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Lina Khalifeh on Building Confidence Through Martial Arts Training

Lina is a tour de force! She set up her training studio SheFighter to help women in Jordan defend themselves against physical assault. She trains all ages – even grandmothers.

Lina Khalifeh has more than 17 years’ experience practicing martial arts like Taekwondo, Kick-boxing, Kung Fu & Boxing. She is a 3Dan black belt in Taekwondo and has represented Jordan in many international tournaments. Appalled by violence against women, especially domestic violence, Lina decided to train women in self-defense. She started in her parents’ basement, and in 2012 set up her first SheFighter training studio, the Middle East’s first self-defense studio to empower women both mentally and physically. Lina is also an international businesswoman and is growing the SheFighter brand globally.

In this episode we discussed how training can make women more confident and better able to defend themselves against violence. Reaction time is critical! Lina also mentioned a couple of specific things to do when faced with an attacker: target the throat or groin. If you want people to help you catch a fleeing culprit, shout “He’s a thief!” It was interesting but not surprising to learn that gender discrimination and sexual harassment exist in the word of martial arts – we talked about speaking up “even if your voice is shaking”.

We covered the online abuse that Lina and SheFighter are receiving from the patriarchy due to the powerful social impact of her work, and how to react to that bullying. We also talked about her personal ability to switch off from the daily intensity – as an introvert, she prefers to recharge alone through individual sports like swimming or running.

One must point out that self-defense training is relevant to men as well as women, boys as well as girls.

If you would like to get in touch with Lina or learn more about her work, please visit https://www.shefighter.com/ or find her on Instagram @shefighter.

A huge thank you to Naseba and the WIL Economic Forum for making this interview possible.