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This article was first published 10 years ago

10 self-defense tips every woman should know

October 21, 2013 14:41 IST

Image: Women learning self-defence techniques at the workshop
Photographs: Courtesy: Shivaji Park Marathon Club Laxmi Negi

Raj Vadgama, a martial arts trainer, offers 10 simple tips for women to protect themselves when faced with sex predators.

He is also a fitness consultant and for his running buddies, an avid marathon runner.

On a lazy Sunday morning, all roads lead to Swatantrya Veer Savarkar Sabhagruha in central Mumbai suburb of Dadar as the ladies are welcomed to learn about the art of self-defence organised by the Shivaji Park Marathon Club.

There were morning walkers from the age group of late 50s and there were tiny tots who have just learnt to walk. But when it comes to awareness and self-defence, age is not a bar.

Deepa, mother of seven-year-old Roshni, says, “It is not the time to teach my daughter about a good touch or a bad touch. There should be no touch at all!”

She adds that though her little daughter found it difficult to give up her Sunday morning sleep, young Roshni was first to demonstrate the kicks and punches once the demonstrations started.

The mother too had a satisfied look which portrayed that at least her daughter would know how to react if she is touched inappropriately.

A petit looking Krupali was dragged by her father to the self-defence workshop. On her way home from college she was grabbed by a pervert from behind and somehow she could not shake it off from her memory.

This is Krupali’s second workshop. She admits that she wants to perfect her moves so she can actually pack a few punches.

Richika Kakotkar, in her 60s, practices all the moves again and again. She says, “It can happen to anyone and it is better to be prepared rather than sorry.”

Also Kakotkar is in a hurry to rush home as she can’t wait to teach her daughter-in-law the defensive moves she learnt.

Meanwhile, Vadgama sends the message of having a presence of mind all time, time and again.

He adds, “I cannot make these women champions in one hour. But I can definitely help them distract the troublemakers and run.”

The group of 50 odd women is busy trying stunts on each other. They have various doubts and Vadgama tackles all with elan. But when they actually have to face such murky situations the fitness guru says, “The key is to overcome the fear.”

Vadagama does not advice slapping and fighting. When in trouble, Vadgama’s mantra is to stay calm.

10 self-defense tips every woman should know

Image: Raj Vadgama teaching self-defence technique to a participant
Photographs: Courtesy: Shivaji Park Marathon Club

His tips for women to protect themselves:

  • The elbow is human body’s strongest part, use it to hit.
  • The shin is delicate part of the body so instead of targeting the groin, go for the shin.
  • Use nails to scratch the eyes, mouth and nose.
  • Make eye contact if you are being followed by someone who you think is a potential threat. An attacker may be less likely to strike if they think you will be able to clearly identify them.
  • Solar plexus-instep-nose-groin: these are the four attack points you should focus on if grabbed from behind. Elbow them in the solar plexus, stomp on the foot as hard as you can, and when they let go, turn around and jam the palm of your hand into their nose in an upward motion, then finish with a knee to the groin. This may disable your assailant long enough for you to get away. Don't worry about hurting them, because they intend to do something much worse to you. Do anything that can prevent the attack. If none of this works just scream and shout but if you're in the middle of nowhere, try fighting and running to cover or higher ground.
  • Do not think you need to be nice. Be rude and hateful, because these predators will try everything possible to evoke a sympathetic response from you.
  • It is very common these days: If you are walking alone at night or in unsafe areas, avoid listening to music. You will be distracted by the music, making you an easier target because you are less aware of your surroundings and also may not hear the attacker/rapist approach. You also look like a better target.
  • Find out what you have around you, you can use stones, sticks or anything which help you to distract the attacker for 10 to 15 seconds and you get a chance to run away.
  • Everyone must learn few simple technique of self-defence that will boost your confidence. Learning a few but simple tricks is not hard, only you have to use your presence of mind.

Most important: Inform your friends or family where you are going. Let them know where you are at all times. 

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