During my 7th std in school, we were informed that Tae Kwon Do was going to be introduced. I wasn't aware about things like rape, molestation etc; though, I knew it was for self-defense. Being very athletic those days, I immediately enrolled, without even asking anyone in my family ( though, they gave a stunned approval later on ). A fairly modern 20th century ( 1940/50's ) sport, the history of this particular martial art is rather interesting, as it is a combination of few other ancient martial arts ( korean+chinese etc ) ~ with emphasis on 'kicks'. We were given the special White dress ( sewn after taking our measurements ), and our initial belt was 'yellow' for beginners - ( it is then followed by blue/green/brown/red etc and finally 'black' with 12 layers to it, to ultimately become the 'grand-master' ). I took great interest in the art, and learnt it seriously for more than 3 years. We learnt different chops, punches and kicks - oh, there are so many of them; and the sounds we had to make with each of them gave more power to those ~ making it very effective. And with practice, it got only better. During holidays, I also used to go to their special sessions, besides the usual ones in school. However, during my 10th, due to approaching SSC, I stopped going for classes and thereafter in college, my practice too completely stopped. The only thing that remained, was a memory that I had learnt this wonderful art. Moreover, that time I had shifted to Bombay as well, where I got completely spoilt. I became a foodie big-time and started resembling the entire opposite of an athlete, I once was. The memories of those techniques too faded slowly. ( check - )

I faced several instances of unwanted touching/groping etc in the crowded Bombay's trains/buses ( something I guess, majority of women-folk goes through daily ), however, whatever self-defense I had learnt never really come promptly, as I hardly took the trouble to remember them, all these years. Although, I could recall a few faintly, yet, they wouldn't come as naturally as they used to once.

During the recently held International Women's Week #Unconference, we had a special work-shop on Self-Defense for Women, and whatever I had long forgotten came flooding back. The workshop was not tae-kwondo related, but, martial arts in general ( esp karate ). Still, I couldn't help but remember my own training years in school, decades ago. I enjoyed the work-shop immensely :-)


After introduction of Sanjay ( Black Belt ) and his group ( by Reeti, the event organizer ), they immediately got into action. Yes, inside the Lounge itself. Whoah!

#WomensWeekUnconference Martial Arts Work-shop @D'Bell Lounge & Cafe

So, Sanjay started off by asking whats the strongest part of our body. Its the elbows; the base and sides of palm when hardened, knees ( though, it can be at times a weak spot too, if kicked on it from sides/back ) etc. Easiest technique to use the 'elbow' is - practice as though you are brushing your hair up with your fingers, notice how the elbow juts up? It can be used to attack attacker in front of you, and your elbow will hit his chin. Same way, try opening drawers - notice how the elbow goes backwards with force? It can be used to attack an attacker who's behind. And the weakest part of the body is generally between the knees ( you-know-what to hit ).

Also when attacked, one needs to go on an aggressive attacking-mode rather than a defensive back out; though, one should always try to run from the situation no matter what. Also, use your 'voice' as loudly as possible, not just to scare the attacker, but also to attract any passer-by's attention for help. Even sharp everyday objects like pens, ladies' tweezers, nail-filer/cutter etc can be handy tools in case of an attack, if you don't have a knife. If you don't have a pepper-spray available, you can always use a deodorant for the same thing; spray it into the eyes so that they loose eye-sight for a few minutes. ( You can make pepper-spray right at home; simply mix vinegar with chilly+pepper and little water ~ put in a small spray bottle ).

Yes, the fun part of the work-shop was Sanjay's very easy demeanor; cracking a few jokes here and there while teaching the very serious stuff too, as well as getting the audience involved in it totally. He made everyone stand up and go on an attack-mode with his own group members. The audience did a fairly good job too. The thick safety-padding & helmets was what saved those instructors that day ;-)

Lot of these techniques rely on element of surprise as much as physical aspects. Attackers don't expect resistance. If attacker grabs your neck, reach out and hit his Adam's apple; it will immobilize him. Or simply clap both his ears hard, with both your hands at once. He wouldn't know what hit him. If you're on your back and attacker approaches, use legs to kick out. Stamp both his legs hard with your heels.

The girl demonstrators of the self-defense workshop ( with some of them being national champions too ), showed us the various techniques. Being fearless, aggressive and tough is the overall key. A human's body is the most deadliest weapon, says Sanjay. Don't fret or worry if you're going to hurt or injure him, while attacking. If you find no escape at all ( best option being running as fast as you can ), then go aggressive, else, remember he might hurt you instead.

While kicking, target the weak & most delicate part of men ( you-know-what ), if you find yourself on the floor. How to resist & break free of 3 attackers ( below pic ).

If someone is holding you from behind, grab his little finger and twist is backwards as hard as you can; try hitting him in his stomach or the delicate groin area with your elbows, or use your head backwards hitting his face/chin or nose. Also try kicking sides of the knees. It is weak and he'll loose balance instantly.

Every girl should know these techniques. Infact, I'm planning to practice my tae-kwon-do all over again. The work-shop was indeed a valuable addition to the #WomensWeekUnconference event. It made me recollect my own training days ~ such a nostalgia! Call Sanjay at 9769950284 for self-defense workshops.

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  1. That workshop was really very informative, glad I attended it. Very nice post :D

  2. Very useful... Photos could have been a bit better, but then it is probably because of poor lighting inside

  3. thanks a lot everyone :-)


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