This week on the FitMonk Digest, we have the Model/Actor/TV Presenter/Karateka and Gold Medalist,
Tell us about yourself:
My introduction would be Model, Actor, TV Presenter and also a Karateka. Understandably, it all sounds a bit too much but I believe I represent something beyond the typical model or an actor. I am a professional model who is also a serious sportsman. I do competitive Karate, while still being an active model. I’ve represented India in the Commonwealth Karate and won the gold for my country.
Anything beyond acting, modelling and winning medals?
I also do awareness courses for women, where I speak about the importance of knowing at least some of the basics of self-defense, because I feel it is helps people believe when they see it work, and not just be told. It’s as necessary to know as it is empowering. I have proven it myself, that it’s important to be strong. Beauty is just a look, intelligence is something you’re born with, but strength is something you can achieve. Especially for women, being powerful is important, given the events that have transpired in our recent history with violence against women.
I held a recent hour long session in the Phoenix Mall, Fit Fest, and I displayed 7 basic techniques of self-defense. These techniques are so basic anyone can do them. You don’t have to be into any form of martial arts, it’s for everyone.
Why do these sessions?
I did it primarily to show people that it’s possible. The notion that karate is only for kids is also ludicrous. We’ve had people aged 60, who do karate. Karate is more grounded than whatever is shown in movies. It is about power, form, concentration and focus. And I do karate at a much higher level, Goju Ryu Karate.
How did you get into martial arts?
I was a track athlete in school, I played kabbadi at a state-level, and I was the volleyball team captain. In college, I played basketball for our club. I’d always wanted to martial arts, but hadn’t found the chance to get around to it back then. I initially wanted to either become a lawyer or join the army, but somehow I got into modelling. I just put in a form to get into Miss India and got accepted. From there, modelling and acting followed. I met a designer friend, who invited me into a karate exhibition, and we went and saw the sensei putting the trainees through conditioning, which involved a very long bamboo stick and the trainees being hit on the stomach with it. Most people would have turned to run by then, but I loved it and wanted to join immediately. I wanted to be as strong as the boys.
In 2006, I had my first state-level championship, and in my first try, I got the gold. From then, it’s now 2015, and I won the gold for India in the Commonwealth. That’s been my long 13 year career in karate where I’ve done numerous state-level, national-level, national games, 11 odd fractures, and I’ve loved it all.
Any advice for the beginners out there?
For the beginners I would just say, start. Start some physical activity. Any form of exercise you do will have the effect of opening you up to more. If you walk, you can try running soon. If you gym, you can try martial arts or dancing. The options always show themselves once you try something physical first.