RAFAT SHAWE Karate gold medal­ist, kick­box­ing coach and pro­fes­sional MMA fighter from Iraq What you need to do to stay safe:

Learn how to throw a proper punch and use your el­bows to strike at your op­po­nent’s weaker ar­eas. If you don’t know how to do it prop­erly, you could end up hurt­ing your­self in the process

WKND - - Safety First -

Think karate and kick­box­ing, and self­de­fence may not be the first thing that pops into your mind. But Rafat Shawe, who has been in­volved with Mixed Mar­tial Arts ( MMA) for close to 20 years now, has a dif­fer­ent opin­ion.

“I’ve been trained in a va­ri­ety of mar­tial arts from judo and jiu jitsu to com­bat sports such as box­ing and kick­box­ing, and what peo­ple need to know is that ev­ery mar­tial art gives you train­ing in self- de­fence. For ex­am­ple, the minute you learn how to throw a punch, you are a bit more equipped to pro­tect your­self.”

Rafat cur­rently teaches pro­fes­sional fight­ers as well as those who are just get­ting started, and while many of his stu­dents want to learn to fight to com­pete pro­fes­sion­ally, there are also those who want to know to de­fend them­selves, while also stay­ing in shape. How­ever, it is im­por­tant to note that while all mar­tial arts give you train­ing in self- de­fence, one does not need to be a pro­fes­sional to learn how to pro­tect one­self. It is also im­por­tant to pick the right art.

“Kick­box­ing is a great com­bat sport for any­one who wants to learn the art of self­de­fence when it comes to street fights,” says Rafat. “This is be­cause it is a stand up sport and usu­ally the fight starts when you’re stand­ing up. More­over, it uses block­ing tech­niques against the op­po­nent. On the other hand, tak­ing up an­other dis­ci­pline, like Brazil­ian jiu jitsu, will en­hance kick­box­ing as it fo­cuses on grap­pling and ground fight­ing. This will come in handy be­cause one should know what to do if the fight has you on the ground. I would rec­om­mend tak­ing a ses­sion in kick­box­ing, fol­lowed by a ses­sion in Brazil­ian jiu jitsu. You will be amazed by how one dis­ci­pline com­ple­ments the other.”

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