Her conduct is gentle, but she can handle a group of thugs. A mother of two, Dipika Vaz trains young women in Krav Maga, Israeli martial arts system designed for tackling real-life situations. Throwing muscular hunks to the ground at Vaz’s Mumbai classes, these women have discovered a new confidence through the system.
Vaz started learning Krav Maga from her husband Elroy Vaz, India’s regional director for Israeli company Krav Maga Global (KMG), in 2010. She is among the few Indian women training at the graduate level.
Krav Maga (Hebrew term for Contact Combat) is a system based on defence from the ‘Initial Human Response’.
She believes that KMG teaches a person that while the attacker is aware of the attack through intent, the intended victim or defender realises the attack only after it commences. “Therefore, a trained human response is worked upon on a daily-basis. With this, gradually it becomes the second nature of a person to react without fear and execute the required defence and counter attack,” says Vaz.
She says traditional martial arts are based on concepts, which do not apply to modern-day sudden attacks. They are designed just for competitions. According to her, a trained response in Krav Maga needs focus, determination and aggression to deter/break the will of the attacker, by inflicting pain to him.
“It is a self-defence mechanism that can be practiced by women of all ages. Age was never a factor that stopped me. Instead, I became more conscious about my wellbeing. Even, we have women from around the globe undergoing training at KMG,” says Vaz, who started training at the age of 40.
For Indian women, she says, confidence-building starts back in school. Teens should take part in field or contact sports that have the threat of physical contact, where they can learn to tackle the attack fearlessly and confidently.
“There is a need to expose them to at least the medium-level of a system like Krav Maga. Kids should attend a minimum one-hour session per month, if not more. Besides, of the two PT sessions a week that most schools have, Krav Maga for both girls and boys should replace at least one,” she opines.
Most attacks are meant to control the victim, so that the attacker can do what he further intends to do, for instance, rob him or her. “So, most control-related attacks are regardless of the sex of the victim, and most Krav Maga techniques are meant for both males and females,” she says.
If a woman is expecting a very strong attack, she defends with equal force and tactics. Thus, reversing the process wherein the initial attacker would be the one fearing pain.
“I even train women in their office attires during corporate workshops. Due to long nails, some women cannot make a fist to punch, and we train them to strike with the palm’s heel. They are even allowed to poke or gorge the eye in extreme cases,” she adds.
Safety Tips For Women
Have faith in yourself. SMS the autorickshaw or bus number to your loved ones after boarding. Avoid going to deserted and dark areas. Never fall asleep in a public transport vehicle. Keep objects like geometry compass or kajal pencil handy to be used as weapons. Shout for help if needed. Never say ‘please don’t’ and sound like a victim, instead ‘go away!’. Be aggressive, but not hysterical or out of control. Always scan the area you find unsafe. In case of an attack, never stay on after making your defence, check the area and run away. Be alert in public places, listening to music on headphones while walking or waiting for public transport leads to being less aware of your surroundings.