After reading about the increase in the number of cases against women, 18-year-old Pritivi Chhabria was upset and wanted to do something about it.
Pritivi, who has been training karate for the past nine years, holds a first Dan Black Belt from the World Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Organization. “In a country like India where cases of gender violence are rising, out of which many go unreported, self-defence for women has become a necessity more than ever. We, as responsible citizens, often fail to realise that harassment against women can flare up into bigger heinous crimes against them. And that is when the importance of learning self-defence techniques for women is felt. Various studies have shown that criminals tend to choose their targets when they (the potential victim) are unaware of their surroundings. Hence, it is time that women became vigilant and totally aware of their surroundings. They should be aware of the strategies to be adopted under different adverse circumstances. I think karate definitely helps them,” says the youngster.
When Pritivi proposed the idea of training girl students the Japanese martial arts to his master, Kannan, he too was keen about the programme. The duo visited nearby schools and got permission to teach karate twice a week. Currently, they teach karate in five schools to more than 500 students.
“I strongly believe that every student should learn one form of martial arts. Not only it gives an individual self-confidence, but martial arts also help lead a healthy lifestyle. Practicing karate also helps to improve discipline and mental strength. Moreover, the best thing about karate is that it’s a fun workout,” he shares.
Through his initiative, the youngster also wanted to break gender stereotypes and tell the public that women are no longer the weaker’ gender. “It’s high time we dispelled gender myths like men are physically stronger and it is impossible to subdue them. Most people don’t understand that self-defense relies on the strength of the brain rather than brawn. Self-defense is primarily about being aware of warning signs, recognising dangerous situations so you can avoid them and understand that you are physically capable to fight back.”
Pritivi wanted to expand the programme to more schools and make every girl capable of defending herself.