The Kung Fu Nuns of Nepal

KALABARI VILLAGE, NEPAL - MAY 2, 2015 - Jigme Wangchuk, 17 (on the left), and Jigme Konchok, 21 (on the right) are two of the "kung fu nuns of Kathmandu", from the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery, which is a unique example of gender reversal in a rarefied world of monasteries . The kung fu nuns are using their energy for providing relief to those devastated by the deadly earthquake that hit Nepal a week ago. In this picture, the two nuns are striking a kung fu pose from their practice session. (Pradeep Bashyal for The Washington Post)

The women at Nepal’s Druk Gawa Khilwa nunnery are not your average Buddhist nuns. They are trained in Shaolin kung fu. In the thoroughly male-dominated world of kung fu that makes them something of a rarity. The sisters train for two hours every day on a variety of forms, using staffs, fans, and of course their own hands.

After Nepal’s devastating earthquake earlier this year, the nuns sprang into action. Refusing offers of evacuation, they helped by clearing away rubble and offering medical assistance and shelter to those in need. Just goes to show the type of culture that martial arts training can cultivate.