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Training in self-defence for women

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Getting fists of steel: Students of Pondicherry University try their hand at breaking tiles after undergoing training in taekwondo.
Getting fists of steel: Students of Pondicherry University try their hand at breaking tiles after undergoing training in taekwondo.

Deepa H Ramakrishnan

Programme covered women in offices, housewives and those who go home at odd hours

PUDUCHERRY: “That’s right... a kick on the knee would stun him for a minute or two,” says the taekwando instructor to a batch of girls practicing kicks, hits and punches.

They women were taught the sensitive spots in the human body, such as the neck, knee, shin and a spot between the eyes, and that they should aim for these sensitive spots when they were up against an enemy.

A group of 30 women students drawn from various departments of Pondicherry University recently underwent a 10-day training in laws meant to protect women, and in how to defend themselves in difficult situations. The programme came to an end on Saturday with a valedictory function, which was presided over by Vice-Chancellor J.A.K. Tareen, who said it was a step in the right direction to build confidence in young women.

Chayya Sharma, Senior Superintendent of Police, said the department planned to train women in government offices, housewives and women who go home at odd hours.

“This is a part of our community policing initiative. We have trained students of several schools, and we are currently training students in three schools. More schools are approaching us to provide training. During the 10-day programme, which comprises two hours of training daily, we teach basic exercises, movements and also some training in the legal aspects,” she added.

‘Confidence booster’

Reader in Women’s Studies Usha Murali said the programme was a confidence booster, and that it was essential to train the body as well as the mind. “Our education usually unsexes us... women are taught not to be women... in such a case this kind of training is needed since it is a question of life [and death] and being able to survive.”

Speaking to The Hindu, Ms. Chayya Sharma said, “We are not aiming at making the girls into fighting machines, who would jump at a chance to fight. Instead, we are trying to build confidence in the women so that they can hit back when they are cornered. We teach them to be alert and react fast, and the most important thing is to escape and get out [of the place]. We also tell them that women must be careful about how they present themselves outside. Its not just the question of dressing provokingly. Even if you dress decently you might unknowingly or knowingly give space for something unnecessary, which you can avoid.”

The training is provided by Anjammal, Inspector, All Women Police Station; two women constables, and Stalin, a Taekwando expert. At the end of the ten-day training programme, the girls were able to break bricks and tiles with their bare hands and block the offender when attacked and to use their tiffin boxes, handbags and nails as good weapons.


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