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Anti-Asian attacks sparking interest in self-defense classes, instructions for bystanders


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    NEW YORK (WCBS) — With a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City — at least 31 so far this year — is an apparent increase in those seeking self-defense classes, and also a call for those witnessing attacks to intervene.

CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis went to the experts Tuesday for tips.

Step by step, siblings Nidaime and Meg Nakamura show self defense skills they teach at Seido Karate.

“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 said.

With a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, martial arts schools like the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy are seeing a greater interest.

“On a typical week we might get a handful of inquiries. The past two weeks it has been, I would say, quadruple that,” said Jay Ray, Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy’s program director.

In response to the violence, they’re offering free self defense seminars. Interested people should email

“Self defense is really not so much about knowing how to hurt another person. It’s really knowing how and when to get out of harm’s way,” Ray said.

But if need be, showing how you can use what you have on hand for protection, like a water bottle.

But what if you witness an attack? The NYPD says call 911 immediately.

The Center for Anti-Violence Education, a nonprofit, teaches way you can step in — of course, situation-based — in its free workshops.

“Distraction is a really nice tool, if you don’t wanna directly engage the aggressor,” said Rei Joo of the Center for Anti-Violence Education.

Joo shares a common theme among the Asian community.

“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,’” Joo said. “Change that culture, if that makes sense.”

“Use your voice and more often than not there are gonna be others that agree with your sentiment and that’s when something can happen,” Meg Nakamura said.

Those DeAngelis spoke to encourage more than one self-defense class, saying the more ingrained the skills are, the better prepared you will be if in harm’s way.

For more information on self defense, please check out the Center for Anti-Violence Education.

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