‘Defend Our Elders’ event in Carson seeks to teach self-defense tips for vulnerable community members

IN the wake of violence against Asian Americans, local Filipino American groups in Carson, California are coming together to host a workshop teaching vulnerable community members how to protect themselves from physical harm.

Billed as “Defend Our Elders: Self-Defense Training,” the 90-minute event at Carson Park on Saturday, May 8 will feature a demonstration from actress and martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto (“The Mandalorian”) and martial arts trainer Ron Balicki with support from Guru Alvin Catacutan of Pamana Kali.

“I’ve been observing all these attacks for over a year now. I was alarmed with the rhetoric and I knew this was going to get bad,” Inosanto, whose father is famed martial arts instructor Dan Inosanto, told the Asian Journal.

From March 19, 2020 to February 28, 2021, reporting center Stop AAPI Hate received 3,795 incidents from Asian Americans. Verbal harassment and shunning make up the top two types of incidents documented, but physical assault constituted the third largest category of reports at 11.1%.

Businesses comprise the primary site of discrimination (35.4%), followed by public streets (25.3%), and public parks (9.8%), according to the group.

“Through Filipino Martial Arts, attendees will be shown how to use whatever objects they might have with them, including canes, umbrellas, [and] keys to defend themselves.

Ultimately, we also want to get together as a united community to help dispel the notion that the AAPI community is unprotected, defenseless, and vulnerable to attack,” Frederick Alain Docdocil, a local community leader who helped organize the May 8 event, told the Asian Journal.

With the staggering number of incidents, including many that have been caught on camera and gone viral in recent months, Inosanto hopes to impart practical tips that community members of any age and physical ability can use.

“I always feel that anytime somebody tries to attack you and invade your personal space, you are at war. When you are at war, you have a right to defend yourself,” Inosanto said.

“There are little nuanced methods that you can do to provide you an escape route when people are in the heart of danger.”

If an individual can’t immediately escape the situation, some tips include: 1) going directly for the assailant’s eyes; 2) Using Jewelry like rings to assist in punching or warding off the attacker; 3) Deploying long fingernails as your personal sword; or 4) Using items your purse or high heels, if wearing them, as a weapon.

“These are some things you can implement and MacGyver in a creative way to give you those crucial seconds to escape and get away,” Inosanto said.

Even before having to get physical too, the martial artist cautions that often times attackers are looking for easy targets, so not being distracted on your cellphone or not walking alone can help ward off a possible attack. She also recommends to have good, confident posture and holding your head up higher when out in public.

The self-defense training will take place on Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Carson Park (21411 Orrick Ave., Carson, CA 90745) featuring guest speakers Philippine Consul General Edgar Badajos, Assemblymember Mike Gipson and Mayor Lula Davis Holmes.

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is the Managing Editor of the Asian Journal. You can reach her at christina@asianjournalinc.com.

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