COVID-19 pandemic has surely changed the lives of many, and Anamika Singh Kalsi is one of them. The 2020 Delhi State Karate champion was confident about winning the National Championship in April 2020 after selections but it was put on hold due to the pandemic.
She also had plans to attempt trials for Olympic qualifications, but that will have to wait too. Since the pandemic began, Kalsi has been taking online self-defence classes, which she begins in the morning at 6:30 and ends at 7:30 in the evening – 12 classes per day on zoom for 6 to 50-year-olds, both men and women.
“My life revolves around martial arts – I do Karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA. I am now thinking of participating in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA competitively,” she says.
The 32-year-old mother of two is positive about the future. In an interview, Kalsi, Director & Trainer at Sanshinkan Martial Arts (Gurugram), talks about the importance of learning self-defence for an individual, her life and association with the Haryana Police. Excerpts:
How important is learning self-defence for an individual, and which age is apt to begin this learning?
Self-defence is a combination of knowledge, confidence and technique, and karate is a form of martial arts that helps develop body and spirit. It equips you with the tools to defend yourself without weapons. Criminals seek to attack easy prey, and hence spot weak targets like children, women and senior citizens.
So, everyone must learn self-defence as a life skill. The good thing there is no age bar or special diet needed for learning self-defence. One can learn it at any age.
Why is martial arts not popular in India?
It is due to lack of awareness. Most people are unaware of the multiple benefits of martial arts training, be it physical, psychological or spiritual.
How and when did you get interested in martial arts and where did you train?
I got curious about martial arts during one of my visits to a nearby park at the age of eight. The journey which took off back then has taken me around the globe — competing, training and becoming one of the highest ranked female karatekas in India. But it wasn’t easy reaching where I have. There were many problems, the most important one being a girl child. It was neither accepted by society nor by my family, but my mother always stood by me.
I can never thank her enough. After winning my first championship, I realised I could do wonders in this sport. Most of my training has been with my coach and husband Yashpal Singh Kalsi. I have also worked with some of the world’s best academies and organisations.
Tell us about your association with the Haryana Police and the self-defence training imparted to women.
My husband, Yashpal Singh Kalsi and I work closely with DGP Sheel Madhur. I have held multiple training sessions for the staff of Haryana Police Academy in Madhuban and have trained over 10,000 working women in Gurugram.
I also regularly take self-defence lectures and workshops for the corporate community in and around Delhi and Gurugram. We hold online training sessions for karate, boxing, kickboxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
When and how did Sanshinkan India, Gurugram come up. How many centres are there as of now?
Sanshinkan International was established in Stockholm, Sweden in 1964, while Sanshinkan India took off in 2007. As of now, we have 14 affiliated centres, run by our own trained and experienced coaches.