believing his promises. After he got in, I contacted them and asked about his plan to make a Sambo championships here in Canada. The response was that I pay my membership fee then we’ll talk. I mentioned to him, why such small member countries, like Canada, pay the same membership fee as the large ones(eg. Russia) whom have government sponsorship and many members. I was given no answer. The question arose again: “What’s the point?” I was not getting new students to my gym by being president nor rep for FIAS. So I decided to tell FIAS that I would not partake anymore. I could not see any reason for staying on as Canadian rep for FIAS.

I got no reply from FIAS, nor any attempt to discuss with  me about my decision. I was shocked that days after, FIAS announced on their website that I “retired” from Sambo. Retired I thought?! Strange.

Since then I disbanded the National Sambo Association of Canada, and created an independent federation, the Canadian Combat Sambo Federation, that has no ties nor affiliations with any international Sambo groups. Strangely, since the creation of this independent federation, there has been more interest throughout Canada for Combat Sambo!

After leaving FIAS there was a empty hole left for representing Canada. Someone started claiming to be the new rep for Canada, because we was asked by FIAS. There were doubts among many people about this , and is claim disappeared.

Recently there are 2 groups within Canada fighting over who is the real rep for Canada. Each on claims they are the real one. One group wanted my aid. I agreed as an adviser, but quickly took away my decision as I saw the foolishness that was happening again. It seems people are one power trips to claim they are the president and rep for FIAS, while in reality , nothing is to be gained and nothing is being done.

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