Rorion Gracie, one of the most famous names in the world of martial arts, once said: “Self defense is not just a set of techniques; it’s a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are worth defending.”
Self-defense is not only a physical art but also a mental discipline that is important for everyone. It is crucial for women, who are often the target, to protect themselves from physical or psychological harm. Especially in a country like Nepal, where assailants often target women, they need to be empowered to take control of their safety, raise their voices, and use tools and techniques to defend themselves if necessary.
Many participants shared their stories of abuse and harassment. I learned that not only teenage girls but even mentors and teachers are harassed at school and college by other teachers. Even in their position as teachers, they could not take action and speak and feel sorry for many young teenagers who may be facing such situations. Many participants were courageous in sharing what they have been hiding inside themself for a long time. The problem of harassment is more common in public vehicles as many participants were already the victims.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, which is why the Rukmini Foundation organized five days of self-defense and life skill training for 42 participants, including scholars, staff, teachers, mentors, and girls from different local communities. The training goal was to build their confidence and assertiveness along with physical protection and life skills techniques to further roll out the training to the other youths and children from the community and local schools in their respective areas.
I have always liked physical exercise and self-defense techniques. Also, I took self-defense training a few years ago with the same trainer, so I was excited to be part of another group that would benefit from this program.
Two Lead trainers did the facilitation, Prakash Chand-self-defense and martial art trainer, and Binju Baral, a psychologist and social activist, with one supported co-trainer, Laxmi Shrestha, referee of the Nepal women’s football team. Several effective techniques and knowledge of Self-awareness, creative thinking, critical thinking, decision-making skills, problem-solving skills, Interpersonal skills, stress management skills, effective communication skills, emotion management skills, Negotiation skills, Self- defense techniques, physical exercise tips, meditation tips were covered during those five days training session, 7 hrs a day.
Physical Techniques learned
- The art of striking with the hand (12 techniques)
- The art of striking with legs (12 techniques)
- The art of defense in different situation-
- Someone holding you from behind with two hands on your waist
- A situation where someone grabs you from the front and tries to take you away
- A situation where someone grabs you from the front by the waist or shoulders
- Situations you may face at public vehicles
- Condition of hair pulling, slapping on the cheek, neck straining
- The situation where the opponent grabbed us by the hand and forcibly dragged away
- Technique to be safe in the situation of being attacked by two or more people.
Life Skills techniques learned:
- Different ice breaking techniques and games
- Relationship mapping to find trusted person for sharing
- Good touch and bad touch
- Physical, verbal and online Harassment and types
- Stress management
- Budget making
- Changes during teenage years
The training was conducted in a practical approach that helps in personality development. As a result, all participants become capable of delivering training with better knowledge, attitude, and skills required for training delivery and training management. Mock sessions were conducted on the last day of training where participants got a chance to practice facilitation, and each participant performed best and showed skills they learned. On the 4th day of training, inspector Ganesh Sapkota took a session of 1 hour where he shared the numbers to call on emergency, different laws for sexual harassment, the most common cases in our society, and the actions and voice that we should raise.
Mentors Srijana Poudel, Rupa Kunwar, and Bhuwaneshwori Karki said, “If we had received this kind of training in our teenage years, we would have taken action against the harassment that we faced at that age.” Manju Waiba, an RF scholar who travels more than an hour to attend college on a public bus, said, “Now I can travel confidently, and I am not afraid anymore to speak if something wrong happens.” Roshani Rumba, RF Graduate, tutor, and mentor in her community, said: “Many bahinis share their feelings with me. And many times their personal stories (about harassment) leaves me speechless. I just used to listen. But now, I can train the girls for their safety and guide them for the steps they can take. I can also raise my voice in many situations.” An RF staff, Sabina, said, “I thought this training was going to effective only to the teenage girls and especially required for them, but after taking training, my perception changed totally, seeing the participants opening up their cases and seeing them confident, I feel like not only to the teenage girls but this type of training should involve women of every age group. “
RF team Nepal is delighted with the positive change they see in participants; their interest and commitment encourage carrying this training further. According to the review taken from all participants, this was the unique and most necessary training ever received, and they are ready to deliver what they learned. This type of session should especially be done at school as a school can be a hostile environment for young girls. The fear of being harassed or worse can prevent girls from attending school at all. Self-defense training is essential in encouraging girls to attend and feel safe in school. The next phase is on the way to training girls in school with the trainers produced by this training.
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