Wushu: Empowering Women in Afghanistan

Kung Fu is empowering a group of women in Afghanistan who hope to represent the country at an international level. 10 ethnic Hazara women and girls are practicing “wushu” kung fu on a hilltop in the west of Kabul. They are preparing for the day that Afghanistan can send its women’s wushu team to an international tournament – while women’s sports teams are allowed to represent the country, they suffer a chronic shortage of funding.

Sima Azimi, a 20-year-old from Jaghori in central Afghanistan, is undeterred, however. The skills she is equipping her nine students with will also serve them on the streets of Kabul where women are routinely harassed. Being a trainer of Wushu, Azimi hopes to watch her students compete in international matches, challenging stereotypes that affect Afghan women both at home and abroad. However, due to the perpetual lack of funding relegated to women’s sports, such an achievement will not come easily.

She learned the sport in Iran, where she won a gold and bronze medal in competition, and she has been teaching in Kabul for about a year, encouraged by her father, with whom she trains at the club’s gym.

Despite the great obstacles both Azimi and her students face, the teacher remains resolute in her convictions. Sima wants to help the girls of country in order to improve their skills, so they can be the same as girls in other countries.

Even, the martial arts performers also paid visit to China’s Shaolin Temple in Henan province few months ago. The nine-member Afghan team visited the temple which is considered the cradle of the Chinese martial arts. They experienced authentic Chinese Kung Fu.


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