Khurda: At a time when there is widespread concern in the society over safety of women and girls outside home and at workplace, Kalinga Kanya Paika Akhada here is empowering the fairer sex by training them in martial arts for self-defence.
Set up by Sunita Behera, the akhada imparts training to women and girls and prepares them to protect themselves in any adverse situation in life. While self-defence has become the need of the hour, Kalinga Kanya Paika Akhada has set an example in empowering women and girls.
The institution trains women in various traditional forms of martial arts and makes them stronger to handle adverse situations. By doing this, the akhada is taking forward the age-old martial art forms and also making women and girls stronger to fight any adversity in life.
The akhada is situated in Ratanapur village in the district and its founder Sunita is the role model for the women here.
Sources said Sunita was just 11 years old and studying in Class VI when she became concerned about her safety. After seeing Paika akhadas in Khurda, she thought such a training institute could prove a saviour for women.
Initially, Sunita practised stick fighting and subsequently, along with some of her classmates, she started learning martial art. Later, they learnt the skills of sword fighting, which enhanced their confidence. Soon, Sunita became a role model for other women and girls. During her college days, Sunita earned fame due to her martial art skills. Her college authorities also began thinking about self-defence of girls after noticing Sunita’s fighting skills.
In December 2012, a special national service camp was organised by Janata College in Kuhurhi in Khurda, in which Sunita along with 14 other girls participated. A Paika guru imparted training to the participants. The guests of the camp were taken aback by the self-defence tactics of Sunita. Later, Sunita founded Kalinga Kanya Paika Akhada.
Sources said the motto of the institute is to empower women and girls so that they can protect themselves in society and lead a fearless life. Apart from judo and karate, women and girls are being imparted training in sword-fighting, stick-fighting and other forms of martial arts.
The members of Kalinga Kanya Paika Akhada showcased their fighting skills for the first time at Gadakhurda and Maa Barunei shrine. Later, Sunita and her team were highly appreciated for their fighting skills in and outside the state. Apart from taking part in district-level festivals and state-level Paika akhada competitions, Sunita and her team showcased their talent in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Delhi and Kerala, and brought honour to the district at national level.
Speaking about her institution, Sunita said, “Girls and women face many challenges once they come out of their houses. We train girls and women in self-defence tactics and make them stronger, both mentally and physically. Those who undergo training at Paika akhada here need not take any other self-defence training.”
Talking about her team, she explained, “We have two teams, one with 12 members and the other with seven. Both the teams participate in various state and national-level events and showcase their skills in traditional dance, martial art, sword-fighting, military formation, stick-fighting and footwork patterns, among others. My aim is to do many more things for these girls and women.”
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