On Saturday,in a wooden-floored studio opposite Joggers Park in Kalyani Nagar,six people stood in a line and practised breathing exercises at a self defense workshop organised by Artsphere. The power of breathing may sound like a tame technique,but over the course of the evening,their instructor Anomit Ghosh showed the six how to harness this very power to swiftly and smoothly move away when someone comes too close,grab what they can of an attacker and use it to their advantage,and how to pin someone down to the floor to immobilise them the ABCs of self defense.
The workshop was the first in the city to bring Kalim,an ancient Indian civilian martial art that is based on yoga,natural breathing properties and natural forces including the wind,sun and sea. The teacher,Ghosh took the participants through the basics and demonstrated the tactics himself. He then asked the participants to attack their partner and perform the defensive technique on them.
Though the common notion today may be that women are in need of self defense lessons,there were a majority of men in the workshop with only two women and one ten-year-old girl. I was curious about this art form and so I wanted to come and see what it is for myself. I like to explore other new art forms that are being introduced in the city and incorporate them into my own style of art. Kalim is a very useful form of art which one must practice and be equipped with to handle a situation when you are under attack, says Shashank Duggal,a dance instructor who participated in the workshop.
Kalim is a form of self defense based on relaxation and confidence. “It not only teaches you how to tackle a situation when you are being attacked,but it also teaches you how to not let the tension take a toll on you,” says Anubha Doshi,the founder member of Artsphere. Doshi was surprised at how easy some difficult moves had become with a change in breathing techniques taught to her by the Kalim instructor.
A few weeks ago,Ghosh had approached Artsphere and had made a presentation about the art form. Once the team was convinced,they decided to organise the workshop. There is so much violence everywhere. The news is filled with instances of violence everyday. This art form teaches us how to focus on removing violence,be it physical or emotional,in the way we think and act. The techniques flow spontaneously from the philosophy simply by not tensing a muscle except to deal with the eternal now. No tensing in anticipation of future events or in response to past events. No fear or anxiety,” says Doshi.