By CJ Nishant Tripathi
Pictures by Sandeep
After her tuition classes, 5 in the evening, Shefali goes to the park near to her home and dresses up, all set to throw some punches, shoot some kicks and practice some attacks. She’s not a girl to be messed with. It’s been 3 years she is practicing and she’s feels much stronger now.
Poonam is running her last round around the park when she spots Shefali. She completes her running and greets Shefali with a formal bow. They take their position and start fighting. Poonam has been at it for 5 years, longer than Shefali, but Shefali is getting good. Poonam finds it difficult but after a couple of experienced tricks, she’s able to grab some more points and win the fight. Shefali learnt some new tricks.
This happens in the Karate classes these two girls take, along with many others. The trend for martial arts like Karate, Judo and Taekwondo is rapidly spreading through the Jammu city as people are becoming more and more aware for the importance of self defence of their wards, especially girls and women, in general. With the increase in cases of molestation and rapes, it’s the parents that are worried about the safety of their children, girls in particular, that they are enrolling them in these self-defence and martial arts classes with a hope that these might help them in certain god-forbidding circumstances.
Boys have always been enthusiastic about these classes and can be seen very regular at them. It’s the increasing number of girls getting enrolled in these classes that tells that even girls have caught on to the national phenomenon of self-protection and fight back. Having knowledge of certain self-defence techniques and a hand in a form of martial arts, they feel much more confident and safe. Not only confirming to the social norms of staying at home and learning home arts, these girls are stepping out in the world and hold the spine to fight for themselves if time demands.
“I have been learning karate for 3 years now, I have performed at nationals too” said Shefali when we asked her about her indulgence with the sports,” I can kick some boys if they bother me” she followed, jokingly. Poonam, another student, friend of Shefali, said” It was me who brought Shefali to these classes and now she’s getting really good at it. Sometimes it’s hard to defeat her when she’s at her best. We both have played multiple nationals and had faced each other once in the Quarter finals, I got lucky and made it through.” “We also fight with boys and many times we can defeat them too. It feels so good.” She says, smiling proudly. She continues, “It’s a good workout, keeps us fit and helps us in ways we can’t imagine. My reflexes are much quicker now and I do not feel helpless if I come across guys with indecent intentions.”
Like these two girls, many others are sharing the similar sentiments of confidence and security as they feel empowered with the knowledge and practice of self-defence martial arts. These girls, who now hold the demeanour to walk with boys , shoulder to shoulder encourage all the girls in Jammu and the country to learn martial arts take their defence in their own hands, without depending on anybody else.