Women are often categorised as weak when it comes to physical tasks. However, a number of women have proven this notion wrong from time to time. Be it Mary Kom- a boxing legend, or the Phogat Sisters from a village of Haryana who represent India in Wrestling at international level.
This is the story of one lesser known woman, Dr. Seema Rao- India’s First And Only Female Commando Trainer. She has been training our Special Armed Forces for over 20 years without any compensation in return.
If you believe her identity to be limited to just a Commando Trainer, then you are wrong. Because I am talking about a tough lady who is a 7th degree Black Belt in military martial arts, A Professional Scuba diver, A firefighter, HMI Medalist in Rock Climbing, author and co-author of half a dozen books, and much more as you read.
Born to a family of Freedom Fighter- Professor Ramakant Sinari who helped in the liberation of Goa from the Portuguese, Dr. Seema always wanted to serve the nation. She found an opportunity to convert her dream into reality when she met her future husband at the age of 16. Her husband Dr. Deepak Rao had been practising martial arts since the tender age of 12. He was the one who introduced Seema to this field. She attained her degree in conventional medicine. After marriage, they both continued to learn and excel in martial arts, shooting, and weapon defence. Soon after becoming certified doctors, Deepak equipped himself with CLET Law Enforcement, while Seema chose to do MBA in Crisis Management.
Their First Step:
They both had 2 common goals in life. One was to serve the nation for rest of their lives. And the other one was to remain engaged to the thing they love the most, that is, Martial Arts. Therefore, they kept looking for ways to channelise both their goals together. And this is when, in 1996, they approached Service Chiefs of Army, Navy, BSG, and NSG. They were impressed by the dedication and professionalism of the couple that they decided to try out their training programme. And this is how they started.
What Makes Her A Hero:
Seema Rao along with her Husband, Major Deepak Rao have trained every Indian Elite Armed Forces for over 20 years WITHOUT any compensation. It includes Para Special Forces, Commando Wing, Corpse Battle Schools, Academies & Regt. Centers, Navy MARCOS Marine Commandos, NSG Black Cat, Air Force GARUD, ITBP, Paramilitary and various Police units of 16 states.
Seema Rao is one of few people in the world who are authorised to teach Jeet Kune Do– Electic and Hybrid martial arts developed by Bruce Lee. Dr Seema has been trained under Grandmaster Richard Bustillo who was Bruce Lee’s Student in Jeet Kune Do. She has therefore, become a pioneer in unarmed close quarter combat.
This Brave lady says,
“I can shoot an apple off a person’s head from 50 yards without giving him a scratch. and i can evade a speeding bullet aimed at my head with ease.”
The couple has developed a unique and modern method of CBQ (Close Quarter Battle) exclusively for the use of Indian Armed Forces. It is proved to be much better from the conventional one.
CBQ is the art of proximity combat that focuses on physical prowess, skill, and protocol. It involves techniques like reflex shooting with rifles, quick shooting with pistols, and bare-handed combat. It also entails the precise use of knives, bayonets, and other appropriate combat weapons. Room combat and confined space combat such as anti- hijack operations also come under the purview of CQB.
In The Advanced Commando Combat System, the reflex shooting method is unique and the unarmed methods can quickly handicap or cripple the enemy with the least effort. The team tactics in the new method (Bison System) differs from conventional western CQBs and are unique too. Her revised methods have earned her a patent.
After conducting proper research in combat shooting methods, the couple has invented a new method of shooting called The Rao System of Reflex Fire— an innovative method of shooting at close quarters. Seema Rao Says,
“The conventional methods of shooting generally uses up many seconds to aim precisely and then shoot. This is beneficial in long range combat when the enemy is say 300 yards away, covered by a rock. But when the enemy is just 20 yards away and in front of you, quick shooting without using too much time for precise aim is needed. To cater to this need in modern warfare, we devised the Rao System of Reflex Fire. The Indian forces have found this very beneficial.”
They have also established The Unarmed & Commando Combat Academy (UCCA) with a goal of training the Indian Forces and also to publish training books.
And This Is How She Never Gave Up:
From a vertebral fracture to being mercilessly shot by insurgents, this super woman never gave up. She once suffered a head injury, and had almost lost all her memory for a short while.
Her work schedule often demands travelling to some of the riskiest areas and due to her work commitments, she had to miss her father’s funeral.
It was impossible to carry a pregnency due to her work schedule. In a country people abort a female fetus, the couple chose to rise above all odds, and adopted a girl child.
The couple is extremely dedicated to their service towards the people who guard the nation. Even when they were facing financial problems, they did not charge a single penny for the their services.
She also talks about how some people whom she started training initially showed displeasure on being trained by a female commander. She said,
“Not only did i have to discpline them, but i also had to gain their confidence in my ability to teach. However, eventually, i have always managed to earn the respect of commandos that i have trained.”
Awards And Recognition:
Her Work and Braveness has been recognised round the globe. Her achievements include:
- US President’s Volunteer Service Award
- 3 Army Chief Citations
- World Peace Award by World Peace Congress, Malaysia. It was awarded by The Prime Minister Of Malaysia for her services to the country in 2008
- In 2009, after training GARUD Commandos, Dr Seema was invited by the Air Force Chief for the official IAF Para Jump Course. There she earned her IAF Para Wings.
- Over 1,000 felitications from The Government Of India.
Other Unknown Facts:
Seema Rao is the author and co-author of atleast half a dozen books. Their book ‘Encyclopedia of Close Combat Ops’ is the world’s first encyclopedia on CBQ Training. From a comprehensive analysis of World Terrorism to the commando manual of unarmed combat, all her books are available at libraries of FBI, INTERPOL, UN & SWAT Police over the world.
She proudly says,
“With UCCA, we have published seven books till date and three of these are limited editions for the exclusive use of the Indian forces. Our book Encyclopedia of Close Combat Ops is the world’s first encyclopedia on CQB training and it has found a proud place in the FBI library and the INTERPOL library.”
Not many people know that she has been a finalist spot in the Mrs. India World Pageant.
Seema Rao has also produced and acted in India’s first mixed martial arts movie, Hathapayi. The story revolves around a woman protagonist.
She is definitely a powerhouse and an inspiration to all. We salute Dr Seema Rao for her services towards our nation.