Actor Akshay Kumar, currently busy completing work on projects like Rowdy Rathore and Oh My God! has consistently been promoting martial arts in the country. Last June, he had announced that he was in talks with government bodies in several states to include karate, judo, kung fu and other such fighting styles in school and college curricula.
Later that year, he even stated that Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi had agreed to make martial arts a mandatory subject in state’s schools.
“It’s been a long struggle because it’s a challenge to make changes in the existing education system. Hopefully by next year, I’ll have more schools in Gujarat and a couple of institutions in Mumbai involved,” beams Akshay, who has been organising a martial arts competition in Mumbai for three years now. “I want every child in India to have access to schools and private classes teaching martial arts. Until that happens, I won’t call it a day.”
The actor’s nine-year-old son Aarav is training professionally in martial arts too. However, Akshay doesn’t plan to push him to make a career out of it.
“Every kid in our country should be prepared for self-defence. In that manner, I don’t treat my child any differently. He’s training to be fit and healthy, and of course, defend himself whenever he needs to,” reasons Akshay. “In Singapore, for example, two or three years of army training is compulsory for everyone. Technically, every civilian there can double up as an army hand. I don’t think there’s any harm in preparing a generation of civilians in India to be trained in basic martial arts.”
Meantime, Akshay is already planning the next edition of The Akshay Kumar Karate Championship that’s likely to happen this October. Last year, he had invited kids from various Asian countries to participate. “It’s become a huge event now. I now plan to have knee-high fighters from other countries participating too,” he says, adding, “This year, we’ll extend the number of days for the contest and incorporate more categories so more kids can take part.”