In our culture, women are seen as the weaker sex. They get grabbed, taken down, threatened with a knife to the neck or a gun. Raped. Robbed. Killed. In most cases, they cannot fight back. Why?
Unaware of their surroundings, they do not how or when they lose control of the situation. And once someone threatens to attack, or attacks, the women are terrified. They freeze, unable to think or act. Their lack of confidence leads them to believe their smaller size means they cannot do anything.
To begin to counter this attitude and help them gain self-confidence, the Gulshan Karate Dojo in Dhaka on Friday evening organised the Women’s Self-Defense Seminar at its premises. A small class of seven students, myself included, took part with sensei Arif Rahman, chief instructor for Kyokushin karate, leading the class, aided by two long-time karate students Ricky and Sami.
The seminar was designed to make us aware of the best options to defend ourselves in any situation. We were introduced to our own best weapons, our body, which we can use on an attacker’s weak points. We also learned a few effective self-defence techniques following a workout session to energise us and boost our confidence.
According to sensei Arif, awareness is the first and most important key to defending oneself and preventing one from falling into a dangerous situation where one has no control. Being aware of the environment and people around.
Let’s say, if one has an odd feeling that something is not right, it probably isn’t right. For instance, someone suddenly lying down in front of one’s vehicle. Could even be the diversion leading to an attack.
Awareness could be as simple as keeping a bag tucked safely behind one’s legs on a rickshaw or keeping all doors in a vehicle locked at all times – driver, passenger, and the backseat – to keep someone from quickly sliding in and attacking from behind.
Second point to remember is to quickly evaluate the situation and act just as quickly in a cool, confident manner to regain control. Remember, one only has moments to turn the situation into one’s favour.
Instinctual reactions that work well include blocking an attack, screaming to get everyone’s attention, or running away, if one is able to get loose.
Attacking the attacker is the third line of defence. If one has to fight back, then one should do so in a way that catches the attacker by surprise. Bear in mind, if a woman is thought of as weak and scared, the attacker would not expect her to fight back. Therein lies her advantage.
Quick jabs, quick kicks, targeting weak nerve points of the body, grabbing back and pushing down, or throwing them off balance.
The element of surprise will always work in the woman’s favour to stun and disorient the attacker and give the woman time to break away and run.
The Gulshan Dojo plans to hold a self-defence seminar every month from August onward. So, check out their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/KarateDojoinGulshanDhaka) and website (gulshankarate.com) to see when the next seminar is.