Deccan Chronicle

How to throw a punch

Deccan Chronicle| elizabeth thomas

Published on: January 15, 2018 | Updated on: January 15, 2018

Lubaina Kalari Sangam conducts self-defense class named Pink Shield for girls in schools and colleges across Kochi.

Students of St Teresa's College in Kochi taking defense lessons. (Photo: SUNOJ NINAN MATHEW)

Students of St Teresa's College in Kochi taking defense lessons. (Photo: SUNOJ NINAN MATHEW)

‘Who will protect women?’ is one question that echoes in our society these days. The ideal solution is women equipping themselves with self-defense mechanisms rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them. Pink Shield, a free self-defense campaign launched by Lubaina Kalari Sangam in Kochi, works towards achieving it. The four-member team of the sangam – Abdul Jaleel Gurukkal, Mujeeb Rahman, Capt Vineed Vincent and Sherin Susan— travels to schools and colleges to teach women important self-defense techniques. Hailing from different walks of life, they do this campaign out of passion.

"Our intention is to generate a spark in women," says Vineed. "We have been giving self-defense classes for women in our Kalari. However, participation started reducing over time. Hence, we decided to go to their place and teach them."   

They first approached the Govt. Girls High School in Ernakulam South. That interaction had been a revelation to the team. "We were shocked to know that our girls don’t even know the basic defense mechanisms. They are very innocent. So, we reworked our venture, which began as an initiative to popularise Kalari among women. We shifted our focus to teaching them defense techniques. Our idea is to encourage women to learn any martial art," explains Vineed.

Started in July, 2017, the team has so far visited eight institutions. Their one-hour class basically answers three questions – What is self-defense? Why do we need this? How to do it? "For the first question, we usually get at least a bleak answer. No girl gives us a proper answer to the second question. Martial arts help us control our fears, which is our biggest enemy," he says. "We first tell the students about us and then teach them a few basic techniques like what to do if someone catches them from behind. Once the demonstration begins, the crowd will have queries. The rest of the sessions will be in tune with the crowd’s demands. We do it in one hour because students will lose interest if the session gets too long."

Pink Shield also tells students to practice the techniques for a minimum of 21 days so that their muscles would get the reflex. "Pink refers to women and shield refers to protection. We tell them to protect themselves," says Vineed.  Though Pink Shield gets enquiries from places outside Ernakulam, they find it difficult to move around. They hope more people would join their venture and spread it to every nook and corner of Kerala.

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