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Don't depend on physical strength

Kavya Balaraman, Jan 21, 2013

Self Protection

Alert Naveen with some of his students.

If there’s anything that recent events have made clear, it’s that women in this country need to learn how to take care of themselves.

Given the lackadaisical response from the authorities regarding the issue of women’s safety, it’s obvious that taking some basic cautions makes a lot of sense; which is why a lot of women in the City have opted to enrol for self-defence classes.

The problem, though, is that it’s difficult for a woman to physically overcome a male attacker — especially if he’s not alone.  This is why many martial-art instructors teach their students a different mode of attacking, which isn’t based on physical strength.


This involves identifying certain weak points on the opponent’s body and either pinching, scratching or biting to get away.  For instance, the upper inner arm is a particular delicate spot — pinching a man there hard enough can actually break the skin and muscle fibre, giving any victim enough distraction time to get away.
Metrolife speaks to a few martial-art instructors as well as students to find out more.

Naveen Chandra, who teaches taekwondo, points out that these tricks are often an integral part of any self-defence course, including those taught to his younger students.

“Every opponent has certain weak points — such as the eyes, stomach, groin, the back of the knees and the neck. Girls should use their nails to scratch these sensitive parts. It also makes sense to use your knees and elbows while defending yourself, because these are the strongest parts of the body,” he explains.

He also believes that in addition to this, a basic knowledge of other self-defence techniques goes a long way in helping a woman out of a sticky situation.  “Normally, a combination of these tricks with a more detailed knowledge helps. For instance, scratching an opponent will distract him — and then, a good punch will knock him down,” he elaborates.

P L N Murthy, also a taekwondo expert, explains that in such situations, quickness of mind often counts for more than physical strength.

“Women aren’t as physically powerful as men, which is why they need to be mentally alert at all times — only then can they defend themselves. Apart from doing what you can to protect yourself physically, it’s important to try and raise a ruckus to alert the public that something is happening,” he advises, adding that carrying a can of pepper spray is also a smart move.

Priyadarshini, a professional who also learns taekwondo, confirms that such techniques are an integral part of her course.  There is a lot of stress, she says, on identifying an opponent’s weak points and attacking them accordingly.

 “The most important thing is to stay alert at all times. We’re trained to be aware and practise on a continuous basis to build stamina and keep our energy levels high. There are certain sensitive points on the body — like the ribs, groin and temples — where a single kick can suffice to bring an opponent down,” she shares.

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