Published: 11th December 2019
Meet karate teacher Damodar Nayak, who teaches kids self-defence without charging a dime
Damodar Nayak, who lives in Kachiguda, also organises public demonstrations by students so that their parents and others feel more confident about them and the martial art that they are pursuing
When Damodar Nayak thought long and hard about how he could contribute to society, it finally occurred to him that he could put his coveted black belt in karate to good use by training young students in the martial art. And that is exactly what he does today, with a weekly strength of 200 students across various centres in Hyderabad — Nrupatunga High School, three branches of Sharada Karnataka Kanya Shala and in the cultural activity space Karnataka Sahitya Mandira.
"I often feel bad," confesses Damodar, "that children are not pursuing karate because of some deep interest or a 'craze', like they pursue cricket or football. They are now pushed to pursue karate because they are scared, especially young girls who have been traumatised by the recent happenings in Hyderabad, like the horrifying case of Disha." Nonetheless, the 40-year-old remains committed to his cause and has remained so for the past two years. Karate has helped him through difficult times as a child, so he reasons that it might help the children of today in more ways than one.
The first three months of training are spent on the basics like warm-ups and punches and slowly, the difficulty level is increased. While with the boys, he concentrates on building stamina, for the girls, it's mainly about self-defense techniques. Damodar, who also runs a family business, encourages his students in many ways - they are usually a part of Republic Day and Independence Day demonstrations conducted at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium. He also dedicates his time and energy towards convincing those parents who are reluctant to let their children practice karate and even personally bears the cost involved in taking them to karate competitions. "Just two weeks ago, we took ten children for a competition. Their travel and food expenses were taken care of by me," says Damodar, who as born in Shimoga, Karnataka, but is currently settled in Kachiguda. He is always ready to come forward and help those with financial constraints to earn their brown and black belts.
Damodar Nayak has a black belt in karate | (Pic: Damodar Nayak)
Apart from the free classes, there is one other aspect of the do-gooder that everyone should know about. Every Saturday, from 9 pm to 1 am, you will find him and a couple of his friends shuttling between Gandhi Hospital, Niloufer Hospital and Government Maternity Hospital. Collectively, they feed 2,000 people a hot meal which consists of bagara rice, sambar and sweet boondi. He does this as a part of Being Human Ek Umeed, which he started with his friends.
Other activities of Being Human Ek Umeed:
- As many as 140 of them have signed up to donate blood during emergencies
- They also rescue animals
- They usually don't accept donations, but instead insist on people's participation in their activities
Scenes from his class