It might strike many as surprising to see a woman practicing martial arts with a dagger, sword, or other deadly weapons which only feature in martial arts movies. However, a number of girls in Tehran have good reasons to lead a Ninja-style life. The 150th issue of Tandorosti (Health) Monthly, out on 22 June, ran an interesting report about them.
Ninja Girls in Tehran
They are not used to sitting at desks, doing grunt work – far from it. They are much more adventurous. To them, life minus excitement is meaningless; they exude energy and that’s why they are Ninjas. In this edition of the magazine, we paid a visit to a female Ninja training center and spent an hour or so watching them in awe. If you are curious to find out more about how these apparent alien beings live and what they pursue, do not miss out on this report.
Tina Roshani is the vice president of Female Ninja Committee. She is 37 years old and has been practicing this martial arts style for 12 years. She is one of the most experienced female Ninjas. No doubt, she is a daredevil to whom fear and trepidation are totally alien. As for the Ninja style, she said, “Under the supervision of the federation, the Ninja Ranger Style, whose founder and president is Mr. Khanjari, issues work permits for training centers, including ours.”
We can perform any tough feat. We can climb up a wall, or we can jump over a wall in a flash.
[…] Speaking with enthusiasm about acrobatic and endurance feats performed by Ninjas, she went on to say: “We can perform any tough feat. We can climb up a wall, or we can jump over a wall in a flash. You might not believe, but in fact that is the way Ninjas are. We have borrowed different moves from different martial arts styles and integrated them all into one. In other words, we’ve picked the best and most thrilling moves and tried to combine them. For example, some maneuvers of wushu, kickboxing and at times karate can be seen in our style.” Ninjas learn a series of martial arts moves to perform in the right place, at the right time.
[…] “Anyone who wants to stand out can choose to become a Ninja. Those who have a thing for adventure and are physically capable of handling tough training, performing feats, and being competitive can take up this sport. Of course, they should not have any health-related problems. When someone meets all these requirements, all she needs to do is to get the phone number of Ninja Style Committee from the Martial Arts Federation and contact the office. They must also know that to become a Ninja, they need to have a fighting spirit and they must not be a defeatist who gets tired of training,” she said.
[…] She said that her students are different from their peers anywhere in the world and the very difference attracts them to this style of martial arts. She further said, “Who do you think may opt for this style? They are mostly girls who have a high level of self-confidence and want to defend themselves. You might not believe it but it has been about two years since families have started showing willingness for their little daughters to go for this style. A few years ago, a girl’s expression of interest in doing martial arts would meet with her family’s disapproval. ‘You are not a boy to want to become a Ninja, are you?’ was the initial response any girl with an interest in this sport would draw. Most parents used to stop their daughters from opting for it, fearing it would cause physical harm to them or have a negative effect on their beauty. Those concerns came despite the fact that the safety of trainees is of great importance in this sport, and efforts are always made to keep the likelihood of injury to a minimum. Fortunately, families have recently stopped opposing the choice of their girls and are themselves keen on signing up their daughters in our training centers. When asked about the reason why they are interested in seeing their daughters become Ninjas, families say they prefer their daughters to learn self-defense techniques.”
What are they supposed to do?
Assuming one becomes a Ninja, is granted a black belt and shows a great deal of courage in self-defense, what is she supposed to do then? Will she view it just as a sport for the rest of her life or the story is different and Ninjas are involved in other activities?
We are invited to train female police officers in military academies.
Speaking with excitement about the Ninjas activities, Tina Roshani said, “We are invited to train female police officers in military academies. Also, some of us can work on cinematic projects either in front of the camera or behind the scenes. At times, we perform dangerous stunts instead of actors, or we give them training. Plus some TV stuntmen come to us, asking us to perform alongside them. Aside from all these exciting activities, we are active within and beyond the borders of Iran. Among other places, we have offices in Afghanistan and Germany. We hold competitions at provincial and national levels. […] When looked from a different angle, Ninjas are just like their non-Ninja peers. They cook, take care of their children and do their housework. The only difference is that they do their chores more quickly.”
A woman with no previous experience in martial arts needs five years as well as perseverance to become a Ninja.
Tina Roshani is now training Ninja coaches. As for long training sessions, she said, “Women who have never done any martial arts should start practicing from lower levels. At the end of each course, a test is given. If judges are convinced of the beginner Ninja’s progress, a belt is awarded and she moves up to an upper level. It takes a woman with no experience as long as five years to become a Ninja. However, the story is different for those who have done other martial arts. Athletes who enjoy strong physical stamina can get their black belts in less than five years. Since they are already familiar with some moves, they find it much easier to get a black belt. In short, athletes who have belts in martial arts need three years to get a black belt in this style.”