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We Live to Fight

In Bangladesh, people practice different forms of martial arts, including the traditional forms known as “Bangladeshi martial arts”. Initially, during the British period, various Bangladeshi martial arts were originated for the need to protect villagers from Zamindars (landowners), who used to send lathial groups to collect taxes from villagers forcibly. The official journey began after the liberation by founding the Bangladesh Judo and Karate Federation in 1972 and the Bangladesh Martial Art Confederation in 1997.

Many martial arts clubs provide basic self-defence training to children and girls against sexual harassment in public places. Many children learn martial arts as a form of entertainment. Many male and female martial artists work in the film and drama industries and promote martial arts in TV films. Some indigenous communities in Bangladesh also practice different martial arts separately. However, despite the international records, many players and even the clubs often suffer from poor financial conditions due to the lack of funding. Also, considered an underground sport, they don’t get enough attention from the media either.​

“We Live to Fight” is an ongoing project that explores the underlying cultures, lifestyles, emotions, history, personal stories, politics, and underground fighting scenarios of different martial arts communities in Bangladesh.

This project was one of the finalists in The W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund for Student Photographers 2021 and recipient of The Alexia Student Grant 2023. This is an ongoing project and on this page, I have uploaded a short edit of this ongoing project.

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