#I’mPowerMovement Self Defense Workshop for the Women of Mumbai

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By K Ashwin Mobile: 09920183006 Email:indianshowbusiness@gmail.com

The #I’mPowerMovement kicked off its first open event in the city with a session for Mumbai women at Studio Plus at Seva Sadan Society, Grant Road.

Freyan Bhathena opened the session and introduced the #I’mPowerMovement to the audience. This was followed by a session with Kiran Makhijani from Dr. Matcheswalla’s Happy Minds Clinic. Kiran spoke to the ladies who ranged from ages 14 to upward of 50 about their right to not feel harmed mentally when they were leered at or in the worst-case scenario touched or attacked. She stressed on the importance of self-love in each of the girls. You must learn to love yourself so that you then want to protect yourself as a top priority,” said the young Clinical Psychologist from Dr. Matcheswalla’s team.

Sensei Kaivan Fatakia of the Karate-Do Gojukai India then took the participants through multiple moves and techniques to defend themselves. He taught the women how to use identify and press pressure points and simple weak spots to escape an attack and shock an attacker. They learnt how to use their dupattas and simple tools like pens to push off attackers.  He taught them that the idea is not to use force and risk injury but to stun the attacker and win a few moments to escape or call for help.

The participants enjoyed the vibrant teaching and as the session progressed they showed definitive signs of feeling more confident. They were enthusiastic to try the techniques and had a lot of questions.

It was endearing to see how a parent of two young girls made the effort to bring his daughters to the event after reading about it in a local newspaper. The team was happy to encourage parents to take the first step. As Freyan Bhathena stated, “ït is not individuals but decision makers like the organizations they represent or work in, that must take the first step to keep them protected.”

At the end of the event, participants were presented with certificates, Juice, Salads and refreshing tissues courtesy of the goody bag sponsors Raw Pressery, Jinaz’s Masala Spice and Madhu Enterprises.

Diana a participant at the event said, “The Session really made me feel like I’m now stronger in the face of any eventual trouble. Let someone try something on me! I am sure I can handle myself now.”

Rekha, another participant said she was excited to go home and tell her mother and sister about the event and to teach them some of the pressure points she learnt here. “It was not difficult at all, but it was much needed. I think every girl should do this. It will be a rude shock to men who try to abuse us all.”

The event was held at Studio Plus, the well-equipped studio space recently renovated at the Seva Sadan Society. Guddi Advani the President of the Seva Sadan Society said, “We are very happy that after many years of association with Seva Sadan Society, where Sensei Kaivan Fatakia has run successful Karate classes, he is now focusing on training girls and women in self-defense, a much-needed skill in today’s social environment. It is particularly apt that Seva Sadan’s in-house multi-activity space, Studio Plus, should be the venue for the launch of this Movement, especially since we have 100 underprivileged girls living with us who would greatly benefit from this training. We wish the #I’mPowerMovement every success.”

Miss. Kiran Makhijani who worked with the participants for the Open Event was positive about the impact of the #I’mPowerMovement on women everywhere. Ms Makhijani is a Masters in clinical psychology working towards the betterment of universal mental health. She has been working with clientele of all age groups and specializes in conducting Psychometric Evaluation.

Dr. Matcheswalla, the renowned Psycologist who has put his mental muscle and his entire team behind the movement said, “there seems to be an increased number of incidents of abuse and attack on girls, women, senior citizens and children. And there seems to be no end to it in spite of media making a lot of awareness about it and the judiciary and laws changing for the better. Of course, there are a lot of psychological and social aspects to it which the social scientists and psychologists need to research and study more about how to bring about changes in the mindsets.

At the same time we cannot just depend and rely on police and other authorities to come and help out in the time of dire consequences. It is very important that our young girls and other people who are at risk should be well prepared to deal with any emergency or any eventualities. Our young girls need to be mentaly and physically prepared to handle a situation of attack or sexual abuse or rape.

When Freyan spoke about the #I’mPowerMovement, I felt she touched one of my emotional chords. I always wondered how we could make our weaker and at-risk citizens mentally strong. Here was a person who along with Sensei Kaivan who is a wonderful personality himself who understand this need and are willing to work to make women safer. Sensei Kaivan has given his life for preparing people in self-defense. When Freyan asked me to join the movement, I was more than happy to join. From my side, our psychologists will be along with them shoulder to shoulder. While they do the training in the physical aspects, in karate and various self-defense techniques, we will prepare the girls how to prevent such kind of an attack and mentally prepare to defend themselves.”

 

About the #I’mPowerMovement

In a world where abuse is sprinting and justice is crawling, it is time we take the matter of defense of vulnerable women and children into a stronger place. The #I’mPowerMovement is a social initiative that aims to train and strengthen women and children across India to be able to defend themselves and be mentally and physically prepared for any unsettling eventuality in this regard.

The movement is directed at empowering women and children across India with mental and physical strength to face unwanted and unwarranted physical or sexual attacks.

The #I’mPowerMovement programme consists of two well crafted modules put together by experts in the fields of physical and mental empowerment. The physical aspect and main focus of the programme is a specifically curated self defense and street survival module by Sensei Kaivan Fatakia, the Technical Director of the Karate-Do Gojukai India, the only representative of the International Karatedo Gojukai Association in India. The mental aspect is a counselling session created and delivered by a panel of specialists under the guidance of Dr. Matcheswalla, one of India’s premier psychologists and psychiatrists. All of the counselors are part of Dr. Matcheswalla’s Happy Minds Clinic.

The Course is specifically designed and structured for the #I’mPowerMovement, an initiative that Freyan Bhathena has put together and plans to take to any place where women need to understand their right to defend themselves and their right to mental peace of mind in the face of potential abuse.

The #I’mPowerMovement has been training children for various NGOs across the city already and has even taken the module to corporate offices where staff gather and women open up and empower themselves.

The benefits of the programme are immense. While the feeling of self confidence is the first sign of the module working, the women are definitely more prepared to watch out for danger. While speaking on the #I’mPowerMovement Freyan says, “it helps the first line of attack turn into the first line of defense. If a woman can use even one of the techniques properly while in panic mode, she can render an attacker helpless for just enough time to run or to call for help. The counselling makes the victims deal with ordeals better.”

Along with the training and counselling imparted to women and young kids, the #I’mPowerMovement aims to take the sessions to schools and other institutions where they can train young boys as well. Dr. Matcheswalla said, “At the same time another wonderful thing the #I’mPowerMovement is doing is making an effort to train boys today so that in the future they know how to respect and care for their female counterparts and not become perpetrators of crime against women and girls. Where we kind of identify young boys and adolescents who could later become aggressive fellows. This is another important thing we are working with the #I’mPowerMovement team on.”

 

Join the #I’mPowerMovement

If you would like to train and be able to defend yourself or know a group of ladies and children who need the training connect to the #I’mPowerMovement on +91 9221124090 or email them at joinimpowermovement@gmail.com. You can follow their activities on Instagram on #I’mPowerMovement.

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