Uttari Rampur

Five minutes from Apne Aap headquarters in Forbesgunge is the Kishori Mandel girls’ school in the village of Uttari Rampur.  It is a small area on the outskirts of Forbesgunge, and it is like many of the small villages I have seen in Bihar.  It is surrounded by swamps and agricultural plots.  The houses are huts.  The difference between this village and others like it is that it is populated mostly by ‘Untouchables’.  And the lucky ones get to send their children to Kishori Mandel.  This means 20 young girls, between the ages of 10 and 16.

I arrived there yesterday, again late (my driver, Dheeraj, seems to have a very poor sense of time).  So, again, girls had to be located and asked to come back to the school for a karate class.  Three out of 20 came.  So at 5:20 pm, with their teacher, Kalpana, I began to teach karate.

I began with basic punching and proper stance (feet shoulder width apart; knees slightly bent).  We started slow, added some speed.  The turning over the fist thing was kind of difficult for them to grasp, but they were catching on quite well.  I then thought it might be a good idea to show them a kata; this worked so well at KGBV.  So, I motioned for them to wait and watch.  I took a position in the schoolyard – a piece of ground just 30 feet long by 10 feet wide.  I started to do Bassai Dai.  And every time I put my foot down hard, it sunk into the ground like a hole had opened up.  And, sure enough, the entire yard seemed to be undermined by some creature’s burrow.  I finished the kata and walked back to the three girls, who very quickly said that they no longer wanted to do karate.  ?????  I thought I had got through Bassai Dai fairly well. ; p  I still don’t know what happened, but I then told them that I would do self defense.  Like at Kavaspur, basic wrist and neck grab escape.  I just started doing the drills with them and they really liked it.

Throughout the 40 minutes that I had to teach, I corrected fists, positioned arms, and adjusted shoulders.  These girls are just like any other girls in any other karate class.  And they were not untouchable to me.


  1. katie mckeever said,

    August 29, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    I’m not sure what happened with the kata but you taught them good things that will hopfully help them if they need it.
    you did great:)
    Katie M.

  2. Belle said,

    August 30, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Katie, I think that I scared them with my kiai. They are not used to girls or women showing such strength.

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