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For self-defense studio SheFighter, empowerment is ‘real-life practice’

Teaching at SheFighter studio. (Photo: Handout from SheFighter)
Teaching at SheFighter studio. (Photo: Handout from SheFighter)
AMMAN – Although founded in Jordan for Jordanian women, the SheFighter initiative, which aims to help stop violence against women by teaching women the art of self-defense, now enjoys international presence.اضافة اعلان

The idea of SheFighter was inspired by young women who suffered abuse.

In 2004, Lina Khalifeh noticed that Lana Issa, one of her university classmates, had bruises on her face. She later learned from her friend that she was being abused by two of her family members. Years later Khalifeh founded SheFighter, inspired by Issa’s troubles.

Teaching at SheFighter studio. (Photo: Handout from SheFighter)

Lana Issa, once a survivor of abuse, is now one of the Master Trainers with SheFighter.

“Lina believed that women should never be abused in any way, physically or emotionally. Women are much more than that.

Women are strong; they are capable of making a positive impact in this world,” Issa said in an interview with Jordan News.

Issa spoke about the early stages of She Fighter.

“It all started with self-defense in the basement of Khalifeh’s home. She started training women how to defend themselves against different forms of violence. She wanted to give them a voice and help them become leaders, advocates, powers of change, and influencers.”

In 2012, Khalifeh opened her own self-defense studio, after toying with the idea since January 2010, according to Issa. At the time, SheFighter was the first and only self-defense studio for women in Jordan and the Middle East region. SheFighter’s training style has been taught in more than 35 countries, training more than 25,000 women around the world.

According to Issa, there are several levels in the SheFighter training system: pink, silver, black, gold, and mastery. Trainees learn basic self-defense techniques and combat stances, starting at the pink level, which is the beginner level.

Teaching at SheFighter studio. (Photo: Handout from SheFighter)

“I started working at SheFighter back in 2013 until 2017. I used to teach ‘Combo’ classes which include a variety of martial arts like boxing, kickboxing, and taekwondo. After that, I started providing training for trainers for those who are interested in becoming a SheFighter coach," said Batoul Jaikat, Former Head Trainer.

Jaikat added that the opportunity to provide self-defense workshops to NGOs, schools, embassies, and refugee camps was the most exciting part. “It was an empowering and enriching experience.”

“She Fighter is not only about physical training for females, but also mental training to face obstacles, be confident, and discover inner strengths and capabilities.”

SheFighter now has more than 650 trainers globally, 350 of whom are in Jordan.

Issa explained that the biggest challenge of expanding worldwide was logistical, but also the fact that numerous people were opposed to the idea and did not see the need for their female relatives to receive such training.

Issa also pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic presented major challenges when it came to holding trainings. However, SheFighter found ways to deliver training online in the US, the UK, Korea, Australia, Canada, and Jordan.

“We offer courses to all levels,” added Issa. “Our classes depend on the ranking of women on the SheFighter skill scale, whether they are beginners in the pink level or advanced levels like black or gold. Each level has a set of self-defense moves and fighting techniques.”

“I joined SheFighter in Jordan when I was 14 years old. Now, I live in the UK, and I have rejoined again through the online training,” Tala Elremmash, one of the studio’s trainees, told Jordan News.

Elremmash added that self-defense techniques are beneficial, flexible, and appropriate for women's movements, encouraging girls and women of all ages to learn how to defend themselves.

Issa, likewise, underlined the importance of boosting women and children’s confidence in helping them overcome life’s challenges and obstacles. She stressed that such forms of empowerment will help individuals achieve great things and tackle challenges with courage and persistence.

Additionally, Issa added that young girls should be assertive and intuitive, fearless and ambitious, which is what SheFighter tries to instil.

“Have a goal in your life to work for, and don’t just go with the flow. Empowerment is not just a theoretical concept but it's a real-life practice,” concluded Issa.

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