Katherine Muay Thai instructor David Flood is embarking on a trip to India to teach young girls self-defence.
With the prevalence of assaults against women and girls in India, Mr Flood said he hopes to instill confidence through basic self-defence techniques.
Spread over one week, 950 girls between the ages of 14 and 18, at Dhote Bandhu Science College in Gondia, will spend 45 minutes with the trainer.
It is a short amount of time in terms of teaching a new skill, but enough to empower the girls to feel confident.
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“I will be doing five, 45 minute sessions every day with 30 to 40 students in each class,” Mr Flood said.
“If I can teach one person to protect themselves, I am happy.
“I am doing my job if I am changing the way they think. There is an alternative, these girls shouldn’t have to take violence,” he said.
The owner of Katherine’s only Muay Thai and self-defence gym, Blue Eagle Training and Fitness, has been teaching for more than 35 years.
He was asked by Ajitha Sugnanam a dentist and squadron leader in the RAAF to be involved in the Women’s Empowerment and Leadership conference, in India, this year.
An avid humanitarian, Ms Sugnanam travels to India every year to bring basic health care to remote areas in the region.
“I am looking forward to the challenge,” Mr Flood said.
“We live a privileged life in Australia. We have access to resources other places do not and a high socioeconomic status. A lot of these girls wouldn’t have the chance to participate in something like this on a regular basis.”
With a sixth-degree black belt in martial arts and Muay Thai, Mr Flood is confident he can inspire confidence in the girls.
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“I have one class with these girls to build confidence.
“The techniques have to be basic and easy to remember. Teaching these girls how to protect the face is a top priority as well as getting out of a hold.
“Forty-five minutes is short but it is enough time to get them thinking in a way that could help them in a serious situation.”
Additional classes will be open to girls who show a willingness to learn more, Mr Flood said.
The Women’s Empowerment and Leadership conference is run on volunteers.
Mr Flood said he was thankful to the community support he had received.
“All expenses are at my own cost, however when Robert Buzzo at Rhad Security heard about my trip he offered to sponsor me and cover the cost of my airfares. I am very thankful.”
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