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More takers for self-defence

After 26/11 attack, more people are signing up to learn kickboxing, reports Soubhik Mitra.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2009 01:24 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Through the week, Satish Nair helps software developers make user-friendly programmes for the bank he works with.

On the weekend, the 33-year-old business analyst learns how to duck from a flying grenade and defend himself from hoodlums as part of his Krav Maga lessons, which teach the Israeli hand-to-hand combat art.

After November’s terror attack in Mumbai, several professionals like Nair have begun training in martial arts like Krav Maga and kickboxing.

“Your confidence grows manifold. It teaches you to hold your nerve in a panic situation,” said Nair.

The Mumbai chapter of International Krav Maga Federation received 93 applicants in the four days after the terror attacks.

“Slowly people are taking charge of their own safety,” said Ajit Verma, one of the chief instructors with the federation.

Kavita Pai (30), a chartered accountant, invests a few hours a week learning to defend herself. “I finish work at around 10 pm. A month after joining the course, I feel far more safe.”

Paul Devassy travels all the way from his residence in Nerul to Bandra to attend training sessions. News reports claiming that the police were not fully trained to tackle such an attack had disturbed Devassy.

Dr. Komal V.S., deputy director of the Andheri-based Academy of Combat Fitness, said, “We have witnessed a 25 per cent surge in enrolment after the terror attack.”

The kickboxing association, which runs courses in Bandra, Lokhandwala, Matunga and Goregoan, has witnessed a 50 per cent surge in enrolment. “Earlier, our students, especially women, would consider this as a fitness option. However, the batches since the terror strike are more interested to learn combat techniques. Women aged between 20 and 40 years have enrolled for the courses,” said Ziauddin Khatib, president of the Indian Kickboxing Association.

Some hotels and business processing outsourcing companies, too, have hired the services of these institutes. “Two hotels contacted us recently. We conduct these courses for BPOs too,” said Verma.