For karate master Gopal Reddy, life has been all about the martial art form ever since he took it up on his father’s insistence when he was a Class VII student. Little did he know then that it would appeal to him so much that he’d not just make a career of it, but also turn it into his calling.
The 43-year-old is on a mission to empower women by sharing his knowledge with them. In fact, Gopal has already imparted training in self-defence to over 87,000 women over his 24 years as a teacher and aims to touch the 1 lakh mark soon.
“After interacting with women over the years, I have understood that despite being very intelligent, girls are low on confidence due to various factors in the society. That’s why I focus on training them. I wish to empower them, not as a favour, but because they deserve it,” explains the Karate master, who has almost 45 girls training with him at his GVR Karate Academy in Barkatpura.
Most of the girls participate in international tournaments and often return victorious. Interestingly, his daughters Amruta and Gana Santoshinee are world record holders and have won several National accolades, even as his son Avingna Venkat is getting into the groove now.
A trained mechanical engineer, what sets Gopal Reddy apart is the fact that he goes out of his way in a bid to ensure women are getting the knowledge they require to protect themselves. Almost all his camps are free, and he has dealt with women conductors of RTC, students from several government schools and colleges alongside conducting major camps.
“I am ready to serve for free if I can make some difference in people’s lives. Most of the times, I meet with reluctance from women, who ask me questions like ‘do we need it at this age?’,” he shares. Gopal’s sessions generally last for a little over two hours where he trains the participants in techniques to get out of tricky situations and the way to use “the 15 different weapons most women carry with them at all times”.
“No pepper spray can substitute what we can instinctively do to protect ourselves,” he concludes, even as he shares his excitement about a major camp he will be conducting on International Women’s Day next week....