To help women fight sexual harassment in public places and personal life, Warrior Women Bangladesh was launched in 2017 to teach women self-defence tactics that help enhance their physical and mental strength
After facing several incidents of sexual harassment on roads and in her personal life, Faria Hasin became worried about her safety and her self-esteem began to erode.
In 2017, while searching for something to regain her confidence, Faria found out about the self-defence course titled "Warrior Women Bangladesh".
Launched in September 2017, the Warrior Women Bangladesh project is run by martial art instructor Abdullah Mohammad Hossain at his KO Fight Studio in Gulshan, Dhaka.
He started it to teach women self-defence methods and boost their inner and outer strength in fighting against sexual harassment.
After Faria began to take self-defence lessons at KO Fight Studio, she began to feel better and more positive about herself.
The KO Fight Studio is registered under the World Karate Organisation (WKO) which has branches in 101 countries and KO Fight Studio is the authorised branch in Bangladesh.
Since Abdullah is an expert in Japanese martial art "Kyokushin", the studio offers this form of karate for its students.
While speaking with The Business Standard, Abdullah said, "The sexual harassment situation in Bangladesh always worried me; the incident at TSC in 2015 (attack on women during Pahela Baishakh celebrations) especially bothered me and I wanted to do something about it since then."
"Most women stay busy with work at their homes or offices, or sometimes both and these incidents happen in their everyday life. Not everyone can train for years to learn how to handle harassment. So, I devised a short self-defence course for women that would cover the basic fighting techniques," added Abdullah.
"My idea was to increase women's endurance and physical strength through the training, so that they can fight back in case of harassment or molestation," explained Abdullah about his training methods.
It was not easy to design such a basic training but he did not give up.
In 2017, everything started to take shape and Warrior Women Bangladesh was finally born.
"We offer 16 classes over eight weeks. Usually, classes are one and a half hour long and most of them take place on Fridays and Saturdays," informed Abdullah.
The studio enrols 20 students per class in order to maintain quality. Abdullah is hoping to begin the 10th batch of this course, once the shutdown is lifted.
"Interested ones can connect with us through social media platforms; we have a Facebook group where details are available," he said.
This special course is offered to women from all walks of life, starting from home-makers to service holders to students, every woman is welcome here to learn self-defence.
"After 16 classes, participants are tested and the success rate is around 60 percent and these women go back home with a new level of confidence," said Abdullah with pride.
He went on, "A senior brother of mine, Mashroof Hossain, a police officer in Bangladesh, helped me out in the beginning and he still oversees promotions."
Faria Hasin who started as a trainee, now works as an instructor at KO Fight Studio. When she was asked on how this martial art training changed her life, she replied, "The first lesson I got from this training was – your strength comes from within you, so this training worked as an external tool to embrace my inner self and validation. It triggered my self-reliance to overcome my fears."
"At that time, I had to commute to work by public transportation and all these harassment incidents that had occurred in my life devastated me. Then I found out about this course through a friend on social media," recalled Faria.
"I applied for it instantly, after following some basic rules. I was selected and offered a free course. Before taking classes for Warrior Women, I had no idea about training."
"In 2017, I took 16 special classes for two months, and the same year in December, I got enrolled to our regular course. I began working as an instructor when I received a green belt," informed Faria.