Live Mint Newspaper
There was a time when I was far bolder than I am today. I was well known in my daily bus route to school for whacking a man who was harassing me. It wasn’t a hard one, but it embarrassed him enough to get off the bus. Years later, I find myself just gaping in shock when strangers brush past me intentionally and so did a girl friend when she was sexually harassed by a fellow press person on ride to a common assignment. We call it temporary paralysis, and most women (and even men) I know have been there at a point.
[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] Two years ago, I enrolled into a kickboxing class conducted by a girl, a year my junior from college. Bangalore at the point was just recovering from the threats of the Shree Ram Sene, girls were being attacked on the roads for wearing western clothes. It was all quite worrying and unsettling. And though I hadn’t had any such personal experiences other than the odd skirmish with an auto driver, I knew enough friends who had.
Inspired by the confidence and energy of the said junior from college, I signed up. The class included training to kick, tackle, release yourself if a man grabs your hands and all those things that one might only dream of doing when in a situation like that. I couldn’t go through with my kickboxing lessons dues to a shift in homes, but a recent story assignment took me to a Krav Maga class in Bangalore.
Franklin Joseph, the instructor was delighted at the sight of a female entrant in his all male class that afternoon. "Have you ever tried self defense class" he asked even before introducing himself. I gave him the Indian nod, not sure if two months of kickboxing qualified.
Without warning he grabbed my hand and asked me to release myself. Outraged and severely embarrassed in front of all those men, I twisted till my wrists hurts and looked for mercy. Letting go, he asked me grab his wrist. With all my strength I wrapped my fingers around his thick wrist which was free in less than a second.
"It’s not a strength thing, it is technique," he proclaimed.
Truly enough in the next few minutes I was taught how to release my hands if my left hand is grabbed, and a different method for my right and also how to free myself if someone held me to a wall and held my neck. Beaming and exhilarated, I felt like confidence central.
"But you have to be alert enough to anticipate an attack and remember the technique," came the conditions apply bit. He was right, had this happened on a street, I would have just frozen. "So if I do remember how, I just run?" I asked. "Well if you wait to think about hitting him, he’ll get you again, so yes run or find help," he advised.
Most girls who go to his class, detest hurting other people physically and hesitate to deliver a punch or kick someone in the groin. Most of them discontinue lessons and go back to hoping that it will never happen to them. "Sadly a lot of violence onwomen comes from their boyfriends, friends, husbands and even brothers," he says adding with some sadness that there is no question of convincing them hit relatives who hurt them.
But what taking a class does do, is that it adds a sense of confidence. And this applies to men as well. Truly enough, I had begun my fifteen minute training session with tugging at my shirt and adjusting my hair on being asked to perform in front of 30 odd people, but that didn’t last for long. I walked out of the interview promising myself to comeback.
It is another thing that Krav Maga is an intense Israeli combat technique that is physically demanding, so if I do go back I should be ready to throw some punches, do some squats and receive some injuries when training, but it is a thought that has been weighing on my mind.
Krav Maga, a self-defence technique developed in Israel, literally means ‘contact combat’ or ‘close combat‘. Relying on human instincts, this hand-to-hand combat involves wrestling, boxing, grappling and striking techniques. With traces of street fighting techniques, Krav Maga is easy to adapt and reproduce.
"Krav Maga is a form of self-defence that deals with realistic scenarios where there are no rules. It deals with prevention from threat, psychological buildup to empowerment, verbal self-defence, soft and hard tactical defence against eve-teasing, groping, molestation and rape. It is an instant realisation and reaction to an action or attack," says Franklin Joseph, instructor, Israeli Krav Maga Self-Defence in Richmond Town. Franklin is the only Krav Maga instructor in Bangalore.
According to Franklin Joseph, this art of close combat was developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, a trained boxer and wrestler in Bratislava in order to help protect the local Jewish community during the German military invasion.
Krav Maga trains one to be ready for any lethal situation regardless of age, size, strength and fitness. "The common attack targets in Krav Maga are chin, groin, throat, eyes jaw and knee. If you are attacked from the back and choked, you will not waste time resisting, instead when pushed back you’ll raise your foot to attack his groin," he continues.
Krav Maga is popular because there are no esoteric martial art techniques that are put to use. Instinctive punches and kicks used in natural self-defence are polished.Krav Maga is an excellent fitness routine and helps in building stamina, confidenceand also helps to burn those extra calories. Many law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies like the FBI have adopted it.
[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] The Bangalore chapter of Krav Maga has trained around 300 people —among them men, women and children. For Kunga Uuangyal, 28, who is a student at the Krav Maga Self Defence, this art of close combat has pushed him beyond his limits, both physical and psychological.
"Learning this art form for more than two and a half years has been a huge help in building confidence. I now know how to react to situations that need quick thinking and action," says Kunga.
"The fitness routine followed in Krav Maga is very intense. The workouts and exercises could be strenuous for a girl but constant resistant practice has equipped me with techniques to defend myself and I’m not scared of walking alone on the roads," says Urvashi Raizada, 18, another student.
Stephanie Steiger, mother of a five-year-old is amazed to see drastic changes in her daughter Sanara’s attitude. "She is confident, she enjoys it and is ready to startle all the big boys with her defence moves," says Steiger.
After a relative lull, the city was shaken once again with the gangrape of a 24-year-old Jharkhand girl, before she was mugged, kidnapped and kept captive (for 14 hours). The MBA graduate was returning home near the swish Electronic City. The incident once again raises serious questions about women‘s safety, especially at night. It was only in 2005, a BPO employee Prathibha was raped and killed in Bangalore.
[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] As the city grows, the risks are increasing, too. What if tomorrow you find yourself face-to-face with some scum of the earth? Can you save yourself? "Yes you can," says Franklin Joseph an instructor of krav-maga, "by using simple objects which women usually carry with them." But no matter what you do, scream as loudly as possible, say Franklin.
The first of a two-part series.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Umbrella
- Use the umbrella to jab it on his venerable points like eyes, throat or groin. Keep poking it till you get some distance between you two.
- Avoid hitting him with the umbrella like you would with a club, which he can easily block with his hands, so jab him.
- Seek weak spots like groin. Jab or swing the umbrella in a straight line, hitting the testicles.
- Flip open the umbrella as the last option, when you are ready to escape.
- Avoid hitting chest, head or arms (because that way it becomes easy for the attacker to grab you). Do not try to grapple or push him as you will get tired very soon.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Mobile phone
- This is a very effective tool as most women carry it in their hands. But avoid talking on the phone or texting while walking on the road or towards your car as you are distracted and can become easy targets.
- Jab the phone into his eyes and throat. Avoid hitting the attackers head or upper body, since this will put you in close proximity to the attacker making it easier for him to grab you.
- The bridge of the nose is a very sensitive spot. So, hit that area with your phone.
- If the hand is caught up near his groin, jab at his groin.
- Always call for help once you flee the spot.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Spectacles/ Glares
- They are a soft tool that might break on contact. But it can still be used as a weapon.
- If its sharp edge is open, then use it to jab into the eyes.
- If it is closed, it still can be used as a jabbing tool. Aim for the eyes, throat, ribs or groin. Anywhere else it would not be effective enough for him to let go.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Watch
- Not an effective tool as women usually wear small and thin watches. Even a bigger one is not very effective. Nevertheless, one can combine it with one’s fist.
- Use the hard surface of the watch and hit the temples or the nose.
- Constantly use the free hand to poke his eyes or throat and keep hitting him till he hides his face with his hands.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Stilettos
- Heels hamper you from running. But if you are wearing it, use it to jab the person. But make sure you are stomping his foot or knee and not the ground, which might lead to ankle sprain or fracture adding to your woes.
- If he grabs you from behind, use your pointed heels to jab his feet. Avoid trying to hit his groin or shin because you might lose your balance, leaving you at a vulnerable position.
- If he grabs you from the front, kick his groin with your knee and then use that split second to jab the groin with the sharp heels.
- Use a straight line directly to his groin
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Keys
- It is the most effective sharp object that can be used as a jabbing tool. Aim for the eyes, throat and ribs.
- It is very important that you jab the attacker multiple times and do not stop until he lets go.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Hair Clip
- Silppery, it is not a very effective tool. But anyway one can use it for poking at throat, eyes and ribs.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Water bottle
- Can work as a distraction tool along with other items like umbrella or keys.
- If there is time, open it and spray water on his face.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Hand bag
- Swing it into his face instantly in a vertical straight path.
- Swing it in a horizontal path only to create some distance.
- You can also slash it into his groin in a vertical straight path.
- If caught, leave the bag aside and run away. Do not struggle, trying to grab it back.
Franklin Joseph Self Defense advise with Pen
- Pen is a great weapon for self-defence. It’s small and strong and can be used for its sharp edge also. Again go for his eyes, throat, groin and nose.
Times of India Newspaper
Yesterday, we explained how women can use simple things to counter attack when in danger. In the concluding part of our series, Krav-Maga expert Franklin Joseph tells you how to arm yourself if you get caught in precarious situations. Be it on a crowded street, at your workplace, or even in a cab on your way back home.
Franklin Joseph Situation 1
[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] You are walking on the road and suddenly a car stops, few men grab you and try to pull you in….
If they grab your hands
- Do not get into a push-pull situation as they would be stronger than you and could overpower you.
- Bend down a bit and stand on your side with your legs little wider apart so that they would take more time to pull you in. Do not face them or away from them where you are most likely to lose balance.
- Use your other hand to grab your own fist and push your elbow towards him, twisting your hand.
- After you are free, you can hit him on his face with a closed fist.
If they hold your clothes or purse
- Use your knuckles (like you are knocking on the door) to hit the palm of the person.
- Do not try to hold on to your duppata or purse if they grab it, let go of them and run away.
If they hold you close
- Hit the groin if your arms are caught up.
- Stomp his feet.
Franklin Joseph Situation 2
If the men have managed to bundle you into the car and pin you down…
- Always try rolling to your side so that you will be in a position to kick theculprits.
- Keep kicking and try to crawl out of the other side of the door.
- Use the seat inside the car as the tool to lie down and kick hard repeatedly while look for things like pen, rolled-up magazines or anything hard inside the car that can be used as a jabbing tool.
- Aim for the driver’s eyes or try twisting his head or pressing his nose so that he could stop/slow down the vehicle.
When you are walking on a busy street and two men try to grope you.
- Always keep your purse or bag closer to your chest while walking through a crowded street.
- If you manage to catch the person, always shout and scream, but do not hurl abuses at him or slap him else it would just create a scene and you might end up in a worst situation.
- If he is in front of you and you can see a hand approaching, you can immediately use your palm to push against his neck’s cervical esophagus area, which is very soft, which can choke up the person.
Franklin Joseph Situation 4
You are travelling in an auto rickshaw in a secluded stretch and suddenly the autorickshaw stops and two men barge in.
- If two men are trying to get in, immediately start kicking one of the person’s knees or groin. Use your hands to jab the other person’s eyes or throat. Use your palm to hit his chin.
- If the auto-driver grabs you from his seat then roll to the side and use your legs to kick his face.
- If they have a weapon, and are asking for money, give them what they want. Do not abuse them and do not plead, beg or cry. Put up a confident front, but don’t try to threaten them.
- Try to isolate these guys and then plan your escape by attacking one of them.
Franklin Joseph Situation 5
You are the last passenger travelling in your call centre cab. The driver suddenly stops and pounces on you.
- If the driver grabs you from his seat, then use your legs to kick his face. There is enough space in the backseat of the car for you to lie down and kick with much force. Scream loudly as you are hitting him.
- Lie down on the side which will prevent him from jumping on you.
- If he grabs you, use your legs to kick his groin or knees
- If he’s managed to get on top of you, use your hands to jab his eyes or throat.
- Avoid sleeping in the car. A driver would notice that and would use it one day against you. Avoid calling or talking too much about your personal life — first you are giving away too much information about your life and he might assume few things about you which might not be true and secondly, while talking on phone you are not aware of your surroundings.
Franklin Joseph Situation 6
You are working late in the office and there isn’t a soul around. Suddenly somebody creeps up on you…
- Scream as loud as possible. If he clamps your mouth shut, use your strength to pull the hand down by leaning onto his hand with your body weight.
- Bite hard.
- Bend down slightly so that you can stamp on his feet with the heels of your shoes and then run.
- If he tries to grab you by the waist then or smother you from behind, bend down slightly so that he cannot lift you easily.
- Stomp hard on this feet and then hit him on the groin. When folds up in pain, use your elbows to hit hard on his chin.
- Use any tools you might have like pen, keys or umbrella to hit him in his eyes, throat or ribs. Scream and shout seeking attention from others.
Franklin Joseph Situation 7
You see your friend being dragged into the car by three men…
- Do not try to grab your friend’s hand which would only prevent her from fighting back. Instead attack the guy. Go for his eyes, throat, thumb and groinareas. Do not hurl abuses or try to slap.
- Try to concentrate on the facial features of the attacker like scar, the shape of his moustache and eyes brows. Write down the car number. Avoid crying or panicking as that would erase or cloud your memory. Call the cops.
Dr B L Gangadhar, HOD, Psychiatry, NIMHAMS and krav-maga instructorFranklin Joseph say:
- When you are being attacked, scream and create a scene to attract attention.
- Instead of screaming ‘help, help’ scream, ‘rape, rape‘. The latter invokes more sympathy of the bystanders.
- If someone grabs you, you can’t (possibly) beat them with strength, but you can do it by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker between the elbow and armpit or the upper inner thigh.
- After the initial hit, always go for the groin.
- When the guy puts his hands on you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure.
- Take a crash course in self-defence, martial arts or boxing. Carry pepper spray.
Profile of a rapist
When women are attacked they face moderate or high levels of involuntary paralysis during the assault, as it happens suddenly. It is violent and very stressful to her, thus shutting her mind down. "To some of the assailants, this action acts as an acknowledgement of consent from the woman," says Ottilie Anban Kumar, Psychological Counsellor, Life Coach and Motivational Speaker. Assailants can generally be grouped into following categories:
Around 44 per cent of all accused are in this category, where they will use a weapon to ensure the victim‘s co-operation.
Here perpetrator is actually out to punish women as they hate women in general. Around 30 per cent of them belong to this category.
This is done in conjunction with another crime such as burglary, robbery or kidnapping. Around 10 per cent.
The most vicious type, this type of culprits want the victim to be hurt or killed afterrape. Fortunately, only five per cent fall into this category.
You could be petite or small-built, but never underestimate what your body can actually do. And that goes even for the women. The world isn’t getting any safer and one of the best ways to protect oneself is to learn a form of art that will come handy when you’re in trouble. From judo, karate, kick-boxing, kalari — there are plenty of options. Even a form that has its roots far away in Israel like Krav Magais fast-gaining popularity in Bangalore.
[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] Krav Maga enables you to defend yourself without having to use a weapon. Franklin Joseph, a certified instruction, has been training 200 people and most of his students are women. “It is important forwomen to learn this more than the men as they can defend themselves better during a blind-attack situation as they kick and punch their way through the brawl. This form of martial art also instills confidence and improves a person’s body language,” he says.
Many women have secured themselves from the fear of being attacked and harassed by kicking and punching away in Krav Maga style. Franklin Joseph has been trained by Vicky Kapoor, chief instructor, Krav Maga, India, who has also trained Abhay Deol for his upcoming film.
“My tryst with Krav Maga began while I was living alone in Delhi, since it was an unsafe city. It was when I met a few army officers who told me about this martial art that I developed a passion towards it and finally turned into my profession,” says Franklin Joseph.
There is no specific criterion required to learn Krav Maga and Franklin Josephsays, “There is no strength factor involved in this form. Krav Maga does not mean getting into a fight. Instead, it works as a stress buster that helps you get away from it.”
Time Out Bengaluru Magazine
I began my first session at the Bangalore centre of the International Krav MagaFederation, more than a little apprehensive about grappling with full-grown men. I was told that this form of combat relies heavily on attacking the groin, face and knee. And I had these decidedly martial terms – "combat tactics" and "neutralising real-life threats" running through my head.
A few minutes of cardio, and landing punches and kicks on a punching bag later, I was hoicked to my knees, and given the street brawl perspective. The grips and choke holds were real enough to release my clutches on any kind of ladylike decorum.
Jagriti Jain, 18, a fashion design student shedding sweat next to me, pointed out, "Krav Maga is not high on glam. You’re not going to look like Charlie’s Angels."
It didn’t take long for me to realise that it’s not about strength or size, but wits and technique, being pitted against your opponent. There’s no room for inhibition when the idea is to knock the stuffing out of you.
Franklin Joseph, the instructor, who is 36, has a theory on how martial arts are toKrav Maga what a Ferrari is to a Humvee. "The Ferrari may be a finely tuned machine designed for peak performance on the racetracks, but it is useless on sand dunes. A Humvee is built for any situation. So for real combat, Krav Maga is more relevant and practical," he said.
[PowertoWomen.in] [Post] Krav Maga, a relatively new fighting style, wasn’t created to tackle street brawls. Developed as a hand-to-hand combat system to take on the invading Nazis in Poland, it was later adopted by the Israeli armed forces.
The military influence is obvious, just into my first session, it felt like I was in boot camp from hell – I was flat out on the floor exhausted – and I had two-and-a-half hours more to go. Franklin Joseph explained that tiring the body forces you to rely on reflex and instinct. At the time, my reflex and instinct were begging me to get medieval on Franklin.
Krav Maga is not a competitive sport and is unlike martial arts, which were born at a time and place where honour was integral to battle. Gillan Divecha, 41, who is trained in karate, said: "You don’t need years of training to be able to use this when it counts. Martial arts tell you to avoid human areas of weakness, but Krav Magahas no hard rules. You had better strike at a vulnerable point if you want to get out alive."
"Getting attacked and saying, ‘oh, I didn’t learn this!’ will not save you," added Franklin Joseph, getting us into role-play with dummy knives, guns and sticks. As bodyguards, we had to perceive threat, despite distractions, and as assassins we were given lessons on thinking on our feet. The victims, we learned, are forced to think of creative solutions to counter a situation, and to improvise using available resources when taken unawares.
Bruised and aching at the end of the gruelling session, I definitely wasn’t a pretty sight. Franklin left us by saying it was always better toavoid a conflict situation whenever possible. This is not fuel for a macho fantasy
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