Turning children into karate kids for free
“I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self-defence, I call it intelligence” is what a city man Damodar Nayak, 42 believes in, when it comes to self-defence. Damodar has taken it upon himself to train the unprivileged children in Karate.
- Damodar runs a kirana shop. He visits a govt school every week and takes karate classes during his free hours
- He achieved black belt despite being diagnosed with asthma in childhood
- Around 800 students undergoing training, of whom 90% are girls
- Rues that government hardly spends any money on self-defence training in schools
Hyderabad: "I don't even call it violence when it's in self-defence, I call it intelligence" is what a city man Damodar Nayak, 42 believes in, when it comes to self-defence. Damodar has taken it upon himself to train the unprivileged children in Karate.
A black belt in karate, Damodar, a resident of Kachiguda, has been taking classes in martial arts for children in Hyderabad for the past 10 years. Damodar runs a kirana shop. He originally is a native of Karnataka. He does not charge a single penny for his services. He teaches at several government schools. When Damodar Nayak thought for a while about how he could contribute to society, it finally occurred to him that he could put his coveted black belt in karate to good use by training young students in the martial art.
Today, Damodar has around 800 students undergoing training by him, out of whom 90 per cent are girls. While he initially used to charge a nominal fee from schools for taking classes, he eventually realised schools were hesitant to send kids due to lack of funds.
Speaking to The Hans India, Damodar said, "The schools where I teach have many unprivileged children who cannot even afford to pay their school fees. Schools used to pay some money in the beginning but later I realised they were cooking up excuses so as not to divert funds that were kept for other purposes. Our government hardly provides any money for self-defence training in schools. After a point, I stopped charging any fee. Today, the schools are more than enthusiastic to push their kids to learn self-defense."
Damodar learned karate after he was diagnosed with asthma as a kid. Explaining this, he said, "I wasn't allowed to play any other sport and someone told my parents that karate was a good option for asthma patients. At the age of 14, after three years of training, I got a black belt in karate."
Today Damodar trains students between the age group of 6-25. He holds classes at the Health League every alternate day and visits each school twice a week with bags full of snacks from his kirana shop.
Since he understands his student's background, he doesn't insist that they practice their lessons wearing the traditional karate robes.
Damodar takes his students regularly to competitions, shelling out money from his own pocket. Recently, his students took part in a state-level karate competition held at Shandaar and 6 out of the 12 students returned home with trophies.
Although Damodar has approached a few NGOs in the past to sponsor the children or at least provide them with robes, he says nothing fruitful has ever materialised.