Fighting fit and ready for college

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Ankita Verma is learning how to use her hair clip as a weapon. She doesn’t aspire to become a martial art exponent. Just out of the school, she believes that self-defence is one of the necessities to prepare for her upcoming college life. Like Ankita, many young girls, before starting their college life, are signing up for counselling, martial arts lessons and self-defence classes to protect themselves.

While these just-out-of-school girls are excited about the new phase in their life, they are also coming prepared for the worst. Saumya Singh Roy, who runs defence classes Skill Kindle, says for the last two months he has been receiving a number of calls everyday from young girls. “The number of girls enrolling for the classes has increased by 60-65 percent. Girls are signing up for classes in droves. Most of the girls want to master the art of using simple things like hair clip, pen, nail cutter and sandals as their defence tools. Most importantly, they want to gain the confidence of being able to take care of themselves.”
Following the December 16 gang-rape case, not just girls but even their parents are making sure that while they enjoy the fun and freedom of college life, they are also well prepared to handle unforeseen situations. Increase in sales of pepper spays is another proof of it. Amit Sharma, project head of Safetyguard.com, says that he has been receiving orders for pepper sprays not just from young girls but even parents. “Schools are rather safer places for girls, but parents start getting worried when they start going to college and have to use public transport. Good pepper sprays are enough to handle a small mob of 10 to 12 people. Many parents call up to ask for sprays that are handy, easy to use and can be sprayed from a distance of 8-15 feet,” adds Amit.
Going from university to university and attending counselling sessions makes one realise the importance of learning self-defence, says Nidhi Bhalla who is busy applying in various universities. “There is a report of eve-teasing and rape almost everyday in the newspapers. Safety has become a major concern. From taking public transport to meeting different people, I did not feel safe anywhere outside my home. We have to stand up for ourselves and look after ourselves. So, I decided to take self-defence classes for two to three months to protect myself better. My friends are soon going to sign up for the martial arts training. My father has also updated me on police complaint numbers and how to go about filing an FIR,” adds Nidhi.
Says Anuj Verma, self-defence trainer, “Girls want to learn their own self-protection strategies. Depending on their height and weight, different techniques work for different girls. Karv Maga is very effective and easy to learn. I am pleased to see that young girls and their parents are learning that they should no longer ignore the issue of safety and have to come forward to fight for themselves,” he adds.

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