NewsX was recently joined by Arpan Dixit, Global head for Catfit, for an exclusive conversation as a part of its special series, NewsX A-List where he spoke about Catfit and its goals.
Taking about his journey, Arpan said, “So, when I was young I was you know someone who wanted to do something for the environment so that is where I went on to join the paper industry and once I joined the paper industry one thing led to another and I managed to reach, I was heading India in south east Asia for companies but at that point of time I realized whatever I was doing not going to change anything because I believe the paper industry has evolved, it has reached a position from where there’s not much to do in terms of technology or in terms of saving the environment because we’re already there you know supplying some of the finest recycled waste from across the world and then passing it over to the paper industry and that is when i realised that this is something that I need to close and move forward do something constructive which is beneficial to the people at the grass root levels and that is when I decided to actually join the unites nations and around the same period in 2016 when I was planning to join the united nations one of my very good friend and founder of cat Fit col. Rakesh Krishnan, he’s former special forces and he was heading the black cat hub in Calcutta for the energy.
Arpan further said, “He said if you go for the U.N what are you going to be doing? I said I’m going to do something and change something at the ground level I’ll do something for the people then why do you need to go to the U.N why can’t we stay back and do something here in India itself for the people I said yes that’s my long term goal he said then make it your short term goal and your medium-term goal and do that is how you know Cat Fit evolved and that is the idea behind CatFit wherein you know you go to the grassroots go and change the lives of the people so let’s say for example if you look at education, for example, there are 180000 students committing every year. Are we doing anything as a society or companies are we doing anything about it every day we’re great on news channels we read in newspapers but we really don’t do much so this was the first question that you know which had come to our mind and again in sports. So, I was a sports person col. Rakesh Krishnan was himself a sports person but really, we didn’t represent India in anything at all because there was nothing at the grassroots level for performance enhancement of students and catch them young, young meaning to say between the ages of 8 and 13 so that is how CatFit evolved and I said yes this is something I would want to be fine and that is how I got involved with CatFit and here we are”.
Speaking about how he got the idea and different aspects of the methodology, Mr Dixit said, “So, MAST evolved when CatFit was formed in 2017, MAST came into being this is a terminology that we coined and they realised that if we are going to be going to people and saying things like performance enhancement or psychological development we needed to have a keyword which people could relate to because every school, every college, every football cricket or a hockey team has a psychologist but what, how are we going to be different so that is when we got in touch with a psychologist from Air Force intelligence, from army intelligence we got onboard special forces officers we’ve gotten NSG officers and then we pulled all the resources together so that is how mast was formed so the idea behind this is to bring the best of breed from the special forces and the NSG and pass it over to sports education and the corporate sector. So this is four-fold it is the physical development is just one aspect second is psychological development third is mental toughness training and then lastly we’ve also the emotional quotient a lot of people you know they leave the emotional quotient aside but if you’re a sportsperson or a student or a business leader if you are emotionally not well then you’re not going be performing at your optimum level so the whole idea was to understand and see whether they had depression or stress or anxiety or peer pressure, identify what they actually have and once we’ve identified what they have then counsel them out of it so they can have you know a better performance in the given field”.
Speaking about the idea behind performance enhancement, Arpan said, “So, let’s take a sports person the ages of let’s say 8 to 18. Let’s take a student up to the ages of 8 to 18 or let’s say up to the age of 24. So sportsperson who’s trying to reach the national or international stage or a student who wants clear defense services exams or the civil services so our idea is to firstly give him or her a series of questionnaires, a psychological questionnaire developed by army intelligence and Air Force intelligence retried personnel working with us and identify which of the core issues there are lacking and then post that we see what are the levels of coping with adversity, can they handle the adversity what are the resilience levels so once we’ve identified where they are lacking so let’s say somebody is strong on resilience but his adversity quotient is not that strong so we train them on that particular and then we’ve got people who are TEDx speakers international George talk speakers, mental toughness trainers you know motivational coaches that come and they speak to the person than the last but not the least psychologist who comes to the people into training them where they want to be. It’s a four-fold approach”.
Speaking about the structure of the existing programs, Arpan said, “As far as survival training is concerned, we’ve got camps in Uttarakhand which are right in the middle of a jungle. Let’s say a team is coming or an individual sportsperson or a school team or even students for that matter, we will be teaching them how to actually survive in real-life scenarios, if and when they happen to be in the middle of it. So, we’ve got special forces and energy retired personnel who will be there and they will be guiding them on how to survive in the jungle or how to survive if you’re being harassed, or physically molested, or even kidnapped for that matter. Anything that has to do with you getting cornered in someplace and the methodology to get out of it given the resources that you have. Now, somebody who’s 9-11 years old, you can’t expect that student or person to be fighting with big people but you can still get out of that situation, so that is survival training. As far as sports, the second topic is concerned, we’ve got camps that we’ve associated with very big firms in Barcelona and Spain, we’ve got one in Kathmandu, one in Bhutan. Within India, we’ve got one in Rajasthan, in Kerela as well as Uttarakhand, where we take these sports teams or persons to our camps and do a complete overhauling of the mind, the physique of a person. So, overall I think we need to understand the flaws of the person since all of us have flaws. Some of us may have mental flaws, emotional flaws or physiological flaws and then identify the flaw, build on it so that the person can move to the next level”.
Talking about the future goal and plans, Mr Dixit said, “In 2019, we tied up with ‘Beto bachao, beti padhao’, one of the pilot projects of the Indian government. We went into Uttarakhand, to begin with, and we started training people in trauma management, CPR and first aid, self-defence. Now what we’ve realised is, there are almost 180,000 people who die in road accidents every year, this a government figure. 2 million people losing limbs or hospitalised for various things, as far as accidents are concerned. Our plan is to teach every school kid trauma management, CPR and first aid to begin with so that if someone in their family is suffering from a heart attack, or there’s been a road accident, fire, drowning or snake bite incident, the children can be the first responders. Once the children are the first responders, the next generation that comes to the third generation that comes, they will be in a position to help their families and also the ones they see are facing some sort of problem so that is one aspect. Second is a self- defence where we’ve got energy and black cat commandos and Special forces commandos who go from school to school, corporate to corporate and teaching women and children military self-defence. It is self-defence taught by the special forces and is something new we have tried and is working for us so far. Lastly, children committing suicide and going through depression, stress and anxiety. So these are the primary projects and we want to provide everyone with the best best grade mental toughness training and ensure that the children can get skilled training which will transform their lives in the long run”.