The traditional Indian society has always followed certain mindsets over the centuries. Even after achieving expertise in so many areas, women are still expected to do certain things and not to do certain things. Martial art is one such field, where women are not much encouraged and supported. Here is a girl who broke all the stereotypes and is an expert in karate.
Kshama Bharadwaj, an MBA graduate who works with Tech Mahindra is a karateka and is in the business since 13 years. As her father was in a transferable job, she couldn’t get into karate. When Kshama was in 8th standard, her father got transferred to Mysuru and Kshama expressed her wish to learn karate with her parents. She started her journey in the year 2004. She learnt Okinawa Gojuryu Karate Do style from karate master Naveen Kumar.
She was very much interested in karate as she had known many things about the sport. This made her to make up her mind to face the challenges. “Karate makes one feel stronger both physically and mentally. The major intention of knowing karate is to protect oneself. You become a weapon for yourself if you learn any of the martial arts. It is important to be strong in the society where women have to face a lot of obstacles,” Kshama says.
Kshama was teaching karate in Mysuru before getting a job in Bengaluru. “I was teaching karate to students at Mysuru. Now it has become difficult to get back to Mysuru and teach karate as my work schedule doesn’t permit me.” But she shares her knowledge of karate with her colleagues and teaches them when she gets time between the work schedules. She has inspired many of her colleagues to learn martial art. “It is not to attack anyone or to prove one’s fighting abilities, but to be on safer side and not to be dependent on anyone for help and rescue,” says Kshama.
Kshama used to teach karate early in the morning and in the evening, after her college hours in Mysuru. “It was difficult as I had to rush from college to the class. It was even more difficult during exams. But I managed with the support from family and friends,” Kshama says. She also taught a student free of cost considering the economic status of the student.
She has won prizes at many national and state-level tournaments held at Hassan (2004), Coimbatore (2006), Jharkahand (2008), Thrissur (2009). She has also taken part in Dasara tournaments for four years. Kshama has even won prize at Kata Kumite and Thai boxing category at an international-level tournament held in Malaysia in 2009. She has won 158 medals in National and International Karate Championships. She is also a qualified referee of the All India Karate Federation.
- How was the support from your family for learning Karate?
As I said, my father was in a transferrable job and was initially difficult to start learning something. They didn’t say anything regarding me learning karate, but considering my passion for the martial art, they allowed me and stood by me.
- How important it is for women to learn karate?
Not only karate, I suggest women to learn any of the martial arts. It enables one to be strong both physically and mentally. Many carry pepper spray along with them as a precaution, but martial arts make one as a weapon.
- How could you cope up with education and karate?
I was passionate towards karate and it didn’t become a bother. If you enjoy and love what you do, it will not be difficult.
-By Shrithi Joyappa K