By Sana Ebrahim
In light of the disturbing onslaught on women in South Africa and their vulnerability especially during the riots, Durban-based instructor Fathima Badat chose to launch women’s self-defence workshops throughout the country during Women’s Month.
“As I grew up, I began to really appreciate the importance of learning martial arts. As a woman I gained the ability to protect myself. I gained a few other benefits as well such as confidence and staying fit. I chose to teach as I understand many Muslim women prefer a woman instructor firstly, but more importantly, I want to empower women and educate them to protect both themselves and their loved ones,” she says.
Fathima’s martial arts hero is her dad, Salim Badat. “He has trained me in his art and truly built a love for it within me.
“The main goal is to be able to defend yourself and your loved ones. Alongside the empowerment factor, training presents a great way to get fit and lose weight. Martial arts not only builds the body, but is good for one’s mind and soul. It helps build confidence and courage which of course play a huge role in a fight.”
Initial workshops were hosted in Pietermaritzburg and Port Shepstone, where Fathima taught the ladies how to use and defend against a weapon. “Regardless of your built or physical strength, the edged and impact weapons are a great equaliser for women which is why I teach it.
“I offer different modules: Edge weapon (knife); Impact weapon (stick); Anti-hijacking; Anti-rape; Home invasion and hand-to-hand combat.
“I love to help people. Empowering women through martial arts gives me a sense of satisfaction. To give women strength, hope and courage to fend for themselves is what I love most.”
Describing her lifestyle, Fathima acknowledges: “From a young age I have been drawn towards sports and exercise. I also enjoy motivating people to be the best versions of themselves. I find myself attracted to nature and the great outdoors. Hiking and morning jogs really are a great way to kickstart my day.
“I enjoy exercise whether it’s at home or the gym. I exercise daily even if it’s half an hour in the morning to keep fit. Consistency is key. I’m not too strict on my diet though I practise my skill set daily.
“Every day I recite this verse from the Holy Qur’an that keeps me going and gives me strength and hope: ‘Indeed my Lord is with me, and He will guide me through.’
“There is a quote by Maya Angelou that goes: ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.’ I believe every woman should remember this.”
Fathima offers weekly classes at their Morningside, Durban Academy. Workshops are presented throughout South Africa. To sign up for Fathima’s workshops, or if you wish to host her in your city or town, contact 066 130 2667, www.combatives.co.za