What comes to mind when you think of nuns? Black and white robes and habits? Perhaps praying through the Rosary? How about… Kung Fu? These nuns in Kathmandu, Nepal, do just that.
These incredibly disciplined women of the Drukpa order practice a form of Buddhism that has been around for thousands of years. The Kung Fu, however, has been a recent addition to their spiritual practice.
There are over 800 nuns in the Drukpa order, each one of them incredibly focused on training and strengthening their minds and bodies. A typical day in the life of a Kung Fu nun starts at 3 a.m. They meditate, bicycle, and train for three hours.
The purpose of training these nuns how to fight? Peace and equality. Kung Fu emphasizes focus, discipline, bravery, and using your strength for the greater good of all mankind. The nuns take these skills and give back to the community in both big and small ways.
When an earthquake devastated Kathmandu in 2015, the nuns knew it was their call to action. They say their strength training through Kung Fu, as well as the focus and bravery it instilled in them, gave them the courage to clear out rubble and bring supplies to communities and villages that the government and NGO’s said were too dangerous.
The nuns of the Drukpa order also biked 14,000 miles across Nepal to protest human trafficking. They said they wanted to show everyone that if nuns can ride bicycles and practice Kung Fu, then girls can do anything.
“I learned that I can do anything a man can do. Kung Fu has trained me to be confident, strong, and happy. Helping others is my religion.”