Katerina Tarnovska is a Ukrainian preschool teacher, a kickboxing world champion and a self-proclaimed descendent of the legendary warrior women of the Amazon. In 2002 she founded Asgarda, a martial art exclusively for women that is inspired by the tribal traditions of the Scythian Amazons.
In the past decade, more than 1,000 ladies have been entrusted with the teachings of the Asgarda, which Katerina says is the only fighting style specifically tailored to the female form.
In a new documentary, Milène Larsson travels to the Carpathian Mountains for training at the Asgarda’s remote base camp – which is a bit like an all-girl summer camp, only instead of arts and crafts classes the ladies learn how to hack attackers with sabres, axes and scythes.
Given that Ukraine’s parliament is more than 90 percent male and domestic violence is a major problem, Milène headed to Ukraine expecting herself and Katerina to discuss what it’s like to be a woman in the country’s patriarchal society.
Yet Milène finds the group more inclined to talk about how to win a warrior man’s heart in order to breed a new generation of Ukrainian warriors, begging the question: is the Asgarda a feminist or Nationalist movement?