In a tiny neighborhood in a small Kenyan city, 20 elderly women meet in a hot room every week.
Surrounded by punching bags and like-minded participants, these women are all there to accomplish one mission:
Instead of letting rape and hyper-masculinity run rampant in their neighborhood, elderly women in Kenya are learning the art of kung fu as a tool to fight back.
The plan is simple. Women ages 60-85 gather in a small room in Korogocho, a disadvantaged neighborhood outside Nairobi. With only a plastic cover to protect them from the sun, the woman take turns practicing self-defense on a punching bag, encouraging each other along the way.
“You don’t need to hit hard to be accurate,” Sheila Kariuki, the 29-year-old teacher leader of the group, told The Telegraph. “Accuracy is the key to the technique.”
Kariuki spends the class demonstrating the vulnerable points on a male body, such as the collarbone, nose, and genitalia. The women are taught techniques such as yelling instead of screaming to maintain a sense of control and not worrying about how much force a blow to the rapist’s body has, but rather making sure they get a proper punch to the body.
“Our program does make a difference. We have testimonies of old women now able to defend themselves using verbal or physical techniques,” Kariuki told The Telegraph.
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