In a first, the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy is conducting online training sessions for unarmed combat for the 72 Regular Recruit batch of IPS probationers, with the lockdown restricting physical training.
The probationers are being trained for a special form of martial arts — Wing Tsun Kung Fu — by acclaimed trainer and Wing Tsun head master for India, Donald Melville, based in Vadodara, through video-conferencing.
The academy has 150 IPS personnel undergoing training and 20 officers from other countries such as Mauritius, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives. Melville who trained four batches at the academy earlier — between 1998 and 2002, was roped in again in January 2020 to provide training for the present batch that completes first phase of training in July. The training was interrupted due to the Covid pandemic but the academy insisted on resuming it through the online medium.
“Certainly there is a difference between teaching on the ground being physically present and through online sessions but so far the reviews have been positive. The idea is to make them aware of the techniques for unarmed combat. I also use additional equipment like bean bags or punching bags provided to the officers for better understanding of the techniques,” Melville, 64, said.
The one-hour class held thrice a week includes physical demonstrations and technique implementation followed by question and answer sessions. At times Melville’s students from Vadodara also participate in the session for duel demonstrations.
“For the initial part, it is a one-way session where I demonstrate the steps and they replicate in their rooms. Then the session is open to queries. Unarmed combat to defeat an opponent who might be armed is an essential part of their training. They have to defend themselves with sheer techniques. Whenever the lockdown eases, I will conduct a physical training session and resolve their remaining doubts,” Melville added.
Director of the National Police Academy at Hyderabad and Gujarat cadre IPS officer Atul Karwal, told The Indian Express, “For the officers, this is the only physical training module now being conducted online apart from indoor subjects like law, investigation and others. Unarmed combat training is very essential for them as they can put it to use in any kind of law and order situation or special operations. Even during the lockdown, the sessions are going on well without violating social distancing norms. The art that he teaches is unique as it is an amalgamation of various styles that are very relevant for the security forces.” Karwal is also among Melville’s students.