Would the recent attack on a woman inside an ATM in Bangalore have played out differently if the victim had been trained in the basics of self-defence?

If you ask any of the 30-odd college students and IT professionals who took up a session on self-defence techniques at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture here on Monday, they couldn’t agree more with their instructor that the result would have been a “funny image than a horrific one”.

Forget pepper sprays, expensive stun guns or fancy tasers.

These participants had just learnt how to quell a potential attack through a sequence of steps ranging from a hostile glare and a vehement “Stop” to a blow to the nose or a kick in the groin - in training jargon termed “psychological”, “technical”, “legal” and “physical” strategies of self-defence.

“There is always a spike in demand for self-defence training after some sensational crime, which is not necessarily a good thing” said Anoop Madhavan, founder of Chennai-based organisation Survival

Instincts and a certified health and safety instructor of the American Red Cross, who led the session.

He would rather have self-defence preparedness imbibed as a culture.

Nonetheless, Survival Instincts has added slides on how to deal with attacks such as the one in the ATM to its training repertoire that usually involves a set of simulated exercises, handy tips and power-point details.

“What we impart is not martial art. We have evolved the module to equip the regular woman to deal with common crime situations,” said Pavithra Nuthakki, Training Manager.

The session taught women how to deal with attacks, frontal or rear, the imperative of a crouching stance where the body as stable as a triangle and the knee slightly bent - a deceptively defensive position from which one can launch a counter strike.

“Most certainly, the recent attacks on women elsewhere in the country have been a factor in enrolling for this session,” said Tina, an employee of Verizon.

“In these days of increasing acts of violence against women, it is best to have a certain level of preparedness,” said Gayathri, a student from the SRM College of Science and Technology, who attended the session along with her mother Jayalakshmi.

Trainers say that the exercise is not to inspire participants to become superwomen. Which is the programme itself is labelled “Extreme Violence and Aggression-Defence and Escape” (EVADE).

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