Monday, February 6, 2017

Simi Azimi - Shaolin Wushu Club director

Look at this sword-wielding badass woman!

That's Simi Azimi, leader of the Shaolin Wushu club in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she's teaching 9 other young women and girls the ancient Chinese kung fu martial art.

"I like to help girls in my country in order to improve their skills, so they can be the same as girls in other countries. Also, I want to help bring an end to violence against women in Afghanistan." Sima Azimi

Simi Azimi is only 20 years old, but she's already an award winning kung fu athlete. She trained in Iran for several years, but returned to Kabul to share her skills in the hopes of building support for a national team to participate in the Olympics. Martial arts are quite popular in Afghanistan, but only for men. Women's participation in sports in extremely limited, and especially for contact sports like kung fu. But Simi is hoping to change that.

Her father encouraged her to study martial arts when she was younger and the family was living in Iran. While in Iran she participated in competitions, winning a gold and bronze medal. Now, back in Kabul, he helps her continue her training. She uses her experience to encourage parents to allow their daughters to take lessons in kung fu for self-defense: once a thief grabbed her purse, but Simi fought back and ran him off.

But she also recommends martial arts for the mental and emotional benefits. "It's really effective for body and soul." And for the confidence that comes along with both the strength and mental training. Her students are mostly Hazara, a Persian-speaking minority in Kabul, but she's hoping to expand her class to include more girls from other ethnic groups.

It might be a tough goal to accomplish. Her students have to deal with increased abuse and taunts for breaking the social restrictions limiting activities for women, as well as the increasing dangers they face as a Shi'ite minority targeted by the Islamic State militants. But student Shakila Muradi says they aren't going to be deterred. "There are many people harassing us but we ignore them and follow our goals."

Read more about the Shaolin Wushu club.

See more beautiful photos by Mohammad Ismail featuring the Shaolin Wushu club.

I can't do the work of SRPS without your your support!
If you like what you read, please share this post with your friends.


Post a Comment