“There were several times in my life that I have been harassed, like the guy on the bike who hit me or a friend who tried to kiss me in the lift,” recalls Palak Jain. “And each time I would freeze. One such incident was when I went to see Victoria Palace with my niece. As we were walking out, the security guard held her by the shoulders and started asking her questions. And again, at that moment, I froze. I felt extremely guilty and helpless in my inability to respond in the situation,” she laments.
Jain is now a student of a martial arts discipline called Jeet Kune Do or JKD where the art of combat is tailor-made for the individual. JKD or “the way of the intercepting fist” in Cantonese, is a hybrid philosophy of martial
arts heavily influenced by the personal philosophy and experiences of martial artist Bruce Lee. Lee believed that the individual is more important than any established system. So, the ‘one size fits all’ approach of traditional martial arts is dropped in favour of tailoring the skill to the person’s capabilities. JKD seeks to unite the body, mind and spirit in the goal for self- liberation.
Women in India are in constant danger of being assaulted, harassed, teased or, in the worst case, raped. Crime statistics say that a woman is raped every 22 minutes in India. And these are reported cases. What can be the possible antidote to this? Schools and educational institutions are introducing courses in self-defense and martial arts techniques, especially for girls to build their self- confidence and ability to protect themselves. The Institute of Combat Studies in Bengaluru, India is the only certified institution teaching women a self-tailored self-defense art to empower themselves.
With the #Metoo movement exposing sexual abuse in the media and film industry, it is time for ordinary women to share their stories, boost their self- confidence and develop the psychological preparedness to either defend themselves or escape. It’s a social convention to tell women how to dress, how to behave in public and how she should be careful about her- self. But there is little instruction on how to defend herself.
“Recently, when a man approached me while walking, my immediate response was to
bring out my elbows in case he came any closer. As he saw this action, he apologised and left. This is because of my training in Jeet Kune Do at the Institute of Combat Studies. Not only has it made me capable of defending myself physically but has also strengthened my mind. I
know now that the times I froze wasn’t my fault, I just hadn’t learnt how to respond when threatened,” says Jain. The key is how one can be aware of one’s surroundings and thus able to foresee potential threats. “A woman needs to build a psyche where she can immediately fight back a real-life assault case,” says Dr. Ritesh Reddy, PhD, 4th Degree Black Belt (UAC),military martial arts & full-time instructor, JKD Bangalore. “I believe in amalgamating psychological stability, fitness, kicking, grappling and punching to knock down the opponent who can be of any size, age or gender. The areas where Karate or Mixed Martial Art techniques fail, JKD fulfils the gap and brings in more flexibility and pragmatism.” Training for months in JKD has been successful in making women much healthier and stronger in terms of mind, body and soul. Learning such a self-defense technique is ultimate experience for many women. Forestalling your enemy while saving yourself allows her the freedom to go out with head held high.