Karate lessons at St Joseph’s Club in Ranchi on Monday. (Hardeep Singh)
The Delhi gang rape death inspired a martial arts instructor in Ranchi to train girls in self-defence for free.
Not surprisingly, girls are queuing up in droves to learn for it is an idea whose time has come. The brutal rape in bus and subsequent death of the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern has made girls in the state capital — like others elsewhere in the country — realise that this could have happened to anybody.
“In times like these, self-defence is the best defence,” Sunil Kispotta, martial arts expert on a mission and technical director of International Martial Art Academy, said. He is offering a 15-day karate basic course for free from January 13 in which he will he assisted by Mohini Ritika Toppo, a St Xavier’s College BA final-year student and black-belt holder.
So far, 56 girls have registered for this training. Registration will go on till January 12.
Kispotta, whose Purulia Road academy is well known in the capital, said that he was pleasantly surprised to get “numerous requests” from young girls for martial arts classes.
“They want to learn how to protect themselves from eve-teasers on the prowl. I like this enthusiasm and confidence,” he said.
“I am feeling insecure on the streets after the Delhi incident. I want to learn martial arts so that I can protect and save myself if a problem arises,” said Sonali Tigga, a BCom Part I student of St Xavier’s College, who has enrolled herself in the course.
The camp will be held at St Joseph’s Club Hall on Purulia Road but Kispotta hoped that the interest of girls — mostly from St Xavier’s College, Marwari College, Ranchi Women’s College, Loreto Convent School, St Xavier’s School Doranda and Ranchi College — would not flag once the fortnight-long course was done.
He has a point, because no one becomes a black belt in 15 days.
Still, it is a start. The girls will learn basic self-defence skills and gain confidence in their ability to disarm an intruder.
Class XII student of Loreto Convent School Shital Toppo said she was tired of being afraid.
“On my way to school, I often come across youths who don’t behave well. Then, the Delhi incident happened. Like the rest of the country, I was very angry. When I asked myself how I can contribute even a tiny bit, I decided the change must start with me. So I decided to learn martial arts,” Shital said.
Etil Ankita Hembrom, a Class XII student of St Xavier’s School, Doranda, said that she wanted to pay a tribute to the brave Delhi victim. “I want to learn martial arts as a tribute to her memory and to protect myself so that I can walk on the streets with a sense of security,” she said.
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