Eskrima, other self-defense styles taught in California workshop amid spike in anti-Asian attacks

Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2021 08:47 AM

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OAKLAND, California - Different styles of martial arts, including the Philippines' eskrima, were offered during the Black and Asian Solidarity Self-Defense Workshop organized by Bilal Mahasin of Oakland's International Boxing Institute amid the rise in attacks against those of Asian descent in various US states. 

“We invited everyone out here, Black, Asian, whatever your ethnicity is, we invited you out here for solidarity and to work together because we believe that through struggling together it’s the best way to bond together,” said Mahasin.

Participants were given fundamental courses in self-defense during the free workshop.

While learning different styles, the teachers said the best defense is awareness.

“To learn how to identify situations, to learn to look at an environment and identify what places look safe. How do I exit? Where should I park my car? How should I sit if I’m sitting in this park where my back is not turned against an area where someone can sneak up on me,” said Jay Jasper Puago of the Visayan Style Corto Kadena.

The teachers said they are aware that people are starting to arm themselves and offered this advice.

“I think it’s important to get education about whatever it is you intend to use. So if it’s the pepper spray know that you are very well educated on all the uses and how to use it most efficiently,” said Ricky Malandro Lawson of Filhos De Bimba Bay Area.

An open discussion of the current social unrest followed the workshop. 

“It doesn’t matter the skin color. It doesn’t matter the ethnicity. It matters if there is another human willing to help you. We all live in the same city. We all live in the same environment here in Oakland and we all have to support each other.”

Mahasin said this was the second free workshop offered to the public and more are planned in the future.

Several attacks on Asian-Americans, including those of Filipino descent, have been recorded around the US in recent months and is believed to be rooted in former US president Donald Trump's use of the term "Chinese virus" in reference to the rise of COVID-19 last year. 

Read more on Balitang America.