By Sonia Ahmed  |  18 August 2020   

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been making news for opening its borders for recreational tourism. Until 2018, it issued visas only for pilgrimages, business matters, sports events, and foreign employees, but the country’s stance is changing.

Bedouin lifestyle | Fighting Arts Health Lab

In 2019, the country issued over 24,000 tourist visas in only 10 days. This culturally and geographically rich land has deep-rooted traditions and authentic Muslim heritage. You can still experience the authentic Bedouin lifestyle with a hundred-year-old history in Saudi Arabia in its deserts.

The country is witnessing a growing interest in martial arts amid the neighboring Fight Island[1] in UAE and the Arena Club, with its headquarters in Jeddah.

Jeddah - A Vibrant and Sparkling City

The coastal city of Jeddah is the second-largest city of Saudi Arabia. It’s also called the bride of the Red Sea and home to the world’s tallest fountain, the King Fahad’s fountain, also known as Jeddah Fountain in Jeddah Corniche. Located on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, the fountain jets water to a maximum height of 312 m (1,024 ft) above the Red Sea. 

Saudi King Fahad Fountain | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Arena Club headquarters in Al Nahda isn’t far away from Corniche, a 30km Red Sea Coastline and tourist hotspot. It’s an open-air museum of modern sculpture. You can swim in the clear Red Sea waters and enjoy your time on the pristine beaches. 

At Fakieh Aquarium, you can watch the beautiful marine species of the Red Sea. There are more than 200 unique species visible from the acrylic underwater tunnel swimming and floating around you. Imagine yourself in the Jaws movie scene with sharks charging toward you from behind the wall!

Up north, a luxury yacht experience in the Red Sea awaits you hardly 20 minutes’ drive away from your Arena gym. Take a yacht to the neighboring cities or various uninhabited islands nearby. And, while you’re at it, don’t miss the Red Sea Resort located the confluence of shores and the Red Sea coral reefs. 

For an unforgettable experience of the Red Sea, you must plan a trip to the Umluj islands, also known as the Saudi Maldives. Since it’s a migratory path for fish and birds, you can see colorful fish and even dolphins in these clear waters.

Saudi Al Bahad MMA | Fighting Arts Health Lab

To get a glimpse of the historical Jeddah city, visit the archaeological site of Al Balad, an ancient town in Jeddah. It’s famous for its distinctive gates and narrow streets. Here you can experience the past Arab culture, small antique markets called souqs, and many historical mosques.

The best thing about this town is it's simple, generous, and friendly residents who still live in mud houses.

Rise of Women Martial Arts in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is home to many young martial artists, and the country has seen immense progress in MMA and other combat sports. The passionate and courageous Saudi youth is all set to revolutionize the country’s future.

Contrary to popular belief, Saudi women don’t hide behind their veils. Women in Jeddah enjoy the freedom of practicing martial arts and have successfully represented their country in international tournaments.

The first-ever women’s martial arts tournament was organized in Jeddah, with more than 40 women participants showcasing their BJJ and kickboxing skills. Today, most of the MMA gyms operating in Saudi Arabia are located in Jeddah. 

Saudi 1st Womens MMA tournament | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Two female sports enthusiasts, the Taekwondo champion Amira Al-Agha and MMA champion Zahra Al-Qurashi, won the country's first two gold medals in Jordan.

The Commendable Efforts of Arena Group

Observing the youth’s interest in martial arts, Arena Group coordinates with the state to promote the country as young martial artists’ land.

The Arena Fitness Club opened in 2014, and you can visit its branches in Riyadh and Jeddah.

According to Hussein Madi, the manager of Arena Group, all the instructors and trainers at Arena are world champions in BJJ, kickboxing, and wrestling. They are teaching under the management of Ricardo Liborio, the famous BJJ practitioner, 6th-degree black belt champion.

The Arena Group is affiliated to American Top Team (ATT), and Martial Arts Nation founded and headed by Ricardo Liborio himself.

Arena Fitness Jeddah | Fighting Arts Health Lab

If you’re in Jeddah, you have a fantastic opportunity to brush up your fighting art skills while enjoying the Red Sea in your backyard.

Although mixed training isn’t allowed, women can train in Arena by enrolling in their women-only program. You can do weightlifting, cardio, gymnastics (GCM), Bootcamp, yoga, etc. under professional women trainers’ supervision.

Saudi Arabia is an exciting and unplundered tourist destination, and eVisa service makes all the arrangements effortless. In the wake of Vision 2030, visiting Saudia Arabia is safe for all ethnicities and genders as long as you abide by the laws and respect their traditions. Primary image courtesy of H1N1 via Shutterstock.com.

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About the author

Sonia is a holistic health and fitness writer who believes that we cannot lead a happy and fulfilling life unless we treat ourselves and the environment with equal care. Being a mum and a full-time professional writer, she knows how everything else takes a back seat when duties call. As a professional writer, she considers it her duty to inspire, motivate, and educate people about the miracles of a healthy and fit lifestyle, one that's in sync with the environment.

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