Panaji, Sep 13 (IANS) Goa Police have been criticised for their high-handedness, lack of investigative skills and poor human rights record. The police are now banking on Krav Maga, an Israeli street-fighting craft, to add a cutting edge to their combative skills.
A one-day workshop in the martial art was organised by Krav Maga Global (KMG), the group that has also coached the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) that guards the prime minister and some important leaders. This could lead to a bigger action plan aimed at making the state police "tactically, technically, physically and mentally" better, through Krav Maga, a lethal cocktail of several martial arts, wrestling, boxing and street-fighting.
Elroy Vaz, who conducted the training session, said that the Israeli martial art would also help the police force develop "muscle memory", a key ingredient in combat situations.
"Our body has a natural response to situations. How Krav Maga helps is in adding a layer of practised ease to this natural response mechanism," Vaz told IANS.
In a situation where police officers are armed, but shooting is often treated as a last recourse, training in Krav Maga's combat techniques could help in both defensive and offensive situations.
"There are situations where police have to disarm an armed suspect or handcuff a person who is resisting their attempts. Krav Maga has a way out for this," Vaz said.
The session that Vaz conducted was for the anti-terror squad, whose duties range from protecting VIPs to handling extreme law and order situations, among other critical chores.
Goa Police officer D. Gad said Krav Maga could lend a "cutting edge" to the skills learnt in training schools.
"The boys saw it as a very beneficial exercise," he said.
The KMG, headed by Israeli Eyal Yanilov, one of the foremost exponents of the martial art globally, has also trained the elite Indian Navy's marine commandos or MARCOS, best remembered for their anti-terror operation following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
There are other defence ministry assignments, but Vaz doesn't want to speak about them.
"We are in talks with the Goa Police for sustained training programmes. It is on track. Training the instructors in the police is also crucial because some of the physical drills still practised in the police force are around 20-30 years old," Vaz said.
Krav Maga was developed initially as a close combat (Krav Maga means contact combat in Hebrew) craft used by the Israeli defence forces.
Its endorsement by Hollywood celebrities has given the martial art global exposure.
Some of Daniel Craig's moves in the opening train sequence in the latest James Bond flick "Skyfall" are inspired by the Israeli technique.
The technique also boasts of being the most beneficial in real-life street fighting situations as opposed to other more classical martial arts like karate or taekwondo, which are fought in more sanitised conditions and are bound by rules.
(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)