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3 Ways to Watch The Boxing Girls of Kabul Today

3 Ways to Watch The Boxing Girls of Kabul Today

3 Ways to Watch The Boxing Girls of Kabul Today

* The Boxing Girls of Kabul is now available in DVD and DTO (download to own) format. You may also rent it for 48 hours.

Of Afghanistan, we are much more used to seeing images like the ones that opens Ariel Nasr’s feature doc than the ones that follow.

It starts like this. In Kabul’s national stadium, 3 women in burqas are seated in the box of a pick-up truck. Soon, one of them is on the ground, being shot dead for all to see. The bleachers are full. The Taliban are doling out their cruel justice and entertainment.

But the film isn’t about these Pashtun tribesmen and their sharia law. It’s about the life that came after the Taliban’s bitter rule, and the fragile freedom of a group of women, who, against all odds, have picked up the very unlikely occupation of professional boxing.

In Kabul, in the selfsame stadium that once hosted stonings, lashings and executions, these girls train, train and train – determined to fight their way onto an international stage.

The film, which follows the girls to boxing competitions in Vietnam and Kazakhstan as well as though their daily lives in Kabul, focuses on 3 girls as well as their coach, an ex-boxer who’s dream to compete in the Olympics (he was selected for boxing at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) was foiled by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

It’s refreshing to see women – Afghan women at that – in tracksuits and boxing gloves, running outside and practicing jabs. This in itself feels like a victory. The Taliban, the film informs us, were (and are) against sports in general, but boxing in particular.

All of this freedom, strength and determination come at a price, however, and the film makes no secret of the difficult conditions the girls evolve in.

In the national stadium, the girls train without the benefit of the most basic facilities. In Vietnam, one of the girls says: “It was the first time I had seen a ring, and there I was climbing into it!”

Later, when one of the girls wins a medal, she gets kidnapping threats. After a TV segment about the girls’ boxing team airs on national television, the coach says he fears for his life. The documentary also gives voice to one of the boxer’s brother, staunchly opposed to his sister’s doings.

Even though the road is rocky, and that 3 boxing girls can hardly change the fate of millions, you can’t help but wish that they prevail. Like one says: “They will understand afterwards, when a girl has become a champion. Then they will understand the value of girls.”

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  1. It is truly a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m happy
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  2. This touching review of the documentary The Boxing Girls of Kabul, makes you want to watch the film all the more. The review itself brought tears to my eyes.

  3. But one thing good for these Afghan women is the fitness training, since they must surely have to do a fair amount. To be a good boxer, a person needs good fitness. The problem with boxing is that an immediate aim is to injure the adversary and there often isn’t a real need to do that when fighting. Holds, as in Judo, and non-violent techniques from Aikido or wrestling should normally suffice. Good wrestling is fine and Kung Fu apparently is a defence art, as well.


    As for the Taliban, it’s like the Christian churches. They have to religiously grow up. The Taliban are stuck believing old religious law established by some guy who evidently was afraid of women having equal social and political power. The guy was paranoid, but turned his fear into religious doctrine. Other people accepted the indoctrination. And that’s not surprising, since it’s happened with many other religions and religious groups. Mormons believe they have a right to rape young girls and force them into marriage the girls have never initially accepted, but our governments allow this to be done with children. Boys who disagree want to leave and get threatened. Our governments don’t care. And we’re blaming Taliban for abuse of women’s rights? I think we need to wake up. Taliban are probably less sexually off-base than Mormons are, but we support Mormons, while persecuting Taliban.

    Taliban aren’t saints, but neither are any of the rest of us. Everyone needs to grow up. Anyone, it doesn’t matter what religion, who abuses children or even innocent animals that aren’t human needs to wake up. All abuse is bad. We need to live in civilised manners. Abuse is always bad.

    — Mike Corbeil,
  4. Sounds good that women are affirming themselves, but I prefer wrestling. It’s better to have a woman wrastle you to the ground, rather than having your head pounded until it becomes like pudding or mashed potatoes, say. I definitely don’t want anyone attacking me to pound my head into the pavement and boxing, like with Karate or what I’ve learned a little about it, is for attacking, not defence.

    Boxing is violent because the boxer aims to injure the opponent. I think to recall that even Muhammad Ali said that boxing had damaged his brain. Get hit in the head with serious punches and you will risk getting a concussion, broken jaw, …. Get solidly hit in the ribs and you risk rib injury. Et cetera.

    Meanwhile, and from what I’ve gathered, real wrestling (not WWF stupidity), Aikido, Judo, Kung Fu (I think anyway) & Tai Chi are non-violent and intended only for defence, fitness and agility, say. A person good with any of these techniques can seek to inflict injury, but it’s not and shouldn’t be an initial intention. And Tai Chi apparently becomes a defence art only after plenty of training and learning. According to what I learned of it anyway, Tai Chi is not called a defence art. But I’ve seen some Oriental Tai Chi experts in action and it surely can be used for defence. Apparently, it’s only during early learning of it that Tai Chi isn”t at all about combat techniques.

    A person good in any of these techniques is surely more versatile than a boxer, unless the boxer is also good in any of these techniques and/or grappling, as well. Mike Tyson apparently was a strong boxer, but from what I read or head, he was also a strong grappler.

    A big guy I knew when young was 6’1″ at age 13. His weight varied between 210 and 220lbs and he went to YMCA summer camp(s) every year. They oddly had boxing between the youth. When he got into the ring, then the match was usually over very quickly, with knocked out opponents. When you get knocked out, then what can this happen to mean for your brain? A knock-out blow must surely cause some brain concussion and while bad concussions are obviously going to be worse, even a light concussion surely isn’t good for the brain. He was also strong in wrestling and eventually gained a black belt in Karate or some martial art, unless it was Judo.

    The only good thing about boxing, in my opinion, is the fitness training. With a good boxer like Muhammad Ali there’s also the foot work or play. But punching people isn’t a good way to fight unless you really are fighting for your life and have to serve some blows to your adversary.

    Judo is very interesting, for a person who’s good in real wrestling anyway. Aikido seemed good, but I tried the introductory course two times and can’t get through it, for you have to be able to roll over your shoulders without risking injury to your head and instructors said I did fine when roling over the left side, but not when rolling over the ride side. My right shoulder collapses due to a football injury when I was young. The injury destroyed the rotary cuff in the right shoulder and this leaves the shoulder with ZERO strength. A physiotherapist I saw for a hyperextension of the right should in early 1993 tested my shoulder strength and immediately realized that my rotary cuff had been injured. He treated football players, among other people, and said that this rotary cuff injury is very common among football players; speaking of American-style football, not soccer.

    That was after I had tried Aikido introductory courses two times, so I didn’t know about the injjury at those times. Hence, I couldn’t explain why the right shoulder constantly collapsed while the left one didn’t. The instructors were angry because I couldn’t explain and it’s essential to do the rolls correctly in order to avoid causing yourself injury. They were angry out of concern. It was important to them that pupils to correctly learn and perform all of the techniques taught. The shoulders must not collapse when performing forward rolls. But Aikido looked like a very good art for defence. Watching some of the experienced people practice and train, they definitely seemed to develop good fitness, in addition to learning very good techniques for combat. In hand-to-hand combat, you could have fun with your adversary and often without causing injury.

    I also took a little time in maybe 1992 to watch a group holding a Judo class at a recreational centre that I joined and it seemed very good. These people seemed fit and they have to be for this kind of defence technique. It’s like wrestling to me, and I’m the wrestling type, or was, when I was much more fit than I am today anyway. But I believe Judo teaches more holds and pressure points, if I’m not mistaken.

    Anyway, boxing is a violent “sport”. And since it’s violent by or in its very nature, it seems dumb, animalian, rather than intelligent and creative. Kangaroo and Wallaroo boxing is amusing, but human boxing is not recommendable.

    — Mike Corbeil,

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