KARACHI: They may have been wearing abayas, scarves, shalwar-kameez, jeans, tights or T-shirts but they all knew how to punch, kick, grab and throw you over their shoulder at the women’s self-defence workshop at the Japan Information and Culture Centre on Friday.
The workshop, held in collaboration with the Pakistan Martial Arts Association, saw over 100 women from various educational institutes participating.
Dr Hafsa Siddiqui from the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation said that she was drawn towards learning self-defence after hearing about criminal activities such as purse and mobile phone snatching, etc. “I want to be able to protect myself if I am ever faced with such a situation,” she told Dawn.
Dr Bushra Zulfiqar, an assistant professor of plastic surgery at the Dow University of Health Sciences also felt thankful that she had never faced any dangerous situation till now. “Still, there is no harm in keeping myself prepared,” she said.
Subul Shariq, a student of Indus University, was busy practicing techniques with a stick. “I have learned proper ways of blocking an attack with the stick,” she said as she expertly stopped every attack from her opponent. Asked what she would do if she didn’t have a stick with her and her opponent did, she said that then she would dodge the attacks and try to snatch her opponent’s weapon.
Anwar Mohiuddin, the chief instructor at the workshop, meanwhile demonstrated various drills where the women were easily able to overpower him when he held a gun to their heads of tried to attack them in some other way. “This was a short workshop of just four days in which I have taught the essence of the Japanese style of martial arts Kyokushinkai to these ladies,” he said. “They can now ably overpower anyone having twice or even thrice their body mass,” he added.
He said that there is a need to raise awareness about self-defence among women and girls so that they can defend themselves against street crimes. “We have all heard about the knife attacker, who never got caught but injured so many women here,” he reminded as he called one of his students to the mat and asked a bulky guest to aim a toy pistol at her.
“If someone points a gun at you he does not intend to shoot immediately because he must have some demand. He will also be fearful and guilty but you should be in your senses. You should not panic,” he pointed out.
“And with your hands up you have your hands closer to the weapon. You are in a position to grab it, twist his wrist and snatch it. You also have a good chance to kick him as he struggles to have control of the gun,” he said as his student demonstrated his words through action.
The Consul General of Japan in Karachi, Mr Toshikazu Isomura, while also showing his concern about street crime situations in Karachi expressed hope that the participants of the four-day workshop learned something that will help them feel confident and able to defend themselves in dangerous situations.
He also hoped that the women’s self-defence workshop will further contribute towards the development of cultural ties between Japan and Pakistan and also enhance cooperation in the sports sector towards the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020.
Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018