2019-01-30 16:31:00

"“We’ve been doing karate. We do the training one day per week. The exercises get more difficult according to level. We’ve finished three levels now," said student Zhino Atta.

It's a mixed-gender activity for youth in the Kurdistan Region.

"We ask for all the girls of our age to join. It’s very interesting. Our parents would not prevent us from doing it. They support and help us. Our instructors are also very kind," she added.

The martial art requires a strong body so they choose to train in cold weather.

“The important exercises we should do are strengthening our punches and kicks. We practice other exercises too," student Huda Saman said.

Dana Osman is the group's instructor.

"We will attend three championships in the cities of Ahvaz, Ramsar, and Fars in Iran. Financially we were unable to take our students outside the country to take part in championships. If we’re supported by the authorities, we can participate in all international championships," he said.

This institution was first established in 2012. It has 70 students now.

“Children are very happy as they are doing this sport. We thank our instructors because they taught us this art. We hope they stay with us until we learn it completely," said Mohammed Amin.

Kurds have a rich history in martial arts. Taekwondo gyms can be found throughout Kurdistan. Wrestling is particularly popular in Rojhelat, or Iranian Kurdistan.

The rise in global popularity of mixed martial arts has given a platform for many Kurds to showcase their talents internationally.

Reporting by Amal Naji