Girl power: bending the gender rules

There’s a new rule at the Shaolin Epo Wushu College: girls are allowed to attend as well. But this isn’t just any school: not only do they have to pass their exams with flying colors, they also have to follow a very strict Kung Fu training schedule.

The school gives children a chance to learn as well. There are about 8,000 students, some as young as 3. At first the school only allowed boys, but now it allows girls as well. Shaolin Epo schoolgirls have no time to sip tea and play with dolls though. Instead, they train with fists, swords, daggers, and other weapons everyday. The girls are treated the same as the boys, everyone lives in the same Spartan conditions. Many students live in the same room, meals are very modest, and there’s only one parental visit a week. Girls and boys alike have to toughen up and focus on their goal of becoming a skilled warrior.

Life in the school can be hard, but these girls fight just as well as the boys. The bar is set very high and there are no exceptions for those who fall behind. Nevertheless, despite the hurdles along the way and the unrelenting schedule, every girl soldiers on determined to make her parents, teachers, and country proud.

I love that girls are being given the same chances as boys. Gender equality makes me happy. Anything you can do I can do better. Did you know that I trained in Praying Mantis Kung Fu for 6 years? I recently left my school but plan on finding a new school after I run the Chicago Marathon. I feel like Kung Fu teaches so much more than just how to defend yourself.

Watch the documentary below and let me know what you think about it. Have you practiced martial arts? If so, which type? Would you send your kid to this school? Or if you’re like me, would you attend this school?

Nature’s Fastest Marathon Runner

Some animals are good at running, us humans being one of them. But most animals while they can run fast they often don’t run far. Or if they run far, they don’t run fast. One exception outside of humans is the ostrich. The ostrich can run up to 43 mph at their fastest. When they run further than 20 miles, their average speed drops to 30 mph. The average stride of an ostrich is 10 to 16 feet, one of the longest of any bird not to mention animal.

The African ostrich is the fastest, clocking speeds between 60 to 70 km per hour which allows this species to finish a full marathon in about 40 minutes rather than the two plus hours needed by a human. So how do ostriches compare to humans?

http://www.scienceinschool.org/2011/issue21/ostrich

When compared to humans, ostriches have the majority of their musculature located very high on the thigh bone and hip, whereas the lower swinging elements of their legs are moved by long, mass-reducing tendons. Tendons are very light and aid in long steps along with increased step frequency. Just don’t think that tendons make these birds tender. They tend to run when they feel threatened, but are known to attack when needed especially when there’s an egg involved. (largest egg = tastiest egg)

Random Jen fact: I did an entire school project on ostriches in 3rd grade and absolutely loved it. What’s your favorite animal? What’s your favorite running animal? Did you even consider the ostrich a runner before this post?