The whistle blows and the pairs distributed across the hall at the Indian Heritage Academy in Bangalore enter into energetic scuffles. They are tugging, boxing, screaming, ducking and doing everything one might thinks fits into a fight. Sindhu Kashyap, a freelance photographer who has been kickboxing for two years, seems relatively organized in her attack.
Her opponent, another kickboxer, is closely examining her face to read her next possible move.The adrenalin rush, combined with the sense of being in control, makes her smile—it’s wiped off by a punch he quickly throws at her face.
Round one: The Bengaluru Fight Club has free membership, and lets you fight an opponent (or two) in bouts lasting 5 minutes, or until one of the parties submits.
Throwing fists into the air will never be cool enough, neither will striking karate poses randomly. The real deal is to jump into the ring and fight the real fight, and you could give it a try at the Bengaluru Fight Club. Inspired heavily by the 1999 Brad Pitt-starrer Fight Club, Ashwin Mohan, 33, a martial arts trainer who runs Independent Shootfighters Inc. in Bangalore, figured that knowing how to fight and actually fighting the fight were two completely different things.
The concept of creating a space where people could simply fight, he says, came effortlessly to him. “There was no platform where people could test their fighting skills. People learn techniques for the sake of the art or self-defence. Getting into a fight also means that you have to learn to manage your emotions,” says Mohan, adding that the only way to get over a fear is to ride through it.
Flexing your muscles as you read this? Here’s how it works: Being a member of the fight club comes at zero cost. You walk in and can fight with the first person you see. No weapons are allowed on the floor. Each fight lasts 5 minutes, or when one of the parties submits. If you are particularly masochistic, you can fight more than one person at a time. Reacting to our surprise at such an option, Mohan explains that fighting can give you an adrenalin rush—“the more the merrier”, he says.
Kashyap has been fighting at the club since it opened its doors in January. Two years of kickboxing had brought about unexpected personality changes in her. “It calmed me down to a great extent,” she says, but fighting and testing her skills at the fight club brought about an entirely new set of emotions. “So far I have tried my skill set on people I know—my coach and other students I have grown to be comfortable with. At the fight club, I was suddenly fighting people I have never seen,” says Kashyap, describing how her mind is at its most alert, thinking up the best tactics even as she’s blocking moves from her opponent. “The fear of confrontation is a tough one to conquer,” she says, stressing that fighting new sets of people is the best possible way to test your skills and a sure-shot way to boost confidence.
The Bengaluru Fight Club started holding fight days in January and has had five sessions so far. “We currently have about 12 regulars, while the rest stream in and stream out,” says Mohan. Most of them have some kind of martial arts training. But there are also those who have no training but come in hoping for a good fight. Winning a fight, he says, is rarely just about strength. “If you want to win a fight, leave your ego behind. It’s important to concentrate your energies. In fact, it’s easy to lead an angry person to defeat,” says Mohan.
But surely not everybody would be going home happy? “I get calls from spouses asking why their partner has scratches on them all the time,” Mohan jokes. On a more serious note, he says that mischief makers who can’t accept defeat with grace or create scenes will be reported to the police. Conveniently, the Indian Heritage Academy, where the fights take place, is just 100m away from a police station.
Click here for more details or call Ashwin Mohan on 9845396360