Fairfield residents’ fights rise in anti-Asian acts with new martial arts group

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FAIRFIELD – In recent months, violence, crime and harassment have targeted Asian communities.

The increase in hate crimes sparked the #StopAsianHate campaign and shed light on the struggles of Asians.

However, for many like Fairfield resident and martial arts instructor Kervin Yu, the movement has brought back painful memories of their own personal experiences with the mistreatment of their people.

“I spent a lot of my childhood in New York,” Yu said. “I’ve personally seen a lot of this stuff. I have been through a lot of these things. Certainly not as blatant or frequent, but that sort of thing has always been around. “


Anti-Asian hate crimes increased 169% comparing the first quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, according to a recent report of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, an organization dedicated to examining how extreme methods and terrorism deny people civil or human rights due to their race, gender or religion.

New York City saw the largest increase with 223%, with San Francisco coming in second with a 140% increase, according to the report.

“I left this area about 30 years ago, so it was a distant memory, but after seeing this he really came back roaring,” Yu continued. “It makes me very angry and very passionate. . That’s why I woke up one day and said I had to do something. It has to stop. “

At first, Yu wasn’t sure exactly what he could do, however, there was just an innate feeling in him to understand something. The overwhelming feeling of doing something led Yu ultimately to decide to teach self defense and call the organization Martial Artists Against Hate.

Together with a fellow instructor, Yu decided to teach not only self-defense, but also spectator intervention or what he likes to call “good citizen intervention training”.

“Martial Artists Against Hate was formed to really start a movement,” Yu said. “Particularly on the West Coast these issues are more prevalent and more visible, but as a result of everything that is happening, I felt really have to do something. “

Yu and Martial Artists Against Hate have partnered with SDSS Martial Arts, which has martial arts schools throughout Connecticut, to teach the two components of self-defense and spectator intervention.

“If we give people the tools to stand up for themselves and get out of the situation, that was my goal,” Yu said. “What are the five or six things you can do regardless of your physical ability? “

The workouts will address the countermovements if you are caught, choked, knocked down, and someone is coming from behind. They will also understand the basics of how to throw a punch, kick and how to block correctly.

The spectator intervention will discuss ways in which a spectator can help directly or indirectly through several scenarios and personal safety trips.

“Don’t be a victim,” Yu said. “Don’t be a victim as a people. Today it’s anti-Asian, yesterday it was anti-Muslim, tomorrow maybe anti-something else.



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Rachel Amaral

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