a sport that helps fight violence against women

Since Strasbourg is full of secret, unusual and exciting sports, Pokaa continues his series of discoveries of unknown sports in Strasbourg. Today let’s discover body karate, a sport that combines cardio, karate moves and good music. But it is also gradually falling within the framework of the fight against violence against women.

Karate saw renewed interest after the Tokyo Games in 2021. With Steven Da Costa’s gold medal in – 67kg, tatami mats and kimonos have returned to the French media space. However, in addition to karate, other practices derived from this sport are developing. And in Strasbourg, it is especially Laurence Belrhiti, who introduces Strasbourg women and men to a sport that is still little known: the karate bodysuit

At first glance, the young woman has an impressive resume: karate teacher since she was 15, she is now national representative of body karate, six-time champion of the discipline, but also bronze medalist at the 2010 World Cup, the year of her baccalaureate† It must be said that karate at the Belrhiti is a family affair. † This is my mother, Catherine Belrhiti – double European and world karate champion, editor’s note – who created the karate bodysuit in the 2000s the young woman explains. So after the mother, it is the daughter who enters the tatami and takes over to develop body karate.

Laurence Belrhiti, in city clothes
Laurence Belrhiti. © Nicolas Kaspar/Pokaa

A desire to develop the female martial arts practice

His role? † Feminine the world of martial arts and fight against violence against women Indeed, if body karate is for all Strasbourg women and men, there is above all a desire to develop the practice of women† The practice was pushed by the French Karate Federation, which wanted more women to practice martial arts. Thus, it differs from its original sport by an absence of combat and contact.† More concrete: ” Body karate is just karate to music† We perform series of gestures that exist in karate, performed to the rhythm of music, in a choreography

Nevertheless, all the advantages of the martial art itself are preserved. The young woman develops: The main thing is to try to develop an attitude. It’s about confidence, holding on to a dangerous situation… In fact we have all the riches of the martial art, in its values “. A practice with many advantages: It’s okay if you’re anxious, stressed. It is a form of meditation, as a therapeutic activity. The fact of having goals, the values ​​of sport, the ambition, the confidence it develops… And then doing punches and kicks is like dispelling your troubles on the tatami… We feel calm (smiles)”.

A body karate lesson, led by Laurence Belhriti
© Laurence Belrhiti – Document submitted

A fun sport that gives confidence, for all women

Body karate is also a fun sport. No prior education requirements in martial arts are required at the entrance: ” We should not be afraid of the martial art aspect. It’s really cardio, it’s fun and accessible to everyone. It’s an original way to approach martial arts and self-defense Indeed, music plays an important role: Any woman can practice martial arts. The music will just teach her to believe it “explains Laurence Belrhiti. So the goal is above all to have fun and enjoy the atmosphere: ” We will come to the course, there will be a great atmosphere, music, there will be a kind of family. There are no level differences, everyone does the gestures at the same time, at their own pace† With music we can bring together women of all origins and morphologies

And these women will gradually gain confidence. Indeed, in music practitioners develop real karate gestures, as the young woman points out: ” People come first to sweat and they come out with real pure karate gestures It is therefore not very surprising to hear that, according to Laurence Belrhitiafter I started body karate, 3/4 of the practitioners then start a martial exercise† A testament to the confidence that martial arts values ​​can instill in its practitioners.

A sport that is part of the fight against violence against women

Finally, body karate has an important social component. As Laurence Belhriti taught, the practice is indeed part of the fight against violence against women. While the mind plays an important role in martial arts practice, body karate gives you a form of control over your body again† An effect the young woman has noticed on her students, whether they are 12 or 65 years old: ” I realized during my classes that eventually I women came to me and told me they felt stronger in their daily life† They develop automatisms that serve them in everyday life. It’s like taking revenge on what happened to us and taking back control of your life

Through stages, demonstrations at SIG or Racing, or its impact weekends,” sports and personal development workshops to help women build on their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses and achieve their goals », Laurence Belrhiti gradually began to incorporate his sport into a more social struggle. Always to give her students the impression of being strong in what they do: ” Every year we make a choreography, in connection with charity. The goal is to achieve this during the Women’s Day that I organize every year. Practitioners will thus realize that they will defend the cause of violence against women on stages with international visibility.† They will feel stronger and more confident

A demonstration of body karate at the 34th Martial Arts Festival in 2019, led by Laurence Belhriti
© Laurence Belrhiti – Document submitted

Courses available in and around Strasbourg

So if you are interested or interested, Laurence Belrhiti gives several lessons per week, in Strasbourg and the surrounding area. These are one hour lessons:

  • Tuesday at 7.30 pm in Lycée Kléber
  • Wednesdays at La Forge in Plobsheim, 6.30pm and one at 8pm.
  • Thursday in Geispolsheim rue de la porte basse at 6.30 pm.
  • Friday at La Strasbourgeoise, rue Jacques Kable, at 8 p.m.

You can come and try a class to see if you like it. And registrations are made at any time of the year. All other information is available at this address.

Body karate turns out to be more than a sport. By mixing the values ​​of martial arts with the playful side of sports with music, it becomes possible to reach a population that usually doesn’t believe they can practice martial arts. Moreover, its effect goes beyond simple sport, as it is part of the fight against violence against women. A good example of the values ​​that sport can propagate in society.