The noise of screams and the clash of spears has been felt in the mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan for four months. A group of children and young people from the semi-autonomous region have formed the Soran Ninja team, imitating the legendary Japanese mercenary warriors.
The fifty members, both men and women, practice the techniques attributed to the ninjas, a hodgepodge of stunts that include jumping over fire, combat tactics with spears and motivation through screaming.
“We want to be like our grandparents, who had to fight a lot in the mountains and hills of Kurdistan, and for the whole world to know us,” says Sherzad Muslih Ali, one of the young people from the Soran district of northern Iraq. , where the group is based. On his forehead he wears a black bandana with the word “ninja” on it.
The experience is a challenge for young women. One of them, Samian Elham, comments on learning the ninjutsu, the Japanese martial art of espionage and guerrillas: “It’s a very nice feeling, because we are trying to do something different.” He believes that by practicing it, prejudices overcome: “People say that the ninjutsu it is a very difficult sport for women; They say that we are weak and that we cannot practice it. So I’m trying to show everyone that we have potential, and that we are capable of having an athletic body to gain strength and defend ourselves. “
In addition to individual challenges, the group has set out to overcome a collective one: they want to compete in international championships. While that comes, they will have to overcome the harsh weather conditions, with extreme cold in winter and sweltering heat in summer, that they face while training outdoors.