Woman Among Men – Anita Karim, Pakistan’s first and only female martial arts player

In a conservative society like Pakistan, where women are seen as the vulnerable gender and mixed martial arts (MMA)  is not even a far option on the preferred career options’ list – Anita Karim is shattering all stereotypes. She started practising taekwondo* at an early age in Hunza with her brothers.

taekwondo* : Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques

Anita did not have any female companion to train with her or a female trainer to train her. So she trained with her brother and male practitioners of martial arts under the supervision of Ehtisham Karim, a well-known trainer. When she came to Islamabad from Hunza, she was given the choice to choose between higher studies and pursuing martial arts as a career option. She chose the later, of course.

“It was all about experience, they were not differently trained” – said Anita, strong and hopeful, after losing a fight to an experienced Kiwi fighter when she was in her initial phase of career.

“The jabs, the crosses and the kicks are all the same, it is just about implementing them. I have to focus a bit more on these things” – she added speaking to a local news source. 

Despite being the only woman in the gym, she is always distinguished and gives her male counterparts a pretty tough time during the fights. Her trainer says that before getting her in MMA formally, she was made to go through training to a few days she knows how does it feel to get ‘punched’ in the face.
Anita says she wanted to change the image the women hold and break the stereotypical thinking that they are any less strengthful.

“I wanted to prove that girls can do anything, that they are not delicate or too sensitive, and it is only a perception that they are weaker. It is actually what society has fed us.” – she says.

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