Seema Rao: India’s Real Action Woman

Dr Seema Rao. Yes, she is a doctor by profession who trains commandos in the Indian Army. Hearing that itself inspires us, doesn’t it!

Seema Rao is often referred to as “The Wonder Woman” of India. She has been training commandos for more than 20 years now. She has trained over twenty thousand commandos to date. Seema Rao is the first and the only Indian woman who trains commandos.

She has an MBA in Crisis Management, has earned Para Wings from the Indian Air force. Not only this but she is also a gold medalist from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. She has 8th degree Black Belt in military martial arts, is a master in wrestling, boxing, Tae-Kwan-do and Jeet Kune Do.

Her journey has not been a piece of cake. In fact, the story of her journey is very inspiring. Let’s get into it with no further adieu.


Dr Seema Rao was born in a family of freedom fighters. Her father was also one among the many freedom fighters who fought for the independence of India.

She grew up listening to stories of struggle that her father went through during his time as a freedom fighter. This has played a significant role in developing a mindset to serve the nation.

Dr Rao who has always been studious, joined a medical school after her basic education. This was where she met the love of her life, her husband Major Deepak Rao. He was a martial artist and Dr Seema started learning martial arts. Since she was bullied as a kid, she always wanted to learn to defend herself.

She quotes the story of how she first fought back when a few men tried to attack her in many of her interviews. As she was walking by the beach in Mumbai one morning after her workout, a few men attacked her.

That was the first time she used her martial arts to defend herself. After the fight, she came out as a person who felt that she could control situations like these. This was the start of her journey from weakness to strength.

The journey of how she mastered different forms of martial arts began here.

The journey of how Dr Seema Rao started training the elite forces

Dr Seema Rao training the armed forces
Source: Instagram

She learnt shooting by practising at a shooting range. A police officer who saw her and her husband were very sharpshooters and good at unarmed combat, invited them to his unit. Thus began the duo’s journey of demonstrating their talent.

In no time various other units of different forces started inviting them to give demonstrations. Later they were also asked to train the forces.

Seema Rao went on to learn different kinds of martial arts like Tae-Kwan-do, boxing and wrestling. Wanting satisfaction, she went on to learn the martial art- “Jeet Kune Do”, invented by the infamous Bruce Lee.

She made contact with a teacher who was a master of Jeet Kune Do. She learnt the martial art. To learn and master the art, she had to travel to the master’s country. But she was denied a visa. Looking at her passion and dedication, the master himself came to India to teach her.

Today, Dr Seema Rao happens to be the highest-ranking and the senior-most female instructor of Jeet Kune Do. This she achieved only through the pure dedication and hard work.

Not only this, but she also started training the forces in both armed and unarmed combat.

The nature of training

Source: Instagram

Seema Rao trains the forces in very dangerous locations and conditions. She has to train them in deserts that are scorching hot and also at the peaks of mountains where it is freezing cold. The job comes with danger.

She says that one needs to go ahead and not just stay stuck at a place just because they are good at that place. Only then can a person actually grow. We need to grab the opportunities that come along our way.

So far she has trained the Police, Armed Police, State Reserve Police, Paramilitary Forces, The Indian Army, The Indian Navy, The Indian Air Force, Special Forces and many more. Her ideas and approaches have let her train these people who serve our nation in a magnificent manner.

The Commando trainer exploring other arenas

Seema Rao as a contestant in the Mrs India World beauty pageant
Dr. Seema Rao as a contestant in the Mrs. India World
Source: Instagram

Dr Rao wrote a book about close combat ops. She wrote and published this book by herself without any sponsors. Later she gave her book to the forces. After around six months, they accepted the book which is now followed and found in all the defence libraries.

Not only that, but her books were also accepted by the FBI, Interpol and SWAT. The books she wrote are, “Encyclopedia of Close Combat Ops” and “Terrorism: A Comprehensive Analysis of World Terrorism”.

Dr Seema Rao is not only an action woman. She has shown her pageant skills by participating in Mrs India World beauty pageant. She managed to reach the top five though this was not her cup of tea. This shows that she is open to new ideas and is ready to dive into new waters.

Seema Rao has shown her creative side by making a movie called “Hathapayi”. Through this movie that she created and directed, she has successfully shown her perspective of martial arts to the whole world. Her talent in screenwriting, music and direction can be seen through this movie.

The movie Hathapayi is based on the epic Mahabharat and is a women-empowerment movie. The movie has received the Jury Appreciation Award in the Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival.

This is proof enough that if we put our heart and soul into some work, we can successfully complete it with flying colours.

A Lesson for us

Dr. Seema Rao, an inspiration
Source: Instagram

Dr Seema Rao has been injured many times due to the nature of her work. But she has never given up or looked back in spite of these injuries. There will always be barriers in our way. But it is up to us to cross them and move ahead in life.

Due to the physical demands of the job, she could not conceive and give birth. She then decided to adopt a girl child and raise her as her own. This is something very inspiring to all of us.

She is living proof that women are in no way inferior. Watch this video of her talking in a TedX conference and get more inspired.

It is because of her personal philosophy and perspective that she has overcome the obstacles in life. We should all learn from this and make full use of our abilities. Then, we can definitely come out with flying colours.

Let us also do our part and serve the nation in whatever way that we can.

Check out this article on Leadership Qualities and develop the characteristics of a true leader.

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