Seema Rao, India’s only female commando trainer has been giving commando training to most Armed Forces in India for 20 years with no monetary compensation charged. No less than Wonder women, Seema is one of the only 10 women in the world to have certified in a special form martial arts created by Bruce Lee In 1960’s called ‘Jeet Kune Do’.
This women of substance is every bit of a persona that deserves huge respect and admiration being a firefighter, a scuba driver, an HMI medalist in rock climbing, a combat shooting instructor, a 7th-degree black holder in Military Martial Arts, she was also a finalist in Mrs India World pageant.
Daughter of freedom fighter Prof. Ramakant Sinari, Seema Rao was introduced to this empowering field by her husband Major Deepak Rao who himself had been practicing martial arts since he was 12.
The couple, after marriage kept on exceling their skills while studying medicine. Deepak, equipped with CLET Law Enforcement certification and Seema doing MBA in Crisis Management started with a plan of contributing to the country with whatever they have got and thereafter decided to train Soldiers for free.
Patriotism and Passion were two things the couple stood by. Their sense of gratitude towards the country’s defence and need to always be connected to combat and martial art took them off on a never ending journey for their common interest.
When approached by the couple in 1996, Service Chiefs of Army, Navy, BSF, and NSG were impressed by their zeal and training routine and it has been 20 years since. Seema Rao has trained Elite Units like the NSG , MARCOS, GARUD, Para SF, BSF, the Army Corps Battle Schools and its Commando Wing and also Police officers training.
During this incredible line of work the obstacles were never short of either. From Financial instability in early years to physical harm, Seema has been through it all. The financial problems could never break them into taking fees for their training and the hardships sometimes even led to personal loss.
Seema could not even attend her father’s funeral as she regularly needs to travel to hostile locations and inhospitable environment. Considering her challenging work ethics and rigorous training schedule, Seema decided to adopt a girl instead of carrying a pregnancy. The woman had suffered several head injuries and fractures and still stands strong.
Rao has proved herself with flying colours in the male-dominated field of commando training, however, there still remains a bunch of trainees who are reluctant to get trained by a woman she says.
“Not only did I have to discipline 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,” Seema said in an interview.
“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.”
Raos have established the Unarmed Commando Combat Academy (UCCA) also developed a unique and different method of CQB called Advanced Commando Combat System (ACCS) or Bison System.
“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“.
Seema is well equipped in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) which involves use of various shooting techniques, use of appropriate combat weapons like knives and bare-handed combat. Seema with her husband has received 4 Army Chief Citations including IAF Para Wings in 2009.