Thursday, 28 August 2014


I have been a martial artist for ten years now, and when I look back at the journey, there has not been a day when I regretted being one. Karate has helped me grow and develop myself while also helping me feel good about my own body. But the one thing that has always bugged me is the negligible number of girls in this field. You talk about feminism and gender equality all the time but then call it a man’s sport when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone? Stop caring about what the world has to say and join the karate school nearest to your place!

Girls, today I give you a few reasons as to why it is a great idea to join martial arts.

1.     Self defence: The first point is completely obvious. You need to learn martial arts as a measure of self defence. Nobody wants to get raped or robbed on the street, right? Trying out your karate skills on your attacker might scare him off. And if it doesn’t, it’ll surely buy you some time. At least you won’t be helpless!

2.     Confidence. So when you know that you aren’t completely helpless, you can walk on the road with much increased confidence! A growing girl has a lot to deal with. Eve-teasing is a common scene everywhere with passers-by doing nothing to help. Many have also been groped and pinched in crowded places. All this takes a toll on our self-confidence.
Martial arts can help you overcome this feeling. In this field, you won’t be judged based on your gender but based on your performance and rank. As your rank goes up and your juniors (both boys and girls) start to look up to you, your confidence is bound to increase!

3.     Strong is the new sexy! Gone are the days when the girls were supposed to be soft, sweet and always dependent on their man to rescue them. Wake up. Be your own hero. And if your man tells you he only likes soft girls, then trust me, you don’t need that man.

4.     Know your weaknesses. While you push your limits, you start to know what your weaknesses and limitations are. With the help of your teacher and fellow martial artists, you can work on them and overcome them too. In my life, I’ve had some of the best karate teachers who have helped me focus on my targets and push myself to achieve it.

5.     Snap out of the lazy you! What are your excuses for not training? Too hot? Too cold? It’s raining today? Too tired after work? I say, join a class and pay up the fees in advance. This just might as well make you get out of bed. And once you start to train and see the improvements in yourself, nothing on earth can stop you.

6.     Bonus- Make great friends! Yes! When you train together and spar with so many people, you’re bound to interact and make friends. You help them get up when they fall, take care of them when they get hurt in a fight and console them when they lose a match. You encourage each other to push your limits and celebrate together when you reach the targets. I have found my best friends in the dojo and I’m sure my friends will agree to this too!

We, at Seibukan Bangalore dojo, would love to welcome more girls into our class. At present our class is at Koremangala and at Hennur, but we’re planning to expand to other places as well. So if you’re anywhere in Bangalore and wish to learn karate, contact us. We’ll get back to you. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Etiquette before Aggression

picture: Japanese "Rei" meaning "to bow"

"If instead of fighting with him you say to your enemy, "You have won" and bow before him, that is the biggest deed in the world." -Author unknown

            For most people, karate is all about learning to fight and defend oneself from attacks. They go to the *dojo, expecting to become strong and invincible within a few days of training. In fact, they can’t wait to show off! But soon they learn that karate is more than just that.
            Karate teaches us many etiquettes, one of the most important of them being humility. This humility comes from the practice of bowing, which happens to be a deep seeded culture in Japanese tradition. Bowing is not about religion, nor does it imply a master-slave relationship between the teacher and the student. Bowing stands for mutual respect. We bow when we enter the dojo as a sign of respect for the place where we practice. It also signifies that we are now clearing our mind of all other things and preparing to take in all that the class has to offer. We bow to our **sensei, to show our respect and gratefulness to him for his teachings. Also we bow to our fellow students and sparring partners to indicate that we are alert and ready for combat.
            While bowing shows our reverence for the other person, it also helps us feel humble and down-to-earth, for we do not simply bow physically but we bow in our mind as well. It helps us shake off our ego and all other tensions from our mind so that we can concentrate and remain alert in class.
            In the bowing position, our hands are open and placed on the sides. It shows that we have come for peace and not to fight. Although the movement is fairly quick, it must be done with utmost grace so as not to convey any sort of aggression or threat to the other party.
            In the Seibukan Bangalore dojo, it is customary to follow all such etiquettes while the class is in session. We bow to the dojo, to the teacher and to all others present. Also, we do not talk unnecessarily, nor leave or enter the arena without seeking due permission. Such values, I believe, should be the basis of any martial arts dojo.

*dojo- It’s a Japanese term for classroom
**sensei- It’s a Japanese term for teacher.