The Kung Fu Nuns and Self Defense

Namaste !Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text A Mighty Girl

The Kung Fu Nuns are fighting back against the rise in sexual assaults in India by training women in self defense! The Buddhist nuns, who live in a monastery in the Indian Himalayas near Tibet, have trained in martial arts for years and are now using their expertise to empower women in their community. The nuns just completed their first-ever women’s self-defense workshop for 100 young women which aimed to build their confidence, raise their awareness of sexual assault prevention, and teach them practical self-defense skills. “Most people think nuns just sit and pray, but we do more,” says 19-year-old Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo, one of the nuns conducting the training. “If we act, people will think if: ‘If nuns can act, why can’t we?’” Adding that the nuns decided to start teaching women’s self-defense after hearing about the rising rates of sexual assault, Lhamo asserts: “Kung Fu will make them stronger and more confident.”

The Kung Fu Nuns first attracted global attention two years ago when they served as first responders after a devastating earthquake struck Nepal. As nuns of the Drukpa lineage, a thousand-year-old Buddhist tradition, the Kung Fu Nuns are committed to championing gender equality and helping the local community. Over the past several years, they have trekked and cycled thousands of miles through India and Nepal to raise awareness on issues ranging from human trafficking to pollution and sustainable living. Carrie Lee of Live To Love International, a charity which works with the nuns, says that “the Kung Fu Nuns are heroes of the Himalayas. They are fiercely compassionate and brave. Not even earthquakes, avalanches, monsoons and cloudbursts can stand in their way.”

In recent years, rape and sexual assault have become one of the biggest threats facing women in India: the country’s National Crime Records Bureau says that reports of rape increased by 43% between 2011 and 2015. After learning of this growing crisis, the Kung Fu Nuns decided to get involved. “We thought we must share what we know with others,” says 28-year-old nun Jigme Yeshe Lhamo. By all accounts, their first women’s self-defense workshop was a tremendous success. One of the participants in the intensive five-day training, 23-year-old Tsering Yangchen, spoke about its impact on her: “I am often uncomfortable going to the market as there are boys standing around looking, whistling and cat-calling. I was always hesitant to say anything but now I feel much more confident to speak out and even protect myself if I have to.” And, she encourages other women to seek out similar training, asserting, “It’s been tough and my whole body is aching but the nuns were very inspiring. All girls should learn Kung Fu.”

To read more about the Kung Fu Nuns on Reuters, visit – or check out their website at

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
This entry was posted in India, Travel, Uncategorized, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Kung Fu Nuns and Self Defense

  1. This is great. A Mighty Girl is one of my favorite websites. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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