Who We Are: Shafiqah Ilyana

Not Just a Martial Art, a Way of Life

Speech Language Therapist, White Belt

I am a recent graduate of the University of Canterbury. Growing up, I have always been interested in martial arts but since I moved to New Zealand, I never had the chance to train. Thus, I decided that I wanted to do martial arts again and after doing some research, I was fascinated by BJJ’s principles and its techniques.

However, since I am also a Muslim woman, I am not allowed to physically touch men so training with men is a big no-no for me which is why I kept putting the idea off. However, after finding out about the women’s only class at Axis, I gathered all the confidence I had and went to Axis without knowing what to expect. Since then, I have trained with Axis on and off for the past 1.5 years. Since I started training with them, I felt more comfortable and more confident to travel around on my own.

Luna and the girls are just fantastic. They are so welcoming and supportive. As an introvert, I do find it a little bit hard to engage myself in a new environment, but I felt right in place since day one. Other trainers are also as fantastic and understanding of my inability to train with men. The environment is so nurturing and fun that I found myself coming back to the gym. Plus, BJJ is a great form of exercise. I have shed a few kilos since I started.