How Afghan women secretly learn judo — over WhatsApp

A martial arts coach and his former student are training women in Afghanistan virtually from Norway.

[Nils Adler/Al Jazeera]

Oslo, Norway - In a sprawling underground martial arts training centre in the Haugerud neighbourhood in Norway’s capital, Oslo, Qudsia Khalili steps onto the judo mat and comes face-to-face with her training partner.

The partner, a stern-looking Norwegian woman with tightly braided hair, grabs the young Afghan by the collar of her blue judogi - the sport's traditional uniform - and violently whips her off balance.

Khalili lands on the mat with a tremendous thud.

The sound echoes across the dimly lit cavernous training hall.

Members of the national Norwegian judo team, who are training in the same room, look over, concerned, but Khalili stands up, brushes herself off and continues.

Though unassuming and soft-spoken, the 22-year-old transforms into a formidable fighting force the moment she steps onto a judo mat.

Source: Al Jazeera