Kuwaiti girls use martial arts to counter bullies and violence
Basics of self-defence
In a small hall in Kuwait City, women and girls in black uniforms gather to learn the basics of self-defence.
Practice makes perfect
The sport's name was derived from the various forms of martial arts it includes: karate (KA), judo and jujitsu (JU), kenpo (KEN) and boxing (BO).
Each form teaches techniques that can be used to fend off an attack, says Hasnawi, 33, who stands in class alongside her 12-year-old daughter and other girls.
"I initially wanted to explore this sport, but I continued to practise it to be able to defend myself," she said.
Transforming through the sport
But she says Riham has "changed a lot" since they started practising kajukenbo, gaining patience and strength through the sport.
"She has transformed. At school, she used to get really angry and quickly agitated if someone would say something to her," Hasnawi says.
"Now, it's something normal that she can (healthily) deal with."
Violence against women
A 2010 study found that a woman is assaulted a day in Kuwait, according to Ghada al-Ghanem, of the Women's Cultural and Social Society (WCSS).
The WCSS, whose goal is to help and encourage women's participation in the Kuwaiti community, has dealt with a number of assault cases and Ghanem believes the actual figure may be higher.
Hung on the red and black walls of the Street Warrior Academy is a poster of two men practising the sport.
"Kajukenbo teaches your child the methods and arts of self-defence," it reads, complimenting the mottos of "strength and honour" and "street warrior" on the backs of the girls' uniforms.
Learning the tricks
The girls then pair up to take what they have learnt and put it into practise.
In another instance, the instructor's son mimics an attack with a wooden knife on one of the more experienced pupils, who wears a black belt.
Already familiar with the exercise, the student explains: "I pretend that I have surrendered... and then I grab his hand on my neck, push it down and move it away."
Helping them in many ways
Some 40 men and boys also currently take part in kajukenbo classes at the club on different days from the women.
For Um Saleh, the sport has helped her twin 13-year-old daughters become more independent and decisive.
"It gave them something to focus on other than social media," she says.
Ready for real-life situations
As part of the training, he presents his students with different scenarios, including assaults and knife attacks.
"We focus on self-defence skills and place the girls in conditions similar to those on the street so we can build their self-confidence and teach them exactly when and where to expect the hit," Gharib says.
A safe haven
It is one of dozens of similar clubs and academies that have opened in Kuwait as kajukenbo gains popularity. Although in the rest of the Gulf, the sport remains relatively unknown.
"Being a (victim) of assault, whether in school or on the street, is what pushed some of these girls and women to pursue the sport," says Fai al-Fahed, one of the instructors.
"Ultimately, girls are embracing this kind of martial art and we see it boosting their self-confidence."