Techies taking to martial arts to bust stress, stay fit

Chennai: With increased stress at the work place and sedentary lifestyles taking a toll on their health, more and more young IT professionals are taking to martial arts to keep themselves fit both physically as well as mentally.

Gyms help train an individual to keep the body fit, but for those working in IT industry, there has to be proper training in line with their work culture and martial arts meets their requirements and boosts their self-confidence, says an expert in MuayThai, a martial art form of Thailand.

“Practising regular exercises would not help the body to stay fit, there has to be training as per their body and most importantly their work culture,” the All-India Pro-Muaythai and Mixed Martial Art Association Founder-President J Keshav said.

Normally, techies work more than 12 hours a day in one place and hence require more than exercises to overcome the stress, he told PTI.

Keshav, who has been teaching Muaythai and other forms of martial arts for the last 25 years here, said an increasing number of IT professionals were attending his courses.

The objective of the programmes offered by his association were to equip participants in practical self-defence techniques and fighting skills and to develop mental strength that can be readily utilised when there was a need, Keshav, who has also trained some film artistes, said.

“Martial arts not only helps them to stay fit but also trains them to develop self-confidence. So far I would have trained about 5,000 people. Most of them work in the IT companies situated in the IT corridor,” Keshav said.

28-year-old Kavitha Viswanath, an employee of a leading software firm here, attends Muaythai boxing classes two days every week. “I was a bit reluctant to join in the beginning, since I wasn’t sure of what I was getting into. But now, after a few classes, I think this is an amazing sport,” she said.

“I highly recommend this to all those who want to defend themselves, channelise their energies and de-stress in the most interesting way,” she said.

Besides, learning martial arts also helps IT professionals to take care of their personal safety as they tend to travel at odd hours. “Most IT and BPO employees work at odd hours and leave for home in cabs or in their own vehicles. They may face any kind of problem at that time, therefore, if they learn martial art training, it definitely helps them in protecting themselves,” he reasoned.

Keshav, whose association has 119 offices across the country, said people from Gulf countries also visit the association for training every summer. His association provides training in Muaythai, cardio-kickboxing, mixed martial arts, personal training, and kickboxing for women he said, adding some of his wards have even competed in State and national level championships.

Keshav said the association offered special coures for women. "We offer special self defense courses for women, teaching techniques aimed at avoiding or combatting any type of physical confrontation. Most of the women come to us to learn self-defense techniques and some to stay fit."

Keshav, who also offers customised packages for children, said by practicing martial art, children develop good manners, eye contact, and public speaking skills. "As the child advances through the ranks,the opportunities are more", he said, adding currently, he trains about 100 children.

To a query, he said they also train Mixed martial arts (MMA) which is a full contact combat sport that allows a wide variety of fighting techniques.

"This is mainly for beginners and are inter-mediate. It is a mixture of martial art traditions and non-traditions, mainly to be used in competitions. The rules allow the use of striking and grappling techniques, both while standing and on the ground," he said.