Kick-Boxing is more than a sport: Alumni Update – Jordan

By Batoul Jaikat, Jordanian Global UGRAD Alum 2015-16

When I was 18 years old, I started working as a receptionist at the first self-defense center for women only in Jordan and the Middle East. The idea of the center revolves around empowering women through self-defense and learning martial arts as a way of self-defense. As I was working there, I noticed that the girls there were getting stronger both physically and psychologically. Their personality was developing. Seeing these changes motivated me to give it a try.

I started taking self-defense and kick-boxing classes. It was very intense, but I loved it. I felt more confident and empowered walking in streets. My body was getting stronger and I realized I can do more than just office work, so I trained hard. One day the center delivered a training of trainers’ course and I enrolled, passed, and soon thereafter started delivering self-defense and kick-boxing classes. I was impressed with the idea that now I am part of the change that is happening to the girls at the center. This opportunity has opened many other doors for me. Since then I have participated in many self-defense workshops and volunteer work whether with orphans, people with disabilities, less fortunate, school students or refugees. I have participated in delivering self-defense workshops for people with disabilities to become certified trainers in cooperation with Jordanian women’s organizations and a certified aikido for disabilities trainer from the Netherlands. Another workshop I participated in recently was delivering self-defense courses for Syrian refugees in Irbid city. It was amazing seeing all those young ladies become more confident and empowered!

I had the courage to travel alone and I am talking specifically my Global UGRAD experience. It was the time of my life within all aspects. No Global UGRAD can deny that this experience had a huge impact on our lives. Since the end of my Global UGRAD experience, my vision towards my future is more clear. My work is developing and I am more productive. Recently, I was promoted as a supervisor at the center because (My manager at work thinks I have the right attitude for this position) and I am sure I should thank my Global UGRAD experience since it was about personality development and leadership skills. I met many inspiring people and my to-do list has grown.

I have realized that sports could be more than just sticking to a healthy lifestyle and exercise. Being healthy is important. But, if we can use sports for important global causes like women’s empowerment and to help women who don’t have a voice to stand up and speak for themselves, now that would be priceless.

I encourage every girl to go out and find something that you love, something that makes you stronger, empowered and confident and do it. Something that encourages you to wake up in the morning with the determination that you’re making a difference in the world today. It doesn’t have to be martial arts, but it has to be something.

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