Sensei Kalicharan Singh urged his students to stand up and conquer their battles by teaching them the ‘half-punch’, the ‘elbow’ and the importance of momentum

The ubiquitous “Him” was the focus of everyone’s attention be it the primary school teachers who had all tied their duppattas to one side, the barefoot young girls in their uniforms or the curious onlookers: women officers and male staff members. The ground floor of the Civic Centre on Wednesday was temporarily transformed into a training camp to teach “Self-defence to teachers and girl students of South Delhi Municipal Corporation schools”.

Sensei Kalicharan Singh urged his students to stand up and conquer their battles. “This is an alarm!” he said, referring to the recent criminal assault of a young girl. “How the hell can ‘he’ touch you? You are not ‘his’ property!” he continued, trying to cultivate a sense of anger over the issue which could be channelised into a stronger punch or a harder kick. In front of him, primary school teachers from various Municipal Corporation schools of South Delhi practised the moves – noting what works and what doesn’t work.

“Men may be physically stronger but women can use their brain power to stay alert and defend themselves,” he said adding, a woman’s ‘thapad’ is as forceful as anything else, so are her high-heels a good tool to stamp on the perpetrator. He taught them the ‘half-punch’, the ‘elbow’ and the importance of momentum.

SDMC Education Committee Chairman Satish Upadhyay said such a programme was introduced seeing the increase in the number of incidents of eve-teasing, rape, manhandling and sexual assault in society. “It is the need of the hour that women raise their voice against crime. Our aim is to not only teach self-defence but develop confidence, fitness, discipline and mental balance in teachers and girl students.” He asked women to portray a strong and confident body language suggestive of “hitting ‘him’ back if he makes advances”.

Social responsibility

Behind the rows of teachers stood Kantha Dahiya, a primary school teacher in R. K. Puram Sector-II. “It is very important for children to know self-defence techniques,” she feels. Next to her, Snehlata, a primary school teacher in an MCD school in Andrews Ganj, not only trained in self-defence, but successfully fobbed off attacks by chain snatchers in early December near her house in South Extension. She says, “Self-defence is part of the physical training given to students because we know every citizen cannot be protected and followed by a policeman. There is a social responsibility on our part to keep ourselves safe,” she says. “Many of the students come from jhuggis and clusters where cases like these keep coming up. They come back and say – ‘He’ was teasing me or ‘he’ was doing this or that. So what is important is making self-defence compulsory in all schools and training teachers all-year round instead for just 15 days or so.”

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