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Self Defence for Visually Impaired – Indian Express – by Alison Saldanha Copy

Date on which testimonial was published:
26 Jun 2012

A self-defence workshop for the visually impaired was held at H K College, Oshiwara, on Sunday. At least 24 visually challenged persons participated in the workshop conducted by Voice Vision, a computer training institute. Martial arts expert Pawan Sharma, along with five trainers and two doctors, taught the participants defence techniques that are a mix of karate, judo and aikido.

“A visually challenged person cannot defend himself if someone throws a stone at him but if someone tries to grab him he can atleast combat him through touch techniques”, said Sharma, who has headed security at various hotels in the city.

Voice Vision founder Sushmeetha Bubna, who is also visually impaired, said a discussion was held in January during which the visually impaired expressed their fears on safety.

“We decided to organise the workshop to reduce their vulnerability. We had several meetings with the trainers to determine the ways in which self-defence skills can be imparted to them”, she said.

Sharma said he blindfolded himself to understand their weak spots. “They are more alert and sensitive to their environment as compared to those who have all the five senses,” he said.

Rahul Kelapure (30), a visually impaired SEBI employee who attended the workshop, said, “The nature of my job could make me more vulnerable to threats. But now I feel more confident – with easy moves I can at least defend myself if the need arises.”

“When we are travelling, we don’t carry weapons to fend off attacks but we can protect ourselves by just using our body. We don’t need to panic,” said Rupam Kudratkar (20), a student.

The objective of the workshop, said Sharma was to teach the participants to defend and not attack. The organisers are in talks to hold a follow-up session for the participants to train them in advanced methods of disarming and expand their outreach across thhe city.

“We limited the number of seats because we wanted to give every participant personal attention,” said Bubna.

Only a disciplined few based on assessment, would be taught advanced techniques used to nab attackers.

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