Rameesha Shahid - Breaking The Norms

  • 22 Dec - 28 Dec, 2018
  • Eman Saleem
  • Interview

“Larkiyan larkon walay shauq rakhte huwe achi nahi lagtin”

How many times this very phrase is thrown at most women? In a society where the norms of existence has a code of conduct on how women should behave; breaking these shackles is Rameesha Shahid, Karachi’s first and only certified kickboxing trainer.

When you first started training as the only girl in the session, how many boys did you train with?

The room would be filled with men of all ages and size.

Traditionally, in Pakistan a career choice in the field of fitness is labeled masculine. What would you say about this?

It’s never really bothered me. Stereotypes have to be broken. I feel a special connection with kickboxing that keeps me going back for more.

The most annoying thing you are asked or told when you introduce yourself as a Kickboxing trainer, since it is such an unheard career choice?

I am often told that people feel intimated by me. But that’s funny. I am happy they do [laughs].

Do you think there is a scope for women who choose kickboxing training as a career in Pakistan?

Things are changing and stereotypes need to be broken. Pakistani women are making a mark in so many areas. We now see female bikers, mountaineers, musicians, pilots, aircraft engineers etc. There is nothing our girls cannot do.

Do you ever see yourself competing in a national or international championship?

Why not? Athletes of any other sport besides cricket, are given relatively lesser opportunities in our country, otherwise this would have already been accomplished.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were harassed and didn’t have the skill to defend yourself?

I have been playing sports since I was in school, and that has taught me valuable lessons and life skills, but I do feel there were few situations that could have been handled much more confidently.

You did an ad for Maria B. and got interviewed by multiple publications. Do you enjoy a stardom? Any story that you like to share with us?

Not a specific story, but I feel so grateful that at occasions, I get the chance to interact with and meet Pakistan’s finest women who are making moves and showing their true power.

Is your family supportive of your ambitions and choices?

My family has always been supportive and I’m really happy for that because that’s all that matters to me.

What are your long-term goals? What’s next for you?

My goals are to give back to sports and help aspiring boys and girls with the experiences that taught me so much. I am already on the road of achieving it, since I train more than 30 girls every day, but this is just the beginning, I wish to take it to a national level.

Is there any thing you need at the moment, career-wise?

I feel I need more international exposure. In fact our sports, our fitness industry both need improvements in creating opportunities to interact, train and compete with international fighters, coaches, training clubs. This would help us grow as athletes and coaches.

Do you have a mantra that keeps you going?

Don't be afraid of breaking stereotypes. Boundaries only hold back those who let them. Do what excites you without having to explain yourself.

How would an amateur, beginner in the field of fitness and possibly in their late 20s try their hand at kickboxing?

The best and safest way to start Kickboxing, at any age, is to join a professional club.

When would you say is the right age to start training?

The earlier age kids learn about physical fitness and being active the better!

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Making a positive difference in my country by achieving and practicing what no other female Pakistani has ever done before is an accomplishment for me.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?

I wish in the future, sports in general becomes a norm for everyone in our country that girls and boys play their hearts out, complete internationally, become champions and win titles for Pakistan. And I hope I play a BIG role in helping navigate that journey.

Your proudest moment?

Being personally invited by Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari to an exclusive meeting at Bilawal House. She praised me for my services in sports and that is something that I am very proud of. Later, I was also presented with a Laurels of Honor Award by Punjab Governor, Malik Rafique Rajwana.

One word that describes you?

Fighter. •