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Self-Defence Trainings: Hacks or Hoax?

  • Published at 04:28 am November 27th, 2020
Self defence
Photos: Jason Briscoe

Debunking some misconceptions about self-defence training

Violence committed by men in Bangladesh has unfortunately been rising at an alarming rate over the years. The horrific sexual harassment and rape incidents in the past few months have outraged citizens across the globe. While the safety and security of children and women has been a major concern, successful long-term solutions are yet to be established. 

Law reforms, sterner execution and launching unbiased gender and sex education as a part of the national curriculum should be on top of the nation’s priority list. Apart from education and legal implications, learning self-defence strategies has become even more crucial. 

Why is it important to learn self-defence? Several major issues such as how to combat sexual harassment, attempt to rape, kidnapping/hijacking, eve teasing, unexpected attack and physical assault are usually the main focuses when learning the methods of self-defence. According to Ain O Salish Kendro (ASK), females aged between 13 and 18 are more likely to be the target of an offender. Hence, it has become necessary to foster a better understanding of self-defence and awareness since every tool is worth having if it can protect an individual from violence.

Teaching self-defence to women, especially schoolgirls,will help them to be more confident, understand how predators attack, how to apply self-defence during any attack, how to tackle and escape from such situations and avoid any foreseeable risk. Multiple instructors from various self-defence training programs shared,“We are training girls and women so that they can protest any sort of aggression and injustice. Women are the future of Bangladesh and the world.”

Learning self-defence has numerous benefits, however it is normal for a person to be skeptical about the use of the techniques learned. Whether the workshop is for a day or 6 months, stated below are 

some misconceptions around self-defence training that have been debunked.

“Being fit and active can save your life”

The best way to improve your self-protection skills is to focus on targeting key points of the body. It does not matter how fit you are, if you do not know the target points. After learning that, improving your fitness level can boost the strength you deliver to the targeted area of the perpetrator. 

“This type of training will make females violent”

If protesting against harassment is violent, people should be so. Men will not understand the primal fear that women deal with on a daily basis. For a female to learn the strength of her body, is simply being on the same level as her opposite gender. It empowers women to walk through the world with the same confidence and peace of mind that many men take for granted. 

“How can a person learn self-defence in a 1-day workshop?”

No one can teach nor learn everything about self-defence in one day. However, joining a workshop is the first step one can do to educate themselves about the safety and dangers. The basic tips and tricks can make someone more aware than before. These workshops emphasize on daily practice and share resources that can help a female tackle unwanted situation, and suggest not all situations require fighting with someone.It is absolutely essential to join a proper course for formal training to level up.  

Photos: Thao le Hoang

“These fancy steps will not work in the real world”

If you are threatened your body will know what to do and you will react. We have heard powerful stories of how a young karate expert beat up multiple boys who tried to mug her or about the housewife who struck her attempted-rapist’s genital leaving him senseless. There are countless stories of females fighting back victoriously in the very real world where you and I live in.

Moreover, there are the little daily triumphant stories that give us hope - like the girl who finally found the courage to break up with her toxic partner, the woman who was able to leave her house after dark since her assaulting incident, the lady who was able to voice her opinion and ask for a raise at work. Women are evidently the torchbearers as they educate the next generation of young boys and girls with their knowledge. Children are frequently susceptible to molestation and abuse that they do not even realize it till they are much older, leaving them scars and nightmares. Teaching them how to protect themselves and identifying good touch vs bad touch is unquestionably important.

Many locally involved organizations Warrior Women Bangladesh,Black Belt Academy, Titans Academy, Tactical Krav Maga Bangladesh and Bangladesh Karate Do have come forward to share their expertise. Wander Woman, a female travel community, hosted free online workshop for over 7000 females. The platform partnered with generous organizations such as Adorn&Co, Alpha Catering, CVC Finance, Edith, Romoni and Luminous Artistry by Lazina Elma.

One can never guess the way they can be attacked, no one can predict the precise instructions to deal with the situation on that spot. The vital response has to come from one’s reflex. What self-defence does is help trainees condition the body parts through which they respond to the situation. Thus, learning to utilize different weapons such as palms, elbows, feet, knees, head, basic kicks and punches will act as a shield against the unarmed attackers. Objects such as key chain, knuckled rings and body spray can surprise the attacker and give one the chance to escape. Constant practice will improve reflexes and coordination, increase strength and stamina so you feel great all day, increase flexibility and weight control for better overall fitness, and greatly improved balancing ability to defend yourself.

Self-defence is not just a set of techniques, rather, this should be taken into account as a state of mind that begins with the perception and belief that every woman can fight back!

Tanishaa Arman Akangkha is a development practitioner by profession and a writerby passion

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