Increasing numbers of women gravitating towards sport

KUWAIT: Practitioner Shareefa Al-Sarram practicing

KUWAIT: Martial arts used to be perceived in Kuwait as a discipline where men ruled due to its seemingly violent nature. However, an increasing numbers of women and girls are nowadays gravitating towards the martial arts, bringing their talent and skills to the arenas of combat and fighting.

With the rising numbers of female martial art practitioners, gyms and dojos opened special classes for women in different styles including kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Kajukenbo. The classes are mostly instructed by female practitioners. A number of practitioners agreed that martial arts gave women a chance to boost self-confidence, increase stamina, fight tension and expel negative energy.

Siham Al-Khuraif, a kickboxer and an MMA practitioner who instructs women classes, said that martial arts did not affect women’s femininity. She noted that society’s negative view on the martial arts prevented many women from engaging in this field. She said that families feared their daughters would get injured in MMA, but gyms follow a set of safety measures and rules to protect practitioners from injuries.

Meanwhile, Kajukenbo practitioner Fatma Al-Qattan – also a dojo instructor – said she chose to get into the martial arts to be capable of defending herself as she was bullied as a child. She added that the biggest difficulty she faced was her father’s opposition, as he viewed martial arts as a men’s only discipline that was not suitable for women. Qattan affirmed she will continue her path in Kajukenbo, a hybrid martial art first developed in Hawaii, to achieve the highest ranks in the discipline.
In the meantime, practitioner Shareefa Al-Sarram said they train on martial arts to learn to control their fear and get in shape. Similarly, practitioner Mariam Al-Saqer said that her passion for the martial art was so immense that she was willing to partake in future tournaments, an aspect of the martial arts aimed at instilling bravery and fearlessness in the hearts of martial artists. As the number of female martial artists continues to rise, it seems that the feminine fist has finally arrived to the Kuwaiti scene and only the future will tell if they can become the ultimate fighters. – KUNA