By Chaudhary Sandeep Datta
At a time when concern for women security has risen to an unprecedented scale due to frequent assaults on them, a man from Maharashtra is busy helping thousands of young girls in self-defence wherever he can.
Having studied martial art at 5th century Shaolin Temple in China and Kallaripayattu, one of the oldest fighting systems in existence, in Kerala, Grandmaster Shifuji feels intrigued at women’s vulnerability in India.
He believes the present scenario in the country requires women being self-reliant in protecting themselves in everyday life and able to dodge any attack perpetrated on them. For which he has developed special protection and survival tactics.
“I have been trained in world's oldest art forms like Kallaripauattu, spent a long time at Shaolin Temple of China to understand the hidden Chi Qi power (energy cultivation),” he says. “But it is the same thing, taught in Indian Hath Yog, as Kundali Kriya.”
From being a street fighter to going on to practice almost every fighting form of the world, Shifuji, in his late 30s, feels nothing works during street fights since such fights require distinct survival tactics.
“For such peculiar and sudden situations, I have developed my own tactics for the women. I also developed my own martial arts known as Shifuji's Fusion Kung-fu.”
About this odyssey in martial art world, Shifuji, called Deepak at home, devotes his everything to his mother Asha Maan, father Krishan Gopal, wife Aarti and daughter Diksha, who have always been the biggest support in realising his dream of “helping the helpless”.
Shifuji, who draws entire inspiration from freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s biggest disciple, believes “Kranti vicharon se aayegi , hathyaron se nahin (revolution in life is possible through thought, not weapons)” and running an organisation MITTI.
“MITTI (Maan, Indian Traditional Training Institute) selects girls basically from orphanages and places where they have failed to get basic education.”
“This organisation is meant to create a set up where we can empower these girls by traditional skills along with enabling them to rise through basic education and motivate them to take up civil services,” says Shifuji.
He feels there is a strong need for corporate sector to ensure its staff feels confident enough while stepping out of their homes or offices. “Private companies should ensure self defence training for women.”
“What’s wrong in letting everyone be fit and know the art of self protection?”
Shifuji explains that self-defence training doesn’t required being a martial art player. It is a completely different science altogether. “It is all about knowing your own strength and weaknesses.”
“What I personally train in is the art of self realisation, protection skills and survival tactics along with situation-reaction tactics within a week.”
With a focus to aware people and inspire them to train themselves for self protection, Shifuji says his innovative self-defence tactics include special ways of using available accessories like bangles, ATM or Id cards, cellphone, key ring, dupatta, nails, notebook, pen, or even hairclip.
He says his dream is “to prepare a good and safe environment for Indian women and help the youth in leading a disciplined and focused life” and advocates compulsory six-month military training to be included in Indian education system.
Asked if he feels the willingness to propagate the art of self defence in colleges, schools and local societies is missing on government’s part, he said “I don't speak anything about anyone but yes I know what I am doing and that it works for people in daily life.”
“I don't talk about problems because I am working to offer solutions. Blaming the government isn't my motto. I wish to do my bit for the society.”
With an aim “to train about one crore women through Mission Prahar project”, Dubey says he has been successful in imparting training to about 30 lakh women in survival tactics in schools, colleges, institutes and different organisations across India.
Having been Special Commando trainer of Hawk Commandos, and Counter Terrorist Group besides being special skills trainer for Indian Revenue Service and Indian Foreign Service officers, he takes pride in his Shatru Vinashak killing skills and single second knock out systems for commandos.
A brand ambassador of Madhya Pradesh Right, Shifufji says he is working over creating the Ulimate Close Quarter Battle System for Indian special forces and commandos.
He has been special commando trainer for anti-urbarn terrorism skills for Mumbai police after Mumbai terror attack and mostly trained people in parts of rural India including places like Dantewada (Chhattisgarh), Ernakulam (Kerala), and Jaisalmer (Rajasthan).
About the scope of martial art in India, Shifuji says: “I personally think any martial art is like a prayer and a lifestyle with a sense of no return. It should always be taken as a discipline of life than a career.”
“If you take it as a sport it may help you to convert it in to a business. But I feel that your aim should be clear.”
Asked if government should promote such things for women and children due to rising incidents of rape or crime against women, Dubey said: “Instead of martial art training being viewed a ultimate thing what is important is survival training, which is based on the body science.”
“I believed in it when I started my Mission Prahar 14 years ago, due to my study of things and passion.”
Presently associated with most of the top Bollywood stars, and a part of few action movies as an action choreographer, Shifuji wants people to realise the need for self-training before expecting others to help them in trying times.
“I wish young brothers and sisters to introspect what they have done to protect even themselves. If they haven't, there is no point blaming others. Everyone should train himself to be fit and be able to protect oneself.”