Inspirational Women – Seema Rao

Our Next Inspirational Woman is Seema Rao, India’s only female Commando Trainer.

A 7th-degree black belt holder in military martial arts, Seema Rao is India’s only female commando trainer. A prominent expert in close quarter battle, Seema has been giving commando training to various armed forces in India for 20 years, without taking any monetary compensation in return! Seema is also a combat shooting instructor, a firefighter, a scuba diver, an HMI medalist in rock climbing, and a Mrs India World pageant finalist.

This incredibly multifaceted lady is also 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 Rao is the daughter of freedom fighter Prof. Ramakant Sinari, who helped in the liberation of Goa from the Portuguese. The deeply patriotic Seema grew up listening to stories of India’s struggle for independence and always wanted to serve her country. She finally had the opportunity to convert this desire into reality when she met her future husband, Major Deepak Rao, at the age of 16. Major Rao had been practising martial arts since the age of 12 and it was he who introduced Seema to this empowering field.

After marriage, the couple continued to learn and excel in martial arts, shooting, and weapon defence while they simultaneously pursued an education in medicine. After becoming certified doctors, Deepak equipped himself with the prestigious CLET Law Enforcement certification, while Seema did her MBA in crisis management. The formidable couple then started thinking about how they could channelise their desire to do something constructive for the country. After much thought, they decided to train the soldiers of the Indian armed forces without accepting any compensation in return.

There were two factors that inspired them to take up this Herculean challenge. One was the desire to serve the personnel who guard India and the other was their instinctive need to remain engaged in combat and martial arts. So, in 1996, they approached the Service Chiefs of Army, Navy, BSF & NSG. The chiefs were impressed with the couple’s dedication and decided to try out their training programme. There was no looking back after that.

Seema has since spent 20 years as a full-time guest trainer of the Indian armed forces.

Along with her husband, Seema has provided training to almost every elite unit of the Indian Forces, including the NSG Black Cats, MARCOS, GARUD, Paracommandos, BSF, the Army Corps Battle Schools and its Commando Wing. She has also trained officers of the National Police Academy, the Army Officers Training Academy and the Police Quick Response Teams of almost every major city in India.

In 2009, after training the GARUD commandos, Seema was invited by the Air Force Chief for the official IAF Para Jump course. Here, she earned her IAF Para Wings, another rare achievement.


Seema is also the only external combat training resource appointed by the Indian government to date and, with her husband, she has received 4 Army Chief citations, a record unparalleled by anyone.

Seema’s strength lies in her skill in Close Quarter Battle (CQB) – 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.

Seema and her husband have also developed a unique and modern method of CQB exclusively for the use of Indian forces. The Advanced Commando Combat System, or Bison System as it is called, is different from the conventional CQB.

The Rao couple has also established the Unarmed Commando Combat Academy (UCCA), an elite military martial arts academy, to help train the Indian forces and also to publish training books for the Forces. The Academy also offers training in Jeet Kune Do and a variety of other exotic martial arts to civilians. There is also an Unarmed Combat Blackbelt program for civilians. 

Seema feels very strongly about women’s safety and has designed a program specially tailored for women to help them deal with harassment, molestation, sexual assault, and rape. Called DARE (Defence Against Rape and Eve Teasing), the program equips women, both mentally and physically, to face adverse situations posed by potential eve teasers, molesters, and other sexual assaults. She has also produced and acted in India’s first mixed martial arts movie, Hathapayi, which revolves around a woman protagonist. This movie portrays the martial art of Jeet Kune Do for the first time in Indian cinema.

Seema has been bestowed with several awards during her amazing and inspiring journey. They include the World Peace Award at World Peace Congress in Malaysia and the US President’s Volunteer Service Award. But the greatest award, according to her, is the deep satisfaction she gets from training the Indian armed forces.

To date, Seema has trained more than 15,000 soldiers in modern close quarter battle and has no intention of hanging up her boots anytime soon. She has proved that ordinary citizens can do extraordinary work for their country and that a woman can do anything she puts her mind to.

Image Source: Varnam Malayasia

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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