Prescribed: Taekwondo, for Bengal doctors

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Kolkata: The first batch of Bengal Government’s pilot project—to train medicos the martial arts now has 100 participants including medical students, young doctors and nurses enrolled at Kolkata’s Neel Ratan Sircar (NRS) Hospital. These young aspiring doctors have been sweating it out in between their medical training, to master Taekwondo. The batch is almost ready and now some other medical institutes have been approaching NRS Hospital, to help them train their faculties and students.

Because of the scuffles between patient party and doctors in some of Kolkata’s premium medical institutes, which made it to the headlines, earlier this year had forced the government to take a call on having doctors trained in martial arts. The grievances between doctors and patient had escalated to such an extent that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had to intervene.

From medicine to martial arts

Following, which the Bengal Government decided to train medical students in this 2,000-year-old martial art. This martial arts training was introduced as an extra-curricular activity, which was open not just only for medical students but also for young doctors of the state run hospitals.

Speaking to eNewsroom, Dr Dwaipayan Biswas, deputy superintendent of NRS,who himself is a Taekwondo black belt holder, said, “Being a Taekwondo black belt holder, I know the benefits of this martial art form. Concentration power, self-confidence, communication skill are highly intensified. It is a sport that increases mental agility and is an excellent method of de-stressing. It would help to improve the doctor patient relationship in a big way.” He claims that Taekwondo has helped him evolve, personally.

The NRS pilot project is Dr Biswas’s brain child. And has been shaping up well and its training model is all set to be replicated in other 13 state-run-medical colleges of Bengal.

More than self defence

So, is this training being imparted to help doctor deal situations when they are attacked by relatives of patients? Well, most undergoing this training claim that its not just to teach them self defence but help them ease their stress and improve communication skills.

Being agile, fit, de-stressed and a well grounded person are the essentials that a doctor needs to have. West Bengal Director of Medical Education (DME) Dr Debashis Bhattacharya said,

“Discussions are on to have such training workshops in other medical colleges like RG Kar Hospital and Calcutta National Medical College, as they have expressed an interest. However, we are yet to draft a formal notification, announcing the execution of such training in other medical colleges.”

According to state health department sources, NRS hospital deputy superintendent Dr (Major) Biswas, who himself is also a taekwondo black belt, would be appointed as a nodal officer.

Master Pradipta Kumar Roy, a regular member of Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Leaders Forum who has been giving training to the junior doctors at NRS hospital, said that it was a very positive development.

“I appreciate this initiative. West Bengal is the first state in the country to lead this educational movement on motivation and stress management through taekwondo. Many reputable universities and educational institutions have taekwondo as part of their curriculum. As a taekwondo player and instructor, it is my duty to build up moral character and mental strength among people,” said Roy.

Martial Arts Trained Doctors Bengal
Medical students attending martial arts training session

Doctor’s take

Well, isn’t training doctors in martial arts, a short cut? Wouldn’t bettering infrastructure, tightening loopholes that lead to medical lapses at times be a better way? On condition of anonymity, a senior nephrologist, said, “That would be the ideal solution. But then in life, nothing is ideal. Look as this training as workshop that will prove to stress busters for doctors, who have to spend so many hours in the chamber and operation theatres. Its not the perfect solution, but still, it will help in the long run.”

Reacting to the same, Dr Shivshankar Chatterjee of NRS, said, “I can only say that introduction of Taekwondo into the curriculum, will help in the overall development of the medical students.”
While many hinted at AIIMS move of also introducing a similar curriculum in martial art in their New Delhi campus.

And what more? The students are loving it. “It is an excellent way to raise our physical fitness along with our concentration level. We look forward to those two days in a week when we attend the class,” said Mohammad Rizwan Uzzamam, a final year medical student of NRS.

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