Afghan girls start Wushu group, learn martial arts to fight prejudice

Image by People Daily, China via Facebook Page
  • A group of girls from Afghanistan started a Shaolin Wushu group
  • Girls practicing Wushu is rare in Afghanistan, as it is a country where women’s sport is severely restricted
  • Wushu is a sport developed from ancient Chinese Kung Fu martial arts, stretching and bending and slashing the air with bright swords

KABUL, Afghanistan – A group of girls from Afghanistan is making international headlines after photos showing them on different martial arts poses emerged online.

Girls practicing Wushu is rare in Afghanistan, as it is a country where women’s sport is severely restricted.

Wushu is a sport developed from ancient Chinese kung fu martial arts; stretching and bending and slashing the air with bright swords.

People’s Daily China mentioned in an article that 20-year-old Sima Azimi leads the Wushu practice session. Azimi reportedly started the Shaolin Wushu club in a part of Kabul that is home to the capital’s Hazara ethnic community.

Azimi said that Wushu teaches self-defense, but just as important, “it’s really effective for body and soul”. The Wushu teacher learned the sport in Iran, where she won a gold and bronze medal in the competition.

For a year now, she has been teaching Wushu in Kabul; thanks to the encouragement given by her father.

“I am working with Afghan girls to strengthen their abilities and I love to see Afghan girls improve the way other girls have improved in the world,” she said.

“My ambition is to see my students take part in international matches and win medals for their country,” Azimi added.

An article by Mohammad Aziz for Reuters said that martial arts is popular in Afghanistan; however, it is a notoriously hard country for women.

As women’s status in Afghanistan is different from other places, girls of the Shaolin Wushu club face regular harassment and a***e in addition to the normal dangers of life in Kabul.

“The biggest challenge we faced is insecurity. Most of the time, we can’t go to the club due to insecurity,” said 18-year-old Zahra Timori.

Shakila Muradi, a friend of Timori and fellow member of the club, said she hopes that the sport could help create a more peaceful climate in Afghanistan in defiance of the daily reality the girls face.

“There are many people harassing us but we ignore them and follow our goals,” she said.

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