In today's world of increasing uncertainty on the roads and different places people visit, it is important to be vigilant about the environment and know the techniques to protect oneself. Self-defence is becoming important nowadays, but sadly, there are a few established institutes or organisations providing self-defence education in our country.
To know more about this, Shaha Rakesh Nishan interviewed Edward Francis Gomes, an authorised instructor of Tactical Krav Maga Bangladesh. He discussed the importance of self-defence and shared his experiences.
Question (Q): Why is learning self-defence in Bangladesh important for all?
Answer (A): Anyone anywhere in the world can face a tense situation. Let us remember the unfortunate incident at Holy Artisan. Could anyone of us anticipate this? No, we could not.
Consider the example of a natural disaster that may happen anywhere. We assume that we will not be facing it or plan to act accordingly when it happens. However, the truth is, not knowing how to act in such situations, can cause casualties. It is better to take preventive measures and be ready to face unavoidable circumstances.
Usually, it is a human tendency that until or unless something happens to our loved ones or us, we do not take it seriously. Self-defence is perceived to be about only fighting and this lack of awareness and knowledge creates confusion in life. It is not only about just preparing for fights when you are under attack, but also about understanding the gravity of the situation, taking preventive measures and if necessary, defend yourself and your dear ones.
The bigger part of self-defence training is about mental readiness, conditioning and street smartness. The attackers will always have support and they might be armed. You must be able to decide whether to run or give the things away or fight back. we say, if you can't prevent it, avoid, if you can't avoid it, defuse, if you can't defuse it, escape, if you can't escape, then fight.
It is always better to give things away. Always try to avoid these situations, if it is possible. That is why we stress on awareness about the situation.
Q: What are the options that are available in Bangladesh? Moreover, which one would you recommend and why?
A: You can take any form of martial arts of your choice. There are many reputed schools out there. All of them are more or less equally useful. Your choice should depend on your priority whether you want to take it as fitness or sport or street safety or just entertainment.
Besides the shadow drills, kata, non-contact movements, combat sports, martial arts training should be real-life oriented. The key is to ensure that the training must incorporate practical world scenarios. I believe when it is narrowed down to self-defence, it should not have any format. There should not be any rule like, "You can't kick below the belt or punch in the face, you can't hit the groin, and you can't gouge the eyes etc." Yes, martial art is about honouring your opponent, but those are only applicable in the ring or in the sports where there are set rules and you are fighting against someone of similar weight class.
You must understand the fact that self-defence scenarios mean that you are up against single or multiple attackers; armed or unarmed - now survive, no points, no rules! You have to strike the weakest parts like the groin, eyes, ear, nose or throat. You are simply going to be hurt if you think about honouring the armed assailants who came to hurt you or your family. There is no honour and respect when it comes down to survival.
Q: How did you start on Krav Maga and what is all about?
A: I picked boxing at 7th grade from my grandfather who used to be a boxing practitioner during British colonial rule in the 1940s. I trained in kung fu, Jeet Kune Do. I studied Wing Chun and Filipino Kali. After training and studying in several different martial arts for years, I was looking for something more. I was looking for something more straightforward which involves contact combat for real world violence.
In 2009, I came across Tactical Krav Maga, an Australia based international organisation providing defensive tactical solutions, through its Chief Instructor Khosru Parvez Rumi, my mentor. It is not just the style itself, but also him who is the prime reason for my interests and dedication towards Krav Maga. In 2015, I became an authorised instructor of Tactical Krav Maga Bangladesh.
Q: How can women avail it? Is it specially catered towards women?
A: Most organisations that I know of provide almost the same training for both men and women. However, there are some additional training for women where they are prepared for unwanted and at times unavoidable situations in their real life. It is essential to understand that the same crime scene is different for men and women due to our societal norms and criminal psychology. In these situations, women need to have the mental readiness to understand the extent of the threat from the miscreants. They cannot count on anybody during those situations, but only themselves and hence must have the proper training to defend themselves in case of emergencies.
Real-life simulation drills are used to create specific crime scenarios, and training is provided accordingly to tackle those situations.
Q: What will be suggestions for our readers about staying safe?
A: Try to avoid risky situations. For instance, it is 11:30 pm and you have two options to reach home- take an unsafe road, known for troublesome activities from time to time that will help you reach home early or take a longer route to reach home. Here, we have seen a significant portion of people take the former option. Often, we do not think rationally for the sake of doing something quickly. Please be sensible and reduce risk factors when you travel outside.
Physical fitness is important because it sends a signal to others that you are not physically vulnerable and it helps you run away. Physical fitness increases the confidence of an individual when they are facing any sort of danger.
Be calm, do not overreact and keep aside your ego issues. It has been seen that many miscreants use different provocative strategies to engage in conversation with the victims.
See how many miscreants are there and study their attitude and intention. If the attackers are more in number and they are only threatening you to take away your belongings, then as mentioned above- do not argue and hand them over your belongings and leave the scene immediately. However, if they get offensive and tries to harm you, muster all your courage, neutralise the attacker(s) by striking the weakest part of the body and leave the place immediately. Whenever you see a chance, run away to a nearby shop or building and seek help.
The interviewer is a recent graduate of BBA programme of IBA, University of Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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