Saudi empowers women by training them in Filipino martial arts
20-year-old Reem Al Ouda wants women to be able to defend themselves from harassment
A young woman in Saudi Arabia is teaching a Filipino martial arts discipline to fellow Saudi women, to empower them and to equip them with skills to protect themselves.
Reem Al Ouda, now 20, was studying computer science in Tacoma, Washington in the United States when she decided to learn martial arts in 2013. At the time she felt that wearing her Islamic headscarf made her stand out, Al Arabiya reported.
Ouda joined the Dojo Martial Arts School and learned one of the traditional forms of martial arts practiced by Filipinos. Ouda was trained by an American of Filipino origin and learned five combat patterns: eskrima, modern arnis, pekiti tirsia, bo staff and hand-to-hand combat.
After two years, Ouda became a certified trainer and is now teaching women in a sports club in Dhahran City in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Ouda said she hopes women will use martial arts skills she teaches to defend themselves from harassment.
“My goal is to empower women, make them confident and able to defend themselves in case they are subjected to any form of harassment,” Ouda said.