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What did it mean to have an American Sambo Association membership?

Membership in the ASA did not automatically grant one expertise, skill, or credential in the Sambo community. Rather than a "ranking" organization, the ASA was a training based association of like-minded martial artists (both trained in Sambo, and not). While many individuals and clubs did join the ASA with the goal of learning, competing, or coaching in Sambo, many others joined to support our cause and gain some insights which benefited their own martial art training. Unlike many traditional martial arts organizations, the ASA did not "rank" our members in Sambo and did not support any particular Sambo "ranking" system that existed (with the exception of the Russian Master of Sport rating system, our ASA competitor Master of Sport Award, and our ASA Coach credential program).

In 2012, the ASA launched a protocol by which active association members could qualify for an ASA Coach credential. This program offered a four tier program resulting in "Apprentice Coach", "Assistant Coach", "Coach", and "Senior Coach" levels. This program could not be completed via distance learning and required candidates to be current ASA members, engage in hands on training, and maintain an active role in the Sambo community for no less than 2 years between coach levels. In order to move through this program one needed to participate in the ASA Sambo Summit Training Camp; attend our referee and teaching methodology courses; hold current first aid and CPR certifications; attend residency teaching programs at ASA officer clubs; coach athletes in approved local, regional, national, or international Sambo tournaments; present a short thesis to the ASA for on-line publication; and contribute to the growth of the sport via training of new coaches, publication, television, film, web, and hosting of tournaments and/or seminars.

In the end, Sambo is about active and on-going training. We wished to distinguish between our members who join to support our cause and those who actively train Sambo. While the ASA does did grant Sambo "ranks", we did want to acknowledge member clubs that have actively continued to train and increase their Sambo knowledge through training, mat time and sweat equity since joining the ASA.

Our Affiliate and Professional Member Clubs were rated in the following manner (This did not apply to individual ASA members or clubs run by our ASA advisors or officers):

All ASA member clubs were eligible to receive the following labels: "Bronze Medal Club", "Silver Medal Club", or "Gold Medal Club".

A member club could achieve this distinction by documenting with the ASA any Sambo seminars and training which the club has hosted or the chief instructor has attended since joining the ASA (or shortly before, if done during the period of time when the club was courting the ASA for membership).

A training log link would appear under each club listing. This log documented any Sambo training via private/class instruction or seminar the club or head coach had hosted or attended. Each log listed the training date(s), topic(s) covered, coach, and total number of hours trained. These seminars need not only be ASA seminars. The ASA accepted seminars and instruction offered by any noted Sambo coach. If we are not aware of the Sambo coach in question, the ASA reserves the right to inquire about the coach or delay listing of the hours until the coach is verified.

Once a club reached 25 hours or training, the club (not the individual) received a Bronze Medal listing. At 50 hours a Silver Medal listing was awarded. At 100 hours a Gold Medal listing was achieved.

Please note that these ratings did not reflect any training a member may have had prior to joining the ASA. Prior experience was listed in the club's biography. Nor did these rating make any statement about skill level. What these ratings did was denote is a member club's level of activity and intention to learn and master Sambo.

All individual and club members WERE REQUIRED to attend at least one ASA event (tournament, seminar, training camp, etc) or cross train at a fellow ASA member’s club annually. It was our goal to have an active and engaged community in the ASA. Members who did not live up to this requirement were not be permitted to continue their membership.

All ASA members must clear a background check with the National Sex Offender Database.