It might be an unfortunate reminder of the times we live in, or it might be a way to control fares (and even fears). No matter how you look at it, though, it’s a boost to martial arts programs everywhere.
A Russian budget airline official has said staff members will be trained in sambo to help them in case passengers become aggressive. An article in Inside The Games noted employees of the airline, Pobeda, based in Moscow, will be teaching their staff techniques from that sport as well as judo.
It might be a case of good marketing that just caught got attention at the right time. In February, International Sambo Federation (FIAS) President Vasily Shestakov said he thought techniques from the combat sport would prove worthwhile for employees of airlines.
According to Andrey Kalmykov, the airline’s chief executive, the training will help save passengers some money, since it will cut down on the need for the planes to carry private security staff.
“We have chosen a better option, we will train our employees in sambo and judo,” Kalmykov told news agency Interfax.
“In that case, we wouldn’t need to raise the ticket prices.”
Proponents have been working to try to have sambo included in the Olympics. One surprising ally in the fight is Russian president Vladmir Putin, who in late 2016, noted, “We need to do everything possible to make this popular and spectacular martial art enter the Olympic program.”
While it remains to be seen whether and how the addition of martial arts training will impact ticket prices and passenger security – or even whether other airlines follow suit, it is an excellent marketing opportunity for the sport, which needs to raise its visibility if it wants Olympic inclusion.
The martial art of karate will make its debut as an Olympic sport in 2020.