VELLORE: “Exciting”, “confidence booster”, reacted the 400-plus girl students of Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) as they took part in the first session of a 7-week Self-Defence course on Saturday. The VIT has made it compulsory for first-year girl students to learn Self Defence as part of the curriculum.
Dr Narayanan, pro Vice Chancellor, said, “The course was offered as option last year, and has been made compulsory for all freshers this year, especially those staying in hostels, thanks to the initiative taken by Vice President Sekar Viswanathan.” He added that the university is planning to extend the course to day scholars and boys as well.
Dr Sumathi, course coordinator and deputy director of hostels, said the training sessions will take place during weekends without interrupting classes. This semester, around 800 girl students (all freshers) residing in hostels would undergo training and it would be extended to senior students next semester. The students would be given a course completion certificate at the end of the seven week training, she added.
Pointing out that VIT is the first university to train its girl students, S Sreeram, head of Chennai-based Urban Self Defence, said, “The technique is based on Israeli Krav Maga System that uses the weakness of the opponent’s body. This is a practical street-smart self-defence method for the common man or woman having average fitness. Unlike traditional martial arts, which require years of training, Krav Maga prepares you in a short duration for street reality. It is not about strength, but making use of common sense to protect oneself.”
Further, Sreeram said the course teaches about avoiding dangerous situations and confronting such situations. It also covers anger management, use of simple objects around to protect self, and de-escalate dangerous confrontation, etc.
“We also teach how to identify victims of child sexual assault, sensitisation of men, legal implications of sexual harassment, so that it would be useful when they take up jobs,” he observed.