Martial arts schools in New York City reported that more people are expressing interest in their self-defense classes amid the rise of anti-Asian violence.
“On a typical week we might get a handful of inquiries. The past two weeks it has been, I would say, quadruple that,” Jay Ray, the program director at Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy, told CBS2‘s Jenna DeAngelis.
Ray stressed that “knowing how and when to get out of harm’s way” is mainly what self-defense is about.
At Seido Karate, siblings Nidaime and Meg Nakamura say it’s all about body language.
“Body position, how you carry yourself, how you look at somebody, all those things will help you in your self-defense to even prevent it from happening in the first place,” Nidaime explained.
To avoid direct engagement with an attacker, Rei Joo at the Center for Anti-Violence Education recommends using distraction to your advantage.
When witnessing an attack, the NYPD recommends calling the police for help.
Joo had more to say about the role that witnesses can play.
“Not only are they being attacked, but they feel alone in this. So if there’s other New Yorkers that witnessed this, do say something, even if it’s not directly to the aggressor. Just make eye contact and say ‘This is really messed up, I’m so sorry this happened,’” he said. “Change that culture, if that makes sense.”
There have been at least 31 hate crimes in New York City in 2021 alone, according to CBS.
Within the last week, two men have been arrested and charged with hate crimes against elderly Asian women in Midtown Manhattan.
Both the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy and the Center for Anti-Violence Education are offering free seminars and workshops for those that are interested.