One could not miss the glint in his eyes and a sense of pride in his tone as RC Chennai East RA Puram President P Vasu explains the vivid details of a ‘record of sorts’ he has created by training 5,600 girls from 23 government schools and women’s colleges in self-defence.
‘Sensei’ Vasu led a team of two male and two female instructors under the club’s Empower the Girl Child project across the schools and colleges to help girls master the art of karate. He is a Black Belt Dan level-five trained karate expert, having undergone training at the Isshinryu Karate, Japan. “I have been imparting martial arts to Chennai City Police, ex-defence personnel and school, college girls for 26 years,” he says.
During his installation last July, Vasu announced his plan to train 5,000 girls in self-defence through ‘free workshops’ in schools and colleges as part of Rotary’s vocational service.
With just three subtexts — how to tackle threat; overcome the fear factor; and protect oneself with available tools — Vasu was able to usher in a dramatic change in the attitude of Chennai girls. “I always tell them that when cornered always be quick enough to use whatever handy things you have like, for example, a sharp fork, bangles or a pepper spray against the attacker.” And at the end of the 2–3 hours workshop-cum-demo session in a government school, he was “thrilled to hear a spontaneous reply from a student: ‘Sir, we will also use mud, stone or whatever we get our hands into to ward off attackers.’”
He was supported by 10 other clubs and Inner Wheel members Arul Malar (Bay City) and Fathima (Madras North) in getting permission from school authorities and taking caring of logistics.
Indian Revenue Service officer V Nandakumar from the Income Tax Department (Chennai Region) and District Governor Babu Peram were present at a grand spectacle where 1,000 girls of Chellammal Women’s College recently displayed their newly acquired skills to a large gathering. Vasu now is all set to train over 20,000 girls in and around Chennai next year.