Monday, December 22, 2014

From stone to water !!!!!!

I started my journey in martial arts way back in 1985. Yes a long, long, long way back. 

When I  joined all I wanted was to be able to fight like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. I just wanted to become tough like a rock and break everything that comes my way.

Years passed, I started understanding martial arts and its purpose.  The training use to be so hard that every training session would bring out new aches and pains. There were a few years when I think my aim was no longer to get tough like a rock but to just get through a training session at a time. Those were the best training years. Every class I would train like there was no tomorrow. Pushing myself beyond  my threshold.  Listening and doing what ever I was asked to by my Sensei. Most importantly I learned to be punctual and my life started to get disciplined. Personality traits like Honesty, Courage, Rectitude, Loyalty, Benevolence, Honour, Respect, Compassion etc started to get imbibed in me.

Few more years down the line I was no longer interested to train to be a rock.  Though my body had transformed in to a rock, it was no longer my aim or my reason to train. I was slowly but surely transforming in to a very adaptive person. I could train for hours without food, water or sleep. I could sleep just as comfortable over a rocky surface as I could on a soft mattress. I could manage in harsh weather conditions. My pain threshold had grown far beyond what I could imagine. I had become some one who will give his all unconditionally to those I call my own or even those who I just meet but are in genuine need of some help.

Though I wanted to become a rock when I had joined and had become one too but my body, mind and spirit had undergone a transformation far beyond being a rock. 

I had become like water!!!!

I can adapt to any situation that I am thrown in to by life.  Like water I am soft, gentle and free flowing but like water I could also change the course of a river and when required I could burst out with enough force to protect some one or defend myself.

It is just so amazing what a  few decades of martial art training  can do to a person.

Have not only seen the change in myself but also in the students.

If this is the change that training in authentic and traditional martial arts bring, then in my opinion this is all that is needed to have a more understanding, tolerant, giving and peace loving society.

A rock has become water !!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

What ails Indian Women????????

I write this article without any desire to point fingers or pass any judgement on any person or gender. The article is aimed at addressing the sad state of a country that I was born and brought up in. However if the cap fits you well, then I do hope you wear it and do change for the better. 

"How cultured a civilization is, is known by the way they treat their women " (do not remember the name of the wise man who used these words).

Sadly we are not a cultured society. The way women are treated in India is not some thing to take lightly. If the women do not collectively stand up now the future for the next generation of women may just get worse than it already is. I often hear parents complaining about how their children are going out of hand. Sadly the parents are indirectly teaching their kids to stalk, ogle and pass lewd comments at women. 

You find that shocking???????
Well if as a parent you take your child to watch a movie from Bollywood, Tollywood etc then it is sort of a signal to the child that my parents attest the kind of behaviour portrayed in the movie. Sadly the story line of most of our movies are monotonous and very wrong for the kids. So if you take your child to watch a movie where the lead actor (hero) of the movie stalks a girl daily at the bus stop, at her college and so on. In the movie the lead actress does not create a scene but keeps ignoring the man and finally they date. WOWWW!!!!! are we all blind this is what the kids are learning and the boys become men and are doing the same things on the road, while the girls are growing up in to ladies who keep ignoring the insensitive and in human behaviour of these men.  What great work is the censor board doing??????????? They sit and focus on how short is the shorts the actress wears in the movie but what about the immoral, unethical ideas and mindset that is being fed to the viewers movie after movie after movie. It does not matter how short or long your clothes are what actually matters is how your mindset is.  While I use to provide high profile security and bouncers, I have even seen men eve tease and try to molest a lady wearing a burkha with only her eyes visible. So it is not what you wear but how you think that matters.

Well but every time some incident takes place we will surely have some ministers, religious leaders etc blaming women and the way they dress for it. This shows the narrow mindset of the people we sadly keep electing to work for us. SHOCKED !!!!! Yes they are actually employed by us.

My ratio may be wrong but I feel it could be more than the percentage I quote because sadly I see Indian men leching, ogling at women and even passing lewd comments all the time. The women have sadly got habituated to this. Most of them think how many people will we fight with daily and just ignore it and move on. However this makes the matter worse. Women should stand up at the slightest disrespectful behaviour and should be united as one.

There are about 95% men in India who fit in the category of lechers, oglers, gropers etc. The remaining 5% or so are ones that suffer from the image these 95% so boldly set. Am in the 5% and I am personally petrified to be in a public area where there could be lots of women. If am standing in a crowded bus, I literally hold the hand rail very tight because am scared of bumping in to a lady because of the sudden braking of the bus etc. Today quite a lot if not all women in India see an unknown man or a stranger as a possible molester, chain / purse snatcher or rapist. I do not blame them for this. I blame the men who are evolving the way the women see men. In my city there is a narrow lane filled with lots of shops called general bazaar. Usually lots of women frequent that lane. I never go there because am scared of an unintentional bump in the crowd could be misunderstood and I will get in trouble. Two of my good friends (both women) have tried to get me over the fear of going to that lane with them but I have always refused. 

It is not only limited to the boundaries of our country. The image of Indian men as such is not good in many countries. Are we happy with that? Are we going to keep talking of our wonderful cultural past our space program and lots more but avoid the fundamental ailment that is eating away at the foundation of our society itself. Women are an integral part of society and not giving them due respect is a sign of a decaying society.  

The behaviour of men is forcing a change in the way women see men. I conduct a lot of self defense and fitness workshops for women employees of corporates. Often after these workshops some women come and ask me about how to respond at the lewd passes verbally and at times even physically made by their seniors at work or how their gym coach feels them up under the pretext of correcting their posture and making them exercise well. I feel very sad when I hear women tell me such things. I feel sad that a person has to go through such treatment. 

 The right approach is to educate and change the men from behaving in this manner that is even worse than a wild animal. Sadly neither the govt, media or law is taking strict action to bring the change. When a monstrous act of rape is committed all that happens is - the media get a few days to fill their pages or time slots with the news, the ministers of the opposition blame the ruling govt, and the law is stuck with an outdated legal system that the British left us with (except for a few amendments here and there, whenever required) and not to forget the self proclaimed self defense experts who make good money every time such an incident takes place. After a few days every thing goes back to normal like it never occurred, until another incident comes to light just a few days later. This is repeated again and again since many years now.

There should be a strict law with a very befitting punishment for an heinous crime like rape. In the absence of the law there are three  ways women can bring the change -

1) To be united as one -

Easier said that done. I have seen many times that in a situation where a lady is in trouble and if the matter goes to the right authorities (police) to resolve, often the other women who were witness to the situation will blame the lady for the incident itself.  I do not say support the lady if she is wrong but if her wrong actions are a result of the wrongful and disrespectful behaviour towards her by a man, then do mention the wrong done by the man. 

2) It is not OKAY!!!!!

If some one by his words or actions makes you feel uncomfortable then stand up then and there. There is no let it be or we will deal with it if he repeats it again. I do not say hit every man on the road but be firm and let your resentment be known clearly by using simple yet firm words. If that does not work do inform the authorities of the same. Delaying or avoiding to get such people reprimanded by law or appropriate action will not only make that person a danger for you but also for other women around.

3) Learn to fight back -

Though I provide self defense training, I personally feel we are trying to resolve the problem the wrong way. It is the mindset of the men that needs to be changed nothing else. However we can not just sit and wait for that to happen. So it is better to get trained and trained by the right people. Most people do not know anything about self defense and yet are self proclaimed self defense and security experts. I could give loads of examples of such experts but I think it is better that some day they learn it the hard way. If one is teaching sports martial arts then he/ she may not be able to train you for what you may face on the road. If your trainer has just a 15 days or few month expert training certificate then too they are not apt for training you. I trained in martial arts for over 20 years before I got in to the field of providing bodyguards. Even with twenty years of training behind me I was learning new things every time I would end up in a self defense situation. My experience in the field provided me an insight in to self defense that 20 years of rigorous training in martial arts did not. This insight had lead me to form Jukaado - An Unarmed Combat form.

Pepper spray, pens, hair pins etc are not something that work in a real life situation. Want to know why??? Watch our video below -

Jukaado provides free one month training to all women at our class. To enroll contact us at the link given below - 

I could type a lot more and discuss the issues in depth. However it is not a thesis so lets just end it with a hope of change. A society that respects, protects and values women who are the foundation of the society itself.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

When the INSIDE realigns with the OUTSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!


 I have often heard of people talking of connecting within or of advising others to look within to resolve the uneasy and restlessness that at times ruins everything around us.

I have pondered on this concept of  "Connect Within" and have even given it a try.  I do not agree with it. 

I have always liked to question the world around me and not accept anything because someone says so but only if I find there to be a logical explanation to it. Well by logical I mean what my not so normal, crazy self can relate too. I  feel it is my training in traditional martial arts (under wonderful teachers ), the discipline, the quest to train not only my body but also my mind and spirit, that has pushed me towards spirituality much before I could even spell the word. I started training at 4 years of age and I just connected with the training like it was the calling of my soul. As I grew in age I always pondered about life and all that there is to it. It lead me to read a lot about different beliefs, thoughts, and even the religious texts or books of quite a few religions. I may not be an expert in any religious text but from what ever I could understand over the years of reading and pondering is - Deep down all religions preach and aim for the same level of understanding from the people that follow it. I like the positive energy at religious places that preach compassion for all, love and joy. Recently I have been lucky to be invited to be part of such a place. Have been there twice and both the times I have felt the positive energy and have really enjoyed myself there.

People talk of connecting within like they have to switch on the laptop and connect to the internet. I do not think it works that way. The truth about meditation is 60 -70% people have a placebo effect of experiencing a connection within but actually it is just a figment of their imagination which they believe and reinforce as their truth. 

When we use the words "Connect Within" itself we are giving more importance or authority to the outside. There is only one being that exists. It is a union of our body, mind, heart and soul. It can not be separated. They all work in unison. We walk, we talk and so on because our mind and body together decide to do so. We can not separate them. So if they are one why do you need to connect? There is nothing to connect within or outside. 

According to me in our journey of life,  through the ups and downs, we go through change. Our situations and experiences change us. However the change is caused to our body, mind, heart and soul in different ways. A situation may toughen us up externally but make us more compassionate within and so on. This is where our body, mind, heart and soul start to drift in different directions. When the drift between them keeps increasing we start to feel emotions like Fear. Fear can make our smooth sailing ship of life sink without even a warning.

Fear is an addiction more difficult to get rid off than any vice known to man. While it is an addiction that is difficult to get rid off, it is also very easy to get rid off . Now that is a contradiction - I say it is difficult to get rid of and then I say it also very easy???????????? 

Well let me explain. Fear is the result of our body, mind, heart and soul being at different levels or at different places. The only way to get rid of fear is to realign the body, mind, heart and soul. Most of us are constantly trying to connect within so we are focusing on only the soul and leaving the rest. I am sure we all know people who supposedly meditate regularly but these same people are also known for their temper and in-compassionate behaviour. So why does this happen? Isn't connecting within a solution for everything? 

Why do some people who are very spiritual look young even though they are way older than they look? Why do some people make everyone around them feel warm within?

Well it is simple - If we can work at realigning ourselves as one, then we can get rid off - Fear. It is not something you can snap out in a jiffy. It is something we need to consciously work on with our eyes open while experiencing the world around us. Anyone can be quiet when everyone is quiet, try being quiet when everyone is talking to you. I have actually done this. I have gone about with my normal life but have not spoken to anyone for a whole month. I urge everyone to try it sometime. Try it for just a day. It will be fun am sure.

With our every breath, with our every step let us work at relating to whatever we do from our body, mind, heart and soul. The results of what ever that is done with the unison of the body, mind, heart and soul is bound to be positive. We use the phrase " give it your best" or "Give it all you have" but very seldom do we actually commit to anything as one (body + mind + heart + soul ).

We talk of giving gratitude for all that is in our lives but we should do so not only by our words but also by our actions. 

There is a deeper meaning to the very simple looking sentence above. I will not spell it out. I will let you all ponder on it and if you still do not get it do write to me.