Asif Sabah was born in Zaraq, Jordan, in 1969. The Jordanian native took up Taekwondo at the age of 19 and started teaching the martial art in 2002. Asif is also a trained taekwondo first level referee and possesses vast knowledge on techniques and rules. He has been working at THF’s Azraq Academy since it first opened in April 2016.
Before working with THF, Asif managed his own taekwondo training centre in the village of Azraq, near the refugee camp. During that time, he took in a couple of Syrian refugees who wanted to participate in training sessions. Seeing the impact taekwondo had on these individuals filled him with joy and is the main reason why he joined THF’s cause.
“My main motivation is simply giving these children something that will give them the chance to see life better, something that will bring them back some of the hope they’ve lost”, he says. “Sport can make their life better; it can refine their personalities, and give them something to hang on to.”
Obviously at first it was challenging for Asif to adapt to such a work environment, with the coach stating that: “these kids have been through a lot, and dealing with them isn’t always smooth and easy”. However, Asif considers his work extremely rewarding: “I am really touched by how fast their psychology, and their emotional state can change”.
During his time at THF Azraq academy, coach Asif has built a very strong relationship with his students, explaining that “it’s a relationship based on love and respect, it’s much bigger than a coach with his students, I’m very fortunate that they look up to me, on the other hand, I am learning a lot from them every day”. Asif is a strong believer in the values of discipline, respect, responsibility of action, and order which he conveys to his students during every training session.
Coach Asif also believes strongly in sport as a way of helping refugees: “taekwondo will raise and improve the self-confidence of these children, directing their attention in towards something useful and benefitting them in many ways”.
Asif hopes to continue working with refugees for a long time, providing them with long-term benefits and opportunities: “I hope that one day I can help my students gain taekwondo professionalism and grant them the opportunity to travel and participate in taekwondo championships all around the world”.
Learn more about THF’s Azraq academy here.