Franklin Joseph, women safety empowerment specialist and Krav Maga trainer.
There is a lack of awareness about self-defense among women in India. We asked some questions to Franklin Joseph, our workshop organizer in Bangalore, and this is what we learnt out of it.
1. What is self-defense?
Franklin: Self Defense: Concept is Still Stuck in Stone Era. To most people, Self Defense still means Martial Arts or tricks taught in Martial Arts. Some crime against women is reported and few women join free self-defense classes. After a while everyone forgets and life is back to ‘normal’. Sadly, everyone actually believes that by ignoring this issue, it would never happen to me.
2. Why is Self Defense important?
FJ: National Crime Records Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs, India has reported around 24,206 rape cases in past year and it itself has increased 826% percent since 1971. But nobody worries about 99,135 reported crime, ‘Cruelty by husbands and relatives’, 42,968 molestation cases, 35,565 Kidnapping and Abductions cases etc. 92% of time these crimes against women are committed by men they already know.
Can a 6 years girl raped by her step-father punch and kick her way out of the her nightmares?
Can a wife being raped by her husband do a round kick to escape her marriage?
Can an 85 years old lady wearing a sari throw his young more powerful rapist off her fragile body?
Can a 16-year-old college girl do a fist-fight with a group of men eve-teasing her without the fear of being a acid-victim tomorrow?
Punches and Kicks DO NOT solve real life problems. We are so in-tuned to movie magic that we think the good guy would walk away with the girl after having a fist fight with the bad guys, that we start believing it to be real.
3. What is your opinion on women being known as the “weaker sex?”
FJ: Most of the men I have talked to are amazed that some or most women do not, could not or would not fist-fight with the bad guy if there is a threat. Naturally, they said they associated lack of violence in women directly to the lack of physical strength and so-called them the ‘weaker sex’.
Sadly, most women also considered themselves as weaker than men especially when it comes to size, strength, fitness, flexibility etc.
We men planted these thoughts in women’s mind the day we as fathers tell them they have to be good daughters and take care of the family’s ‘shobha.’ We taught them to doubt their size and strength when we as brothers we were allowed to do anything while our vulnerable sisters were told to stay protected inside the house. We as parents never encouraged physical training in girls as it would make them less feminine or turn their skin dark making them un-eligible for marriage and so forth.
So interesting in one area, we as men tell them you cannot, you should not or you would not do it due to the limitations of your age, size, strength, fitness and flexibility. We as a society plant these insecurities in them and on other hand, we expect women to fight back the attacker who might be bigger and stronger than them.
And if she does not, oh means she gave consent. Let’s blame the victim! Easy!
4. Is physical fitness important to learn self-defense? If so, why?
FJ: Now, understand fist-fighting with someone means you need strength, size, fitness, stamina, flexibility & skill-set to emerge a winner every-time. That is why Tony Jaa, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan do not have pot belly or weight issues. They have invested more than a decade training in their respective martial arts.
What will a 6 years old girl do against a grown up man?
Or a 20 years old against a group of men?
Does a 40-year-old mother survive against a robber?
Or an 85-year-old lady against a younger attacker?
I have met so many women in my ‘Power to Women Workshops’ who said they have slapped the eve-teaser and that solution worked for them and they would slap again as they want to teach them a lesson because they do not want these guys to repeat the same with other women. I fully agree. You must retaliate, but my worry is that retaliation must not turn into violent provocation. Most of these Eve-Teasers, molesters and rapists are Juvenile delinquents / Criminals who have no respect for the system, law or women and they won’t hesitate to get violent. So the question comes, what will you do if the situation goes out of control where he turns violent? If you can handle that, then by all means do what you do best.
I know I am not giving too much to hope till now, but trust me, if women self-defense was just few tricks of martial arts, the crime rate against women should have decreased by now. Sadly, like other things in life – love, marriage, jobs etc, crime is also a complicated living entity that is ever-evolving.
5. How can you ensure safety of women?
FJ: That is why I created Franklin Joseph’s Power to Women Workshops, to help educate the real side of life regarding Women Safety Awareness, Women Self Defence and Women Psychological Empowerment against Crime, Violence and Sexual Abuse. Before explaining on this, let’s handle one more issue when it comes to self-defense.
6. How can your workshops help women?
FJ: Power to Women.in : Women Safety Awareness, Israeli Krav Maga Women Self Defence and Women Psychological Empowerment against Crime, Violence and Sexual Abuse
I am not just a martial artist who has a diploma authorising me to teach Self Defense. Because by just being a trainer, I am basically teaching women how to do what a man should do under threat – use his strength, size, fitness, age, flexibility and skill-set to teach the bad guy a lesson without worrying about the consequence.
In one of the videos I watched on the net, the tactic shown was the victim must search the attacker for weapons pretending to faint or having a epilepsy attack and while the victim is held by the attacker, he/she should use his/her hands to search his pockets or waist for hidden knives and use his/her legs to search for knives hidden under his socks. Then the victim should grab him by his clothes and do a judo throw over-coming his/her threat. Brilliant, Search for weapons and over-throw your threat.
Only issue is if the attacker is a man and the victim is a women and the threat is molestation… imagine the women fainting into his arms while she is groping his waist and pockets rubbing her legs against his legs. God, what a slut, molesting the molester! Oops! I am sure someone would take a fatwa against me now!
7. Tell us something about your history with self-defense.
FJ: Jokes apart, its time to re-evaluate the problem of crime, violence and sexual abuse against women and how Self Defense is taught and understood by women in India. My history with self defense is briefly listed below:
- Born in slums of New Delhi, I gained in-sight of crime modus operandi and criminal mindset along with life-time real-life street combat experience
- After 11 years after working as a IT-Creative Director, I turned into a Social Entrepreneur & Motivational Speaker to listen and share what I learned in my life.
- From 1986, started researched and educated myself on Safety Empowerment to help me heal and elevate myself from my own sexual abuse and violent past.
- From 1995 onwards, I worked, researched and designing module on Women Safety Empowerment by living or researching with women with abusive past or trauma.
- From 2003, as a Krav Maga Israeli Self Defense instructor I gained vast experience in corporate workshops and tactical training with military, police & special forces.
- From 2008 onward, started conducting & specialising on ‘PowertoWomen.in’ and ‘PowertoKids.in’ workshops focusing on women empowerment from within.
8. Could you give us a brief on your workshops?
FJ: Main highlight of Power to Women Workshops are:
- Workshops are designed with inputs from a Woman Psychologist as well as victims of trauma and workshop participants.
- Use of Krav Maga, Israeli Self Defense neuromuscular Re-Education Tactics to help Prevention, Avoidance and Escape of Threats.
- Incorporates neuroscience Positive Emotions and Intervention tactics to stabilize and raise one’s level of DHEA-a “I-have-the-power” hormone.
- Re-designs Psychological Resilience response which enhances an individual’s tendency to cope with stress and adversity.
- Self-realization of your own physical power – you are ready to survive irrespective of your size, strength or fitness level.
- Awareness of latest crimes and Understanding a predator’s game plan and how to defeat it
- Recognize Pre-Conflict Indicators and be Aware of Post-Conflict Dangers
- Pre-Assault Situation Awareness and Conflict Prevention from being chosen a victim via attitude, body posture etc.
- Survival Mindset – How to diffuse fear and bring in courage
- Stress Management – performing effectively under pressure where personal danger is very real
- Risk reduction – Verbal Confrontational and Diffusing Exercises against Eve-teasing, Office Sexual harassment etc.
- Risk avoidance – against domestic violence, kidnapping and sexual abuse
9. Which forms of Self Defense are useful for women and where to learn it from?
FJ: Women must force the So-called women self-defense experts to think like women: They should advise women what to do, only if they have understood the root-cause from women’s point of view and the solution would treat her like a living breathing person who has to live with her choice and the consequence of her choice rather than a client who will just pays the fees.
Women who wish to get trained by just anyone who claims and throws some names around, remember he is just teaching you a male dominant view-point forced on women trauma. So you should….
- Train with any martial arts, Train with any self-defense, but do not train blindly gulping whatever half-cooked knowledge he throws at you.
- Ask questions, use your common sense and give a realistic problem for him/her to solve. Force him to think about your welfare instead of just thinking about his next fees. Give him real life limitation like what if the victim is 6-year-old, or 87-year-old, then can she do the same tricks / tactics?
- Research on the information you learn, question yourself, try that in a more realistic scenario where you are in pain or in fear of your life and see if it still works and will it take care of the any future consequences of your choice to fight. If not, find an alternative method.
10. What has been your experience training with women so far?
FJ: I have conducted many Power to Women Workshops and I have always been amazed by the inner strength of the women – her size, her determination, her level of fitness, her will to protect her loved ones, her wisdom and her flexibility to be a confident professional, housewife and a family member. My aim in my workshops is just to show her that she does not need any tricks to realise that she is a tigress instead of a rabbit and never-not even by the remotest degree – a weaker sex.
P.S. Justice For Women has organized free-of-cost self-defense workshop in collaboration with Franklin Joseph in Bangalore on 17-18 November, 2012. For more information, contact us on email@example.com