Women in Jordan fight for their rights

A gym offering specialised self-defence and martial arts training for women hopes to continue expanding its reach.

Marta Bellingreri, Marta Malaspina | | Sport, Middle East, Jordan

Amman - SheFighter, the first gym in Jordan to provide specialised self-defence and martial arts training for women, was founded in 2012 and commended last year in a speech by US President Barack Obama.

Founder Lina Khalifeh says the gym's methodology combines classic martial arts techniques with self-defence and self-empowerment strategies, noting: "Training in SheFighter has a bigger impact on women's lives than 10 conferences on women's rights."

Years ago, Khalifeh said that she decided to begin teaching self-defence after she saw a colleague being physically abused by her brother. Today, SheFighter has trained more than 3,000 women, and Khalifeh hosts workshops outside the capital Amman and at universities. She is aiming to expand further, opening more gyms, both in and outside Jordan.

Each week, a stream of young women pour into the gym to learn self-defence and have fun. "She angry, SheFighter!" they scream at the end of each training session.

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