Age has not deterred Bindu Satyanath from pursuing her passion for Karate and earning a Black Belt. The martial art expert is also a successful entrepreneur

Bindu Satyanathan does not look her age. For a 41-year-old she is agile, energetic and dons multiple roles, in life, with ease. She is an entrepreneur, along with a group of equally enterprising women of Kudumbasree, and a homemaker. But the secret behind her youthfulness is something that she pursues with much intensity and passion — Karate.

Last month she won a Dan Black Belt in ‘Shotogan’ Karate, a prized possession that adorns the cabinet in her home. Men who are misled by her docile exterior better be guarded, for this mother of two can easily overpower a man if it comes to that. It was this physical trait that earned her a selection in the BSF (Border Security Force), which she had to turn down owing to family pressure.

Coming from a simple family she nurtured a passion for sports from her school days. “I started learning Karate-Okhinavo in Class nine. However, I had to give up that dream after marriage due to strong opposition from the family,” she says. Then she got busy with her work at Café Kudumbasree at Ponnurunni, a tag their shop received from among dozens of Kudumbasree restaurants in the district. But the desire to pursue Karate was still aglow.

The martial art made a return into her life during a traumatic period when her elder daughter was diagnosed with nervous disorder. She became slow in everything and oral medicines only made her more lethargic. That’s when the doctor advocated physical exercise to help improve her daughter’s condition.

“The doctor said if you are bold enough to try and find a cure in physical training then you may do it. That was the turning point in my life,” she says.

With her husband’s approval to return to karate along with her daughter. Her husband refused it outright. Then after a few fights, lots of tears and cajoling, he finally agreed. “My husband’s brother-in-law, an RTO in the city, is a Karate Black Belt and under his assurance I was allowed to go,” she says visibly excited.

She began learning ‘Shotogan’ form of Karate under Suran P. K., a seventh Dan Black Belt instructor at Alinchuvadu. The fire in her re-ignited, she was unstoppable, finally taking a test and acquiring the belt, making it a rare achievement at her age. “I believe there are very few women of my age who pursue Karate. Certainly there is no one in my class,” she says. Coming across a few furrowed brows for pursuing a martial art form at her age does not hamper her spirit in any way.

Bindu says that there is a great improvement in her daughter’s condition. Her younger daughter, who is a class six, is also in to Karate.

Fortunately, her mother-in-law is a pillar of support. “She takes care of the household when I am away or down with injuries,” she says showing her fingers which were broken after the Karate test. The community is also proud of her and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) recently honoured her, which eventually earned her support of her reluctant husband.

Now Bindu is an instructor in her own capacity. This has been a double bonus. For it gives her an additional income from doing what she loves the most.

Bindu feels that in a society turning increasingly intolerant towards women, martial arts like Karate is a necessity.

“Karate makes a person mentally and physically balanced and helps to maintain a focused mind,” she says as she goes about serving hot snacks to her customers.

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