When martial arts is not enough …

MRT Station attack

An unsuspecting right hook went flying to her face, instantly dropping her to the floor

As she begged for mercy, he continued pounding and kicking her like a punching bag.

He took her belongings and fled when the lift doors opened a second time, leaving the victim shocked and traumatised.

That was the scene of an attack at the Taman Mutiara MRT station lift on Valentine’s Day.

The video, widely shared on social media, drew anger and disgust.

Police nabbed a 26-year-old suspect on Feb 18 and he has been remanded for seven days.

While many debated the poor security at such public spaces, there are those who asserted more women and children need to take up self-defence classes to protect themselves.

But those who practice martial arts know what happens on the training mat or in the ring is different from a street fight.

“It boils down to confidence. Classes are conducted in a controlled environment. We will never know or anticipate what happens out there.

“Also, there are no rules in such engagements,” said professional fighter and Lekir Fitness & Mixed Martial Arts Academy trainer, Shareh Nasrullah.

“It’s always good to equip yourself with the right skills. At least you know how to protect and defend yourself. You will learn how to minimise the consequences of the attacks.

“But it’s easy to talk. You will never know how a person reacts when placed in such a traumatic situation.”

Shareh, who watched the video, said: “I felt sorry for her. I’m sure her confidence has dropped and she will be traumatised. No one should ever be placed in such a situation but these are things that we can’t control or anticipate.”

“Learning martial arts is a good start but remember, it’s about building confidence and keeping calm to react better.”

Some academies conduct sessions for women to learn self-defence.

However, national Muay Thai exponent Nidal Mahmoud said those who attended such sessions generally tend to view it as a workout.

“When you think about it as a session to sweat, it’s just that. But if you take it up seriously, you are training yourself not to just attack or defend but to remain calm and composed, to learn when to strike and when not to strike,” said Nidal, who is also a trainer at Lekir Fitness & Mixed Martial Arts Academy.

He added martial arts could boost a person’s confidence.

“I was never a confident guy. I used to be the easy target in school and even got into a fight when I was 16.

“Ever since I took up Muay Thai seriously, I started gaining confidence. I’ve learnt trainers can motivate and encourage you but it boils down to the individual in wanting to boost his or her confidence.”

Nidal described the victim in the attack at the MRT station as “rather strong”.

“She didn’t faint from the first unsuspecting blow. Generally, many view men to be stronger than women but that’s not always the case.

“Also, you must understand if you are up against someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the approach differs.”

“They will not feel the pain unless you knock him down or choke him to submit.”

Nidal’s advice to everyone – always be alert.

“It’s easy to talk but let’s all play a part in providing a safe environment for each other. Just because you attend a few training sessions, it doesn’t mean you are ready to fight.

“A fighter is a fighter. I’ve seen videos of professional women fighters who made their attackers cry.

“But it’s different if you’ve only been training. Don’t allow that misplaced faith to make you vulnerable or you could end up being another victim,” he warned.