Communication with the local instructors is significantly stronger when we have FairFight representatives visiting in person to see the situation first-hand, and so it is important to Mary as the India project manager to ensure that visits are frequent; this is why we wanted to commit to two visits this year, as the team did last year. During the visit in October, Mary discussed setting up a new club with Devesh, Amit, Pankaj and Sohan – she is particularly knowledgeable in this area as she runs her own club as her main line of work. She will therefore be checking in with progress in finding a venue and setting up classes, and seeing how we can support Devesh and the team in making this happen. We also learned from the last visit that the instructors want some new training equipment such as cones and protective sparring gear and so we will be taking the opportunity to provide them with as much as possible.
In October 2018, Guy Shpak ran a very successful krav maga-based self-defence workshop for the students of Disha House and the dojo in Sarnath. Mary has been discussing running a similar seminar in October of this year for the students of Banaras Hindu University, again with a particular focus on women’s self-defence, partially in response to growing concerns about the sexual assault statistics of Indian universities. Mary is also planning to set up a competition sparring seminar for the ISKF-UP students and instructors as this is a particular specialism of the club. With their strong record in Indian national competition, some input on elite fighting techniques will benefit the club greatly and support their reputation both locally and nationally. Again, it is our hope that having two visits within the year will make it significantly easier to plan logistics and carry out such events.
Charlie Stevens will be travelling out as well, predominantly to document the visit and to see the students of Disha House again. Having first met the girls in October 2018, Charlie feels it’s very important to return to Disha as soon as possible to reconnect with them and continue to show our ongoing commitment and attachment to them. She was originally selected for the team to be a role model, as another young, female martial artist, and so she is especially keen to show the girls that she’s graded to 1st Kyu since they last saw her and is now preparing for her Black Belt examination in July. Charlie will also be taking responsibility for social media and outreach once again.
Keep an eye out for more updates on the project on Facebook (FairFight) and Instagram (@fairfightfoundation)!