For those who have, you might agree that the impact of hitting someone is just as bad as that of being hit. A strange observation for an Indian woman, isn’t it? Given that we all hail from a country where women are considered as Goddesses.

The core essence of being a woman in India is associated with grace and elegance. Words like woman, lady, girl, trigger an image synonymous to soft, gentle or even weak. This torrents the parents, even the educated ones, towards sending their daughters to classes with creative inclination such as Dancing (mostly classical), Singing or Painting rather than towards something like a Self Defence class.

Why should it be mandate for every child to learn self defense techniques in school?

Taking a slice out of my own life, I have been blessed with parents who are the epitome of modern and open parents. They have always maintained equality between me and my twin brother. Yet, I was enrolled for Kathak dancing classes while my brother was listed for Karate. I did not question it back then. I could have taken both classes but this solution did not occur to my innocent brain back then. Moreover, who would say no to more free time when you are feeling as loved and cherished as your sibling?

And I myself did not have any interest back then. I won’t have any friends there, I will not have enough time in the day, I am not interested in violence etc., are some of the excuses that I am sure many of us would have given when we faced an option of learning any self defense. Eventually, we would give in to our society’s or our own excuse and skip it. Bad decision.

As I grew up, I encountered multiple occasions of harassment, something that has become a norm nowadays. I am sure I can see a lot of nods from you all. This has made me realise that the first reaction of a girl in case of such attacks by pedophiles or perverts, is genuine shock. It roots us in place for sometime while our brain tries to understand what the hell is going on. This gives the pervert the confidence or the motivation to move ahead. “There is no threat, she is just standing there sweating and taking deep breaths, I think I can try”. There are some who try to raise their voice against this. Alas, the voices meet the dead-end and sympathetic comments like “I have been through this too” or “Ignore it if possible.”  But why? Why do we freeze with shock?

Why isn’t our first reflexive reaction, to go for his jaw with an upper cut?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we lack basic self defence training? One of the main reasons we don’t feel like putting up a resistance is because we are scared. What would I do if he grabs my arms? How will I run from him? Will I be creating a scene? So many questions run through our mind that we eventually decide that falling back is the right way. Simple techniques to defend ourselves from grips or grabs is all that is needed to give us the confidence to put up a fight and maybe one day help save ours or someone else’s life.

Parents should coach themselves about this topic along with their children.

Every individual today needs to be educated about topics such as sexual predators, victimization, personal safety tips, physical confrontations, unarming a person and having the courage to be a witness in case someone else is the target. It can lead to some people misusing the training but think about it for a moment; If you are confident in your ability to defend yourself or someone else, would that not make a huge difference in your decision making?

How do we start?

Motivation and a positive mindset is a good starting point. Have a motivation to stand your ground in this cruel world. If it is hard to join a class due to your schedule or location etc., remember that there are lots of free online self-learn classes and videos that will help you with basic training.

Sometimes, a spoonful of positivity is all it takes to change the way we think :)!