AKIPRESS.COM - Women shooting a bow and arrow with their feet were definitely a highlight of the World Nomad Games held in Kyrgyzstan 3 times.
We talked to 4 hard-working, strong, cool and talented Kyrgyz women about how it feels to be a stunt woman in a society where some people don't hesitate to tell them that stunts are not for women.
Umsunai Musayeva, 22
I was born in Naryn region in 1996 and loved riding horses since my childhood. I'm into the professional stunt performance for 1.5 years. I had a huge interest in what I am doing after the 2nd World Nomad Games in 2016, that's how I came to the federation. It took me some time to convince the trainers to admit me into the group, because I really wanted it.
I started working out a lot and achieved my goal: I was admitted to the group this year.
Stunt performance is a lot of fun for me and a lot of hard work at the same time. I'm an actor and a good actor must know how to do anything.Last but not least, I am a Kyrgyz. We are the nomads. That explains a lot.
Stunt performing requires a lot of muscles, you must have really strong feet, hands, torso. We do stunts on horseback. Men are usually assigned to perform the most difficult stunts: falling, jumping, drifting and even burning. I like archery and kyz kuumai (literally "girl chasing", equestrian traditional sport).
The first thing I learned in the federation was jamby atmai (mounted archery). You shoot while riding a galloping horse and try to hit the target.
I am in the films since 6. The first movie I was in was directed by famous filmmaker Ernest Abdyjaparov. Film industry helped me to get into the federation and I became a stunt performer to improve my actor skills. It's really cool for an actor to perform all the stunts on their own without a double. Stunts are about new feelings. I feel life.
But the stunts are also about traumas. I fell off a galloping horse just two days before the World Nomad Games and got an injury. Ambulance arrived and took me to hospital, where I stayed for 2 days. I lied to trainers that I was OK and left the hospital while doctors were away.
I thought trainers were disappointed in me, because we prepared a lot for the World Nomad Games opening withstanding all challenges: freezing in the mountains, sweating in the hot weather, but at the end all that I could do was just lying in a hospital bed.
But in reality, trainers told me that they felt very guilty that I got this injury. It turned out that the horse I was riding that day was trained drifting a day before the accident. So it did a reflex stunt. Thanks God I only received non-life threatening back injury. I rather received a life lesson: horse riding is not a trifle.
Majority of people I met told me stunts are not for women, it's the men's job. I was criticized by my relatives when I just started doing it. Everyone was against me doing stunts, but I did not care what they think and just did what I wanted. As a result, those who reproached me in the beginning started congratulating me when I received an award.
Sometimes there were times when I asked myself why I need this, but doubts vanished immediately when I showed up for the trainings. Trainers motivate me a lot, they are professionals, disciples of great stunt performer Usen Kudaibergenov.
Aida Akmatova, 32
My parents are circus performers. My mom came to circus thanks to the sports career and my dad is a graduate of the Moscow Circus School, he is a gymnast. I decided to follow their footsteps.
I love adrenaline and extreme sport and I love horses, that's why I joined the federation of stunt performers named after Usen Kudaibergenov.
I am a graduate of law school, a social and cultural activities manager. Today I work as an actor of the Kyrgyz State Circus. Circus is my passion and life.
I perform different stunts, one of my go-to stunts is shooting a bow with my feet. My stunt made it to the Book of Records of Europe and Kyrgyzstan. My job is about a lot risks, because I don't use safety wire.
The most serious trauma I received was during the circus performance: I was performing an aerial hoop and fell down. Rehabilitation took 2 years, and doctors told me that I could end up never walking again. I moved in wheelchairs and with crutches. Thanks to my strong will and relatives support, I could walk and even return to my profession.
My relatives and friends worry about me, but they always support me whatever I decide to do in my life.
My job also helps me to stay fit. I train a lot, my lifestyle is very active. I encourage the readers to devote at least 30 minutes a day to workouts.
Akmaral Baijigitova, 18
My uncle is the one who brought me to stunt performance. He is a professional stuntman. In 2016, he invited to join the World Nomad Games group of performers, because they needed more female artists. I agreed.
Stunt performer is not a profession, it's a lifestyle. It requires full dedication. We train in gyms most of the time, work out the stunts and elasticity. Then we train on horseback.
My mom supports me whatever I do, but of course she worried about me, because it's very dangerous and risky job.
Luckily, I never had serious injuries.
My dad was against my participation in the World Nomad Games as a stunt performer, but I did it anyway. Relatives and friends were really proud of me.
I can do two trick riding, one is lying transverse on a galloping horse.
Stunt women mostly perform in kyz kuumai sports. I performed in the World Nomad Games in 2016 and 2018.
Participating in various events and being a member of the federation is very important for me, but education comes in the first place for me.
Thanks to active trainings, I lost excess weight and stay fit.
In 2016, I lost 8 kg in 3 weeks of training for the 2nd World Nomad Games.
My job sparks a lot interest in young people, they get inspired and ask me a lot of questions.
My job does not take all my entire time; I study, train and have time for a rest, too.
Diana Ashirbayeva, 19
I love horses and that's why I am into equestrian sport. I love spear duel: during the fight, my head is fully covered and when I defeat my rival and I take off my helmet, people get always surprised.
Stunt is an adrenaline for me and a lot of fun. I don't feel anxiety during training. Audience help us come out.
Relatives and friends always sport us, motivate and compliment.
I dreamed to be on TV since my childhood and participated in many beauty pageants. Being a model is not easy, too.