Thursday, December 2

‘Kung-fu Madam’ teaches aikido to underprivileged children

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Sanjukta Roy has been immersed in her aikido martial art practice for the last nine years and she is taking it to marginalised spaces of Kolkata. 

Three days in a week, Sanjukta sets up the dojo in Sahid Smriti Colony, near Patuli. She doesn’t take any money. 

“Aikido literally translates to the path of harmony,” she tells My Kolkata. “Ai means meeting, ki is the spirit and do means path. The path of harmony.”

The form she practises is called the Kobayashi Ryu Aikido. It is a continually evolving form of the martial art. 

“In very layman language, it [aikido] does not use body strength. Of course you would need to develop your fitness and strength but it uses your opponent’s energy to develop a correct reaction to confrontation,” she says.

The Academy of Aikido India has been practising and training aikido for the last 25 years. Calcutta Judo Club and North Calcutta Aikido Club are two prominent points in the city. 

At the colony, Sanjukta has around  21 students, of whom 10 to 11 are girls from 6 to 26 years of age and the rest are boys, 7-13 years old. She is incredibly proud of her students. 

“Some of them can be examples for their community,” she says. 

However, economics does trump physical education for underprivileged children sometimes.

“In the last three years, we have lost students to family financial problems — the students had to get jobs — or they moved away or girls got married early,” she says.

Sanjukta’s students love her and the people in the colony call her “Kung-fu Madam”. 

But before this, Sanjukta was busy with her textile designs, running a successful business. 

“I am by profession specialised to be a textile designer and I have worked in the industry for about 19 years, most of which I have spent in the crafts sector,” she says.

Where does Kolkata fit in in all of this?

“I think coming to Kolkata made it all possible,”Sanjukta says. “Before Kolkata, I was in Delhi. I grew up in Delhi. Kolkata was never there. I just took a chance, took a risk, and I think it was the best decision I took.”

Source: Telegraph

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