Alumni Spotlight: Virginia For India

Posted on March 15th, 2019 by Danielle Staub

The two are 8,695 miles apart, but that’s not stopping Averett University alumnus Mohan Narasimhan from connecting his alma mater in Danville to his home country of India.

Narasimhan is teaching the art of karate – something he learned during his time at Averett – in Bangelore, India to underprivileged children and women in hopes of creating a culture of change. He says the idea and passion behind his business – Terrace View Karate: Virginia for India – started at Averett and grew with help from his professors and the connections he made at Averett.

India has received international attention over the past couple of years for a string of brutal rapes, many against minors, and has undergone increasing pressure for legislative action to protect women and girls. Narasimhan wants children and women in India to have the knowledge of karate to help protect and defend them from anyone who is trying to attack them.

“I want to be able to take the kids to martial arts camps in India and in other countries. I think this is a great opportunity for them to travel overseas, something they will never be able to afford, and who knows, maybe never in their lifetime. Also, it is a wonderful opportunity for them to meet kids from other parts of India,” he said.

When Narasimhan was a student in the early 1990’s studying mathematics, Averett University was then Averett College.

“My years at Averett College were very important in my life’s journey, and also to my current venture. I came to Averett College with an agenda – to learn martial arts.”

He met many in the martial arts world while at Averett and continued his training in Boston and then Toronto, Canada.

“Master (Kelvin) Miller’s facility in Danville…I trained there in 1994 and 1995, and got my black belt from him in 2016 after training for many years in Boston and Toronto. It will be very nice if my students in India can train with Master Miller for some time. I would also like to show them Averett and Danville.”

Noting the impact of his professors here at Averett, Narasimhan says, “All of them encouraged me to pursue my dreams. All of them played a role. They were all fantastic in their own unique way.”

Narasimhan is currently growing his business and is passionate about helping others learn how to protect themselves.

“I feel as if the stars made me undergo this journey, knowing full well what the world was going to turn into as the years went by. They knew that even with all the martial arts that prevail today- karate, taekwondo, krav maga, jiu jitsu, judo, aikido, kung fu, etc. – crime would still escalate and criminals would continue to target innocent victims. So I was sent on an odyssey to gain knowledge in all these arts so I can create a triple art, one that is an impregnable fortress, one that will be feared and respected by all.”

While teaching, he holds the Averett connection close to his heart, saying that Danville is like another home to him. Narasimhan recalls his many relationships in the city and at school.

“I have always believed that it is important for one to stay in touch with old friends, family and teachers for life. Averett and Danville are no exceptions. Hence, I go the extra yard to stay in touch with everyone.”

Narasimhan has big goals for his business, including taking his students to a camp in Switzerland, and also to the United States to train, visiting Danville and his alma mater.

He speaks about two children he is currently training saying, “I see how well they were progressing, how they could ultimately become role models for youth to emulate in India and across the world.”

Maybe one day, Narasimhan will bring these young role models to Averett, reconnecting Danville and India.