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Last Updated Sunday February 23 2020 11:08 AM IST

Hope for harassed women: give those perverts a nasty surprise with Krav Maga

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Scared by Bengaluru video? Krav Maga can ensure your safety Krav Maga training for women.

What could the Bengaluru girl, the CCTV footage of whose assault on New Year's Eve just outside her home shocked the nation, have possibly done to foil her attackers? Don't get us wrong. We are not talking about hiding women away within the four walls so they are not assaulted by sickos. Rather, what was it that the woman could have realistically done to escape harm on the street? It's a question that is top of the mind for many women today, and their parents.

A common reaction from the people who watched the clip of the assault was, “it happened so fast, what could she have done?” Even if the girl, let's say, was trained on a martial art form like Karate or Judo, the speed of the assault, and a woman's natural deficit in physical strength would have meant she couldn't have done much to save herself. Perhaps resistance would have risked provoking the attackers to become more brutal. Unless one of those onlookers far away dared to intervene – a highly unlikely scenario.

Well, we spoke to a Krav Maga expert and he told us all those common assumptions are, basically, bull. Women trained in this Israeli self-defense method, which means contact combat in Hebrew, can – and do – successfully avoid or fight themselves out of such assaults.

This is not a plug for Krav Maga but there is a reason we chose to speak to Rajan Varghese, an internationally certified expert who offers self-defense training at his International Martial Arts Academy at Thrippunithura in Kochi. Because, unlike the other so-called martial arts, which have proved time and again inadequate in real-life situations, Krav Maga was designed for self-defense – and precisely for such situations.

Scared by Bengaluru video? Krav Maga can ensure your safety Rajan Varghese

The basic principle of Krav Maga is “your defense is your responsibility.” Take heart. You, the woman under attack, alone matter here, and you – all by yourself – can thwart those attackers. Onlookers who are too scared, or have lost the humanity, to intervene don't matter.

Also Read | Krav Maga: A fighting chance

Varghese says there is a spike in enquiries about his training programs from parents of girls working in Bangalore whenever such an incident is reported on media.

Now, watch this video of the assault and see the three mistakes the woman made before the assault developed, as Varghese explains.

You can scroll further down to watch some easy-to-do Krav Maga techniques she could have used to get out of the danger.

Krav Maga was developed by Hungarian boxer Imi Lichtenfeld to combat the Nazis who used to raid his neighborhood before world war II. He found his boxing training was of no use in those life-or-death fights. Post war, the Israeli defense forces developed Krav Maga and fine-tuned it into what it is today.

Varghese says the superiority of Krav Maga is because it follows no rules – except one: defend yourself. There are no intricate, scripted steps to learn; no months and years of training required to perfect those steps. What you get are simple techniques to unsettle and stun the attacker and flee the scene to safety.

Scared by Bengaluru video? Krav Maga can ensure your safety | Video Krav Maga training by Rajan Varghese

Krav Maga students make use of whatever they have for self-defense: nails, fingers, teeth, stilettos – even shouting for help at the top of their voice. And speed. And alertness. Pay attention to that last word: Varghese says Krav Maga students are trained to be alert to their surroundings, to scan the surroundings for potential dangers – like, for instance, an approaching bike or car in a lonely and dark street.

Being alert to potential dangers enable you to react faster, even to prevent the threat from developing – by simply fleeing.

Yes, physical fitness is needed. But you don't have to wait for years to learn those martial arts steps and feel vulnerable till then – and perhaps even after mastering all that with so much effort. Incidentally, Varghese's wife Tesney is also a Krav Maga expert.

Varghese says you can pick up some simple Krav Maga techniques to suit your need even in a 2-hour workshop. And perfect them through self-practice.

There are Krav Maga techniques for every need and every situation. Those needed against an attacker on the street are not the ones commandos need on the battlefield, or cops need for crowd control. And these techniques are constantly being developed, improved upon based on the needs that arise for various people in evolving security situations. Unlike in martial arts, where those steps that were developed and frozen probably centuries back.

Varghese demonstrated to us what the girl could have done once the attack itself developed – all of which involve simple techniques that will stun and unsettle the attacker, giving the victim time to flee to the relative safety of the better-lit main road where she got down from the autorickshaw and where there could be more people – even if the attackers friends were among the crowd they wouldn't be so bold to stop her when more people are around. Or flee to a house nearby. Or flee and shout for help.

Watch the videos and the photo sequences here. Perhaps they will inspire you to become a Krav Maga student too.

1. The assailant blocks the girl – she catches hold of his arm, kicks him hard on the groin and runs away.

  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

Note: She is not standing and fighting but running to safety in the time she bought with her quick reaction.

2. The assailant tries to hold her but is kneed on the groin, and the girl is far away by the time he recovers

  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

3. Another option is to jab your fingers into his eyes, force him away hard and escape.

  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

4. The two assailants try to drag the girl to their scooter, but she bites one hard, punches the other and makes good her escape while he and his scooter falls to the ground.

  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense
  • Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

    Simple Krav Maga techniques for self-defense

These are real-life techniques taught to Krav Maga students to escape from sudden, dangerous situations.

By the way, let's not be under any illusion: these techniques can only go so far – things will not change unless we as a society force the authorities to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward those who attack women. And that involves even those who try to justify those attacks by invoking social mores from the dark ages of humankind's past. If India needs to progress, it can do so only by giving respect – and safety – to its women.

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