Female ninja fighters dressed in black, their faces covered by masks-- with only their dusky eyes visible — dash into a studio in the suburbs of Tehran to train.
Akbar Faraji, a ninja master of 23 years has set up a school to train lethal warriors or ninjas with a difference.
Some 3,000 women, aged between five to 56, are trained using traditional Japanese martial arts techniques, such as the ax kick, forward punch, and using swords to fight each other.
These ninja women cannot only kick and fight but can also walk up a straight wall.
“What is important to me, as an Iranian and as a teacher, is that I have to do this job so we train women to have strength and ability. We have to do everything (in our power) to protect our homeland,” said Faraji.
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and Tehran’s strained ties with arch-enemy Israel, the Islamic republic has been preparing deadly warriors to protect its borders.
“What we’re seeing in the world of fitness and sports is the opportunity to receive training which increases our self-defense abilities and strengthens our bodies, so we are ready to defend our lives and assets,” said 28 year-old ninjutsu Raheleh Davoudzadeh.
“Our aim is for Iranian women to be strengthened and if a problem arises, we will definitely declare our readiness to defend our Islamic homeland,” said another fighter, who has been training for over 13 years.
Many of these women also train alongside their husbands in their homes with great discipline.