Meet Iran’s Deadly Lady Ninjas Defying Stereotypes and Gravity
Women in Saudi Arabia can’t drive or even leave the house without a male guardian. Meanwhile in Iran, thousands of women are training to be deadly fighting machines. Meet Iran’s Kunoichi: lady ninjas that can ‘slice the neck of a rival without making a sound’.
Despite what mainstream media would lead you to believe, the status of women in Iran is a far cry from that of Saudi Arabia. Women in Iran can drive and vote. They hold seats in parliament and make up about half of the labor force. Iranian women also dominate college entrance exams with the rate of enrollment steadily increasing since 1989. In fact Iran produces the world’s highest number of women with degrees in engineering, manufacturing, and construction– almost doubling that of the United States. How’s that for women in STEM fields?
And apparently some Iranian women also like to practice martial arts including the deadly and ancient form of Ninjutsu. Ninjutsu is a Japanese martial art form that historically has been used for guerrilla warfare and espionage– with roots dating back to the Genpei War in 1180.
About 4,000 lovely Iranian lady ninjas currently train at the Jughin castle just 25 miles outside of Tehran which opened in 1989. Here they practice and eventually master a variety of skillful tactics. The women learn to perform various acrobatics: climbing walls, mastering back flips, flexibility, hiding in mountains, and gravity-defying jumps. They also train in the desert where temperatures can reach almost 160 degrees.
The women become highly trained to master deadly weapons like chains, nun-chucks, swords, and shurikens (throwing stars). But maybe most importantly, these lady ninjas train in the traditional Ninjutsu mental practices as well such as respect, humility, and mind-body balance. After all, physical skills and training can only get you so far if your mind and body aren’t in sync.
‘They learn to respect themselves – first to respect their existence and then the art that they are mastering. Calmness is the most important lesson they learn,” says Sensei Akbar Faraji who opened the center 22 years ago. The practice is purely recreational–but very useful– so these lady ninjas aren’t joining the Revolutionary Guard. And despite their deadly skills, Faraji says he makes sure the ladies (or any students) will not use the training for evil. Or committing any home invasions: “I must be very sure that my students will not use the techniques of Ninjutsu to hurt anyone or sneak into someone else’s house.”
Iran's# Ninja# Woman# Iranian women perform they train Ninja# to be able to defend themselves pic.twitter.com/qFf0eKNpUA
— Fatemeh Bahrami (@fbahrami_aa) June 5, 2017