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Warrior in Life -Poonam

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Immediately after Shikher earned his Black Belt in 2016, Sensei Yashpal asked him to share his knowledge. Shikher invited the people in his society for self-defence and karate lessons. A few nervous-looking women and only one man showed up for the first class. Poonam was the first person who turned up for the session, a curious student who was full of energy to learn something new.


The First Karate Class by Sensei Shikher
The First Class- September 2016


Gradually other women dropped out as the intensity of training increased. Poonam became the sole female survivor. Poonam, Ravijit and Sharad ( who joined a few days later) were the original gangsters.


The first gang-Poonam, Ravijit and Sharad
Poonam, Sharad and Ravijit


Poonam worked harder than everyone else, matching Ravijit and Sharad on every bit of sweat.


The women passersby always gave Poonam a frown as they saw her taking punches and hitting the punching bag as if they wanted to say- Aren't women supposed to do only Zumba and Yoga?


Poonam continued training and gained respect from Sensei Shikher and everyone who saw her train. Poonam inspired others in her family and many other boys and girls.


Karate Kids, Men and Women
Inspiring others to start the journey


Poonam became the senior-most student in the class. She always assisted the juniors and helped in training. She attended seminars to become the batch's first to achieve a belt promotion.


A visitor once showed up in the class. He claimed to kick harder than everyone in the batch without any training. He asked if he could demonstrate his kick. Sensei took his kicks and appreciated them. The person's ego wanted more. He asked if he could absorb a kick. Sensei refused and asked Poonam to kick him. She kicked gently. The visitor started to laugh. Poonam glanced for permission to go harder. Sensei nodded as Poonam landed a controlled but slightly harder kick on his thigh.

The visitor went down and limped out of the class. He may have got an important lesson to not look down upon women.

Karate Seminar with Soke Tamas
Seminar with Soke Tamas


Poonam became a fierce yet calm competitor, aspiring to improve daily and working hard. If someone beat her in a sparring match, she would contact Sensei on improvement areas.

She attended a training camp in Rishikesh with martial artists from all over the country. Poonam impressed everyone with her hard work and inspired other women who accompanied their kids to train for themselves.


Karate Training Camp in Rishikesh
Training Camp in Rishikesh


Poonam once visited a movie with her mom and sister. It was past midnight when they were coming out in an elevator. A few men rushed inside the elevator and started whistling and talking lewd. Poonam and the other women froze. Poonam took a deep breath and gathered herself with all her training sessions. She made a tight fist and moved forward from the other women. She looked straight into the eyes of those men as if asking them to bring it on. The men went quiet with this unexpected challenge and stepped to the next floor.

Poonam learned that being peaceful and harmless are two different things.


Best Karate Student
Best Student Award


Poonam reached her Brown Belt with sheer determination. The people who looked at her with mockery looked at her for inspiration and health tips. Sensei asked her to participate in a Karate tournament. She respected Sensei and showed up despite her hesitation. She entered the arena nervously, up against a much younger opponent. She surprised her opponent with her technique and movements. She lost the fight by a narrow score, yet she came out smiling, knowing she had won over the inner demons. She realised she could achieve whatever she wanted.


Karate Tournament
First Karate Tournament for Poonam


Once during the festival of Holi, a hooligan once-troubled Poonam and a few other women. He would sneak behind and put artificial colours, Poonam warned him, yet the guy continued his antics.

Poonam saw him coming and swiftly moved with a single-leg takedown, lifted the guy and threw him in the pool, which he created for others.

The audience burst out in laughter while some froze, unable to digest how a woman could take on a grown-up man so easily.


Poonam earned her Black Belt in 2022 and continues to train hard. The fulcrum of the batch, she looks after everyone else. She is an inspiration for Sensei and all the other students.



Karate Black Belt
Poonam earned her Black Belt in April, 2022




Karate Kids with Sensei
Sensei Poonam with the Kids Batch

From the first student to becoming a Sensei, Poonam currently practices and teaches the kids batch at Kombat Hall and prepares for the road ahead.



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Poonam Sensei is indeed an inspiration. An example of how sheer dedication can take you places. A benchmark we all want to get to...

Wish her all teh success and happiness in times to come.

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Shikher Gupta
Shikher Gupta
06 jun. 2023
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