BENGALURU: A young martial arts practitioner is teaching karate and self-defence to girls studying in government schools.
Apurva Nidgundi launched the initiative at a government school because she thinks students at such schools are more vulnerable than those in private schools.
A karate student for eight years, Apurva started teaching in August 2014. “My idea was supported by my coach Renshi Sunil Kumar and my friends at a karate institute. They come with me to teach the children,” says the Class 12 student of Greenwood High School.
Her team now covers government schools in Varthur, Munnekolal and Gunjur.
“The girls say their confidence has gone up, besides their ability to defend themselves,” says Apurva, who holds a third degree black belt in karate.
She is currently training 1,800 girls in various schools. The programme is divided into various modules to raise awareness, understand body language and prepare for attacks.
Students learn striking, blocking and evasion techniques, are receive tips on a healthy lifestyle. They also get to see advanced karate techniques, including katas (elaborate patterns).
“I read newspaper reports to the girls. I tell them that the attacker is also a human, and one can tackle him easily with the right move,” Apurva says.
She believes prevention is better any day. “I ask girls to avoid narrow lanes. I teach them how to call for help if in trouble. They are also aware of the helplines they can call,” she explains.
Apurva hopes one day the schools can sustain the training with the help of girls who are now being trained. She also dreams of taking self-defence to every woman in the city by conducting classes for them.
Nirbhaya And After Among the things 2015 will be remembered for is the new law to prosecute juvenile criminals. The law now says juveniles between 16 and 18 years will be tried as adults for serious crimes like rape or murder.
However, the juvenile convicted for the violent rape of Jyoti Pandey, also called Nirbhaya, got away with just a three-year sentence.
Continued crimes have kept the spotlight on the vulnerability of women, and the need for multiple strategies, including self-defence, to keep them safe.