Tomoe Gozen, Horseback (mens)
Artist inspiration by Savannah Em: My girlfriend came to training one day and, knowing what I’m into, she mentioned that she’d seen a documentary about Tomoe Gozen, the great female samurai (onna bugeisha) of the late twelfth century. She had me at “female samurai”! I read up on Tomoe a little bit myself and learned that while there were plenty of female warriors during that time who’s purpose was to stay back to protect the towns during battle, it was not the norm that they would be sent off to the frontline of war. It was during the Genpei War that Gozen gained her fame both for her beauty and fighting skills. She was appointed by Lord Kiso no Yoshinaka as his leading commander. During that time, she defeated and collected the heads of 7 mounted warriors. In another battle she led Kiso’s cavalry to victory. And in a later, more impossible battle she was one of only five of Kiso’s warriors who survived. Yeah. Beautifully badass. I chose to draw her as I was working up my own warrior mentality in the days leading up to my first mma fight! Imagining her in various scenarios, poses, filled me with the fire I need to be inside that cage. I think it worked; as it turned out my first fight also was my first beheading. I hope Tomoe is proud.
Original art by Savannah Em
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