Dr. Seema Rao: India’s First Woman Commando Trainer!

Indian’s pride!

This incredibly multifaceted lady is one of the only 10 women in the world certified in Jeet Kune Do, a unique martial art form created by Bruce Lee in the 1960s. Seema grew up listening to stories of India’s struggle for independence from her deeply patriotic father and she always wanted to serve her country. Seema has since then spent 20 years as a full-time guest trainer of the Indian armed forces.

Dr Seema Rao’s years growing up were committed to the cause of serving the country, drawing inspiration from her freedom fighter father. Dr Seema Rao is the first Indian woman Commando Trainer. She has been training the Special Forces as a guest trainer for 20 years without any compensation because it was her way of contributing to the country.

Seema Rao’s journey wasn’t a bed of roses. She faced several financial hardships in the initial years of their marriage but stuck to her decision of not charging a single rupee for her work. Seema was constantly travelling to hostile locations, through harsh weather, inhospitable terrain and given her rigorous training schedule, she realised that it would be impossible to carry a pregnancy through; Seema decided not to have her own child and instead adopted a girl. Seema has suffered multiple injuries including a vertebral fracture and a severe head injury which cost her her memory for months; she could not recognise anyone but her husband. She has also been shot at by insurgents but her determination to serve her nation never wavered.

She was instrumental in modernising the close quarter battle training along with her husband. Dr Seema Rao is a sky diver, a combat shooting instructor, a 7th degree Blackbelt in military martial arts, a firefighter, a scuba diver, and a HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute) medalist in rock climbing. She is one among a handful of instructors in the world authorised to teach Jeet Kune Do, an eclectic and hybrid martial art founded by Bruce Lee in 1967. Besides this, she is a certified doctor in conventional medicine and also has an MBA in crisis management. Not many know that she also produced and acted in India’s first mixed martial arts movie, ‘Hathapayi’, which revolves around a woman protagonist. This was the first Indian film that showcased a martial art of Jeet Kune Do. She has co -authored books that have found their way to eminent libraries across the globe.  With all this in view, it would be an understatement to say Seema Rao has done women proud; she has stood by her nation with her life on the line.

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