Quietly, Shaheen Academy has been inching its way to achieving its goals. It was recently announced that Irfan Ahmad, the captain of Team Shaheen will be making his professional debut at Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series. Another small but significant achievement for the small, under-funded gym in Charrar Pind, a slum area right in the middle of one of the Lahore’s wealthiest neighborhoods, Defense Housing Authority (DHA).
Irfan’s debut at ONE Warrior Series will be the first time that a member of Team Shaheen will be competing internationally in professional Mixed Martial Arts.
Shaheen’s mission is to provide youth with a roadmap for personal growth through sports and education. Shaheen was founded in 2015 by Bashir Ahmad, known as the “Godfather of Pakistani Mixed Martial Arts.” Shaheen was created with the vision to create “Good citizens of Pakistan” by instilling mental and physical training through the use of martial arts so that it’s members can apply those principals for success in all avenues in life. Alongside, martial arts training, members who show potential have their education sponsored, as well as opportunities to compete nationally and internationally.
Abu Bakr was the inspiration for Team Shaheen when he walked into a training session at Bashir Ahmad’s Synergy facility as a 10-year-old boy. He is now 16, has won championship titles in Pakistan, has been enrolled in an English medium school and has travelled to Singapore on an international trip with the intention to broaden his horizons and give him the experience to the world. All these things would never be expected from the son of the woman who was the cleaner at the gym.
Every year during Ramazan, Bashir Ahmad raises funds to keep Shaheen running for the following year. Martial Artists in Pakistan, and around the world, in particular Muslims are asked to contribute what they can to keep the facility going and growing so that one day the first generation of Team Shaheen members can grow up into educated adults and begin the cycle of teaching and grooming the next generation of Shaheen kids to be better versions of themselves and achieve things their parents may have never dreamed possible.