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Staying Fit profile: Meet Sambo and boxing coach Hicham Marwane

The Sambo champion and boxing veteran on his path and his teaching methods

  • Coach Marwane leads the warmups
    Coach Marwane leads the warmups before a Sambo and boxing session.Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News
  • Sambo and boxing coach Hicham Marwane
    Coach Hicham explains body positioning when doing one of Sambo’s trademark throwsImage Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News
  • Dwynn executes one of Sambo’s many throws
    Dwynn executes one of Sambo’s many throws.Image Credit: A.K Kallouche
  • Class participants look on as coach Hicham demonstrates a proper throwImage Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News

In the world of fitness, you encounter numerous kinds of coaches but only a handful truly grab, pun intended, your attention. This week, we profile a decorated mentor and athlete — Hicham Marwane.

I participated in a Sambo and boxing session conducted by Marwane and got to know the man whose enthusiasm and professionalism in teaching is nothing short of inspiring.

His commitment particularly to the sport of Sambo, the Russian martial arts which involves a lot of gripping and throwing, is incredible and it rubs on you the moment you step on the mat.

Coaches and trainers play huge roles in fitness; they influence people’s lives. Marwane, a French IT specialist who’s found a home in the UAE just last year, is one methodical coach who has a solid athletic history to boot. The National Institute of Sport, expertise, and performance-certified Marwane is a 24-year boxing veteran but his exploits in Sambo are what make him extremely credible and outstanding as a coach.

Sambo and boxing coach Hicham Marwane

Gulf News tabloid! talks to Marwane for insights to his world.

Tell us your brief history with Sambo, and when you started coaching.

I started coaching in France in 2005 and I set up gyms in Ireland from 2007 to 2012.

There in Ireland, I hired a Judo/Sambo bronze medallist coach from Georgia, one of the strongest nations in Sambo. He trained me in Wrestling, Judo and Sambo from 2007.

I went back to France and imposed myself on the national Sambo and Combat Sambo scene.

Describe your path to mentoring others.

I trained in a small, famous boxing gym in Paris area where the most advanced help the others. We would share our experience with the new guys. In Ireland, after office, I would train on my own and people in the gyms would come to ask for advice, then I started training people and eventually, I opened my boxing and MMA gyms in Cork and stopped working in office. In France, my coaches entrusted me with the less experienced, certainly because I am knowledgeable, most probably thanks to the nature of my studies and work which is all about explaining technical things to customers. I like sharing with others and I find it rewarding when they achieve great things and get results.

What’s your style of coaching and what kind of impact does it have on people?

First my coaching is based on techniques, I break the movements into pieces, paying attention to the smallest details, and making sure the basics are understood and mastered. Technique is the key for best results and to avoid injuries. Boxing and Sambo are known as being violent sports, however, they are very detailed sciences. I always had that reputation of being a “fight scientist” who teaches techniques that work in a real fight situation.

Second, my overall coaching is a mix of cardio, strengthening, explosiveness and coordination. Sessions are always different and lot of fun. People like it very much for its diversity.

Third, I make sure I spend enough time with each student and I use the right approach with each of them to make them assimilate the exercises, techniques and movements.

Lastly, I am just natural in the way I coach just the same way as I behave. I keep it real. I coach everybody as if they were to prepare for a fight. In my boxing gym in France, we all train together, pro and amateur boxers, and those there for fun and fitness.

I left a good heritage in France and Ireland. Some became National and European champions in boxing, others achieved great things in Kickboxing, Taekwondo, MMA, etc.

What advice can you give to aspiring Sambo and/or boxing athletes?

Focus, perseverance and technique are the key. For Sambo it is a bit particular, I would advise them to go and see how Sambist train in Russia, Georgia.


— Marwane trains people as a freelance coach. More about him on his social media accounts. Instagram: coach.hicham.dxb


Hicham Marwane’s career highlights

2012: Bronze, Combat Sambo (Regional Championships)

2012: Bronze, Sport Sambo (Regional Championships)

2013: Bronze, Sambo (National Championships)

2013: Silver, Combat Sambo (National Championships)

2013: Gold, Combat Sambo (Paris International Grand Prix)

2014: Gold, Combat Sambo (National Championships)

2014: Bronze, Combat Sambo (European Championships)

2014: Silver, Combat Sambo (Paris International Grand Prix)

2015: Silver, Combat Sambo (National Championships)

2016: Silver, Combat Sambo (National Championships)

2017: Bronze, Combat Sambo (National Championships)

— Marwane has been a member of the Combat Sambo National Team since 2014