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Kung Fu nuns strike back at rising sex attacks on women in India

Kung Fu nuns strike back at rising sex attacks on women in India

by Nita Bhall and Cormac O'Brien

Meet the Kung Fu nuns - women from an age-old Buddhist sect who are using their martial arts expertise to challenge gender roles in this conservative culture and teach women self-defence, as reports of rapes rise in India.

Unlike other nuns, their chants and prayers are followed by jabs and thrust kicks. Between meditation sessions, they attend gender equality lessons. Even their traditional maroon robes are periodically swapped for martial arts attire, with black belts.

"Most people think nuns just sit and pray, but we do more," said 19-year-old Jigme Wangchuk Lhamo, one of the Kung Fu trainers, as she rested after an intense two-hour session in Hemis village, 40 km (25 miles) from the northern city of Leh.

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