Some young Algerian girls are going to a class very few of their mothers would or could have considered. Five times a week, they train Mixed Martial Arts worldly known as MMA.
This blend of combat sports and martial arts recently gained practitioners in Algeria. The country only recently, in 2019, joined the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation.
In a club located in the northwestern city of Tlemcen, Mohammed is proud to infuse a change of mindset. "Society's view on women in martial arts is changing. In the past, it was difficult for women to practice this sport. Society and families were afraid of it. But now it is good, they practice this sport like any other, there is acceptance by society and families. Now women can practice this sport without difficulty and the government also encourages women's sports.", says Mohammed Zahraoui who trains 70 girls.
With MMA, they learn different fighting styles and techniques which could allow them to fight back in case of aggression. "We entered this sport for self-defence, to avoid street problems and assaults. Society seems to believe women are weak, explains Madjnoun Wafaa, a participant._ But after I started this sport, I loved it. To develop myself in this sport and to participate in championships"._
This practice could help to diminish violence against women in a country where according to the National public service institute a woman in ten is beaten six times a day.