Apart from growing into a booming martial arts school in Bengaluru, Independent Shootfighters Inc. is also rapidly gaining ground in training women in self defense.
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Established in March 2007, the school has trained more than a lakh women in self defence through corporate workshops, schools, colleges and also as a social cause for Sri Lankan women refugees in Chennai.
Independent Shootfighters was established with three students by Ashwin Mohan. Today, it has eight coaches, seven centres and over 800 students across the city, and rightfully claims to be is Bangalore’s only mixed martial arts school. Ashwin Mohan, in his thirties, has been practising martial arts for two decades, starting at the age of 12.
"Women’s self defence, has always been a topic close to my heart," says Mohan, understanding that there are many women who need to be taught this art.
Mohan has collaborated with a Chennai-based NGO OFERR and taught thousands of Sri Lankan refugee women the art of self-defence. OFERR works for the training and welfare of Sri Lankan refugees.
Mohan goes down to Chennai to train these refugees. He claims to have trained around ten thousand refugees ranging from age group of 10 to 50 years. “These women, were different from the other urban women that we trained in self-defence. They were in no mood for anything other than, serious stuff, which is practical and works in their environment,” says Mohan.
Shootfighters received a feather in its cap three months ago. USA-based Melissa Soalt known as Dr Ruthless, one of the world’s best women’s self defence trainers came down to Bangalore and did a two day seminar with Shootfighters. Impressed by the kind of work done by Shootfighters, Melissa had contacted Ashwin. She is planning to make an entry to Indian market.
Martial arts – more self-defence and meditative
With the establishment of Shootfighters, Mohan has trained numerous young men and women in martial arts. “Martial arts, contrary to popular belief are very non-violent, it does not believe in random fights, its more self-defence and control oriented. In a way, it can be a very meditative practice. Confidence is a big thing, I see in my students after they attend my classes,” he says.
Over the years, Mohan has brought in a complete mix and variety into his school of martial arts, with the help of different martial artists from different parts of the country and even abroad, and also his vast knowledge in the varying arts are added.
"I believe that there needs to be a right mix of different arts. We at Shootfighters are doing a lot to preserve and document lesser known Indian martial arts such as Garadi, Vajramushti, Varmakalai, Silammbam so that they don’t die out entirely. The total number of martial arts taught here exceeds 25,” says Mohan.
Siddarth Abraham, one of the coaches of Shootfighters says, "Not only is teaching martial arts a lot of fun, being a part of Shootfighters, gives me a sense of complete accomplishment and freedom."
Another Shootfighter coach, Devrath Vijay says Shootfighters has a unique blend of martial arts and the art of movement – Parkour. Martial Arts and Parkour fit perfectly and compliment each other, since Shootfighters believes in a practical approach to fighting he says. "If you are attacked by more than five people, it makes sense if you can run… climb walls, jump over them and what not. Parkour makes you feel nimble, light, strong, powerful and yet amazingly free," he adds.
“Its like having every kind of martial art in one package, which makes it all the more fun, exciting and challenging. Shootfighters gives us a very practical and real approach to self-defence,” says Ashank Bhandari, a student of Malleshwaram centre. ⊕
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Evening classes: Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday (8 – 9.15 PM)
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Evening Classes: Tuesday Thursday and Friday (7 – 8 PM)
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Evening Classes: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (8:00-9:00 PM)
Morning classes: Saturday and Sunday (7 – 8.30 AM)
Morning classes: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (11 AM -12 PM)
H.A.L III Stage
Studio:Body Count Gym. Mahesh Complex, Above Hema store, New Thippasandra main road, H.A.L III Stage
Morning classes: Saturday and Sunday (7.30-9 AM)
Evening classes: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (8.15 – 9.15 PM)
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Evening classes: Tuesday and Thursday (8 – 9 PM)
Morning classes: Saturday and Sunday (7 – 8 PM)
Studio: 20/2, 18th Cross, Mallehwaram,
Morning classes: Satyrday and Sunday (7 – 8.30 AM)
Evening classes: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday (8.15 – 9.15PM)
Fees: Monthly Rs 2000, Quarterly Rs 5250, Half-yearly Rs 9000, Annual Rs 12000