Fight like a girl – empowering women for self-defence

MUV Base initiative aims at teaching women how to protect themselves from physical violence, harassment


Natasha Raheel February 19, 2017
Protection: The course focuses around incorporating capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts form, to learn self-defence and is the second part of the series by MUV Base with the first part revolving around ‘weapon disarmament and counter-attack’. Photo Courtesy: MUV Base

KARACHI: “Fight like a girl” can be derogatory term but not for MUV Base, a gym in Karachi aimed at revolutionising traditional workout routines, which has used the slogan to name a course aimed at empowering women to defend themselves against violence.

The course focuses around incorporating capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts form, to learn self-defence and is the second part of the series by MUV Base with the first part revolving around ‘weapon disarmament and counter-attack’.

MUV Base owner Mehak Taherani wants her gym to be useful in educating people and believes that self-defence courses are needed in a country like Pakistan, especially for women who have to face such incidents like harassment and violence not only on the streets, but unfortunately in their homes as well.

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“The self-defence courses are not to teach people that they should flaunt their skills and pick fights, it is about how to deal with difficult situations, and women in Pakistan have to face these situations a lot,” said Taherani.

Meanwhile, Amir Khan, instructor for the courses, revealed that due to the problems faced by women in society, he had to come up with a specialised programme to deal with these issues.

“I wanted to design a system which is easy to learn and is effective,” Amir, who is trained in capoeira and has more than 10 years of experience in self-defence after working as a provincial Offenses Officer in Ontario, told The Express Tribune.

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“I designed this programme so that women can learn basic self-defence techniques; things that they can relate to. These are just not kicks and punches; these are real-life situations. If you are choked against the wall, or on the floor, how do you get out of them? These are very essential things that everyone should learn, not only women.”

Amir, who is a certified instructor of unarmed combat and weapon disarming, added that basic training in self-defence can also induce confidence in an individual, which can intimidate the likely attacker.

“Confidence is the key. Since I’m trained I feel confident because I know how to protect myself and everyone should feel that way. A lot of times people get hurt because they don’t portray confidence,” he said.

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As far as the disarming classes are concerned, Amir said that the course was aimed at leaning how to deal with a situation where a person had to disarm a hand gun, knife, stick or a pipe; all things that are commonly used in physical assaults.

He concluded that the participants have been very responsive in asking questions, while he makes sure his students tell him the feedback along with a recap of the day’s lesson, and the techniques are designed for people who have not practiced martial arts before. “My job is to show the tools but they need to practice regularly to stay fluent in it,” he said.

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