“I have been a Silambam teacher for close to ten years now. It has been an ancestral sport for over three decades now and I am continuing the legacy. Silambam has been an integral part of my life since I was five years old. My father would teach it to my older brother, but never to me, so I took it upon myself to learn the art. My uncles have been my role models and an inspiration for me to learn Silambam; I used to watch them in awe as they would practise on the streets due to lack of proper facilities like a ground or a practice space, back then.
Everyone calls me Silambam Prabha and that has become my identity. My moment of pride was when I was selected as the National Referee for Silambam, which is a post I still hold, and IAS officer Mr. Rajendar has been my pillar of support through all this.
When I had initially started this class at Marina Beach, I had just seven students, but now I have over 100 students who come every weekend morning, the youngest being a three-year-old. While it is a pleasure the teach kids, the workout that I gain from the entire practise, keeps me going too.
I live in Avadi and travelling for 30 kilometres every weekend to be there for the 6 am class on the beach sand is refreshing. It makes me feel healthy and alive. Silambam has been my reason to live and I keep myself busy by taking classes for people of all age groups, right from three to 60 years of age. Apart from the classes here on the beach, I have a batch in Mandhavelli, two branches in Avadi, and one in Vanarapetai. I also train the CRPF personnel and the PRS (Tamil Nadu Special Police Force), to help them stay fit while they are camping at the Avadi police training grounds.
But what gives me satisfaction is the fact that I get to teach some specially-abled children. Silmambam requires a person to be physically and mentally focused on every movement, else one might end up hurting oneself. However, it is hard to teach this to kids with special needs and easy to lose cool and stop teaching them. But what’s the point in teaching someone who can learn the art with ease, if I say that I am a Silambam teacher, I should be able to teach everyone the art and make everyone that comes to me a pioneer.
It is nice to see parents and kids being enthusiastic about Silambam, I have trained and sent numerous children to district level tournaments within six months period, which I think is an achievement in itself.”
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