LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas martial arts business is stepping up to support the Asian American community after a rise in hate crimes as well as the mass shooting in Atlanta that left six women of Asian descent dead.
The business is providing empowerment through self-defense.
“We were able to gain skills to protect ourselves and at least be aware of our surroundings,” said Edelweiss Solano, the Director of Family Services, for the Asian Community Development Council.
Solano was one of more than a dozen people that came out to Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy Tuesday. Solano joined her colleagues from the Asian Community Development Council to learn self-defense and how situational awareness can impact safety.
“Even though we all have common sense, we have a tendency to be distracted in a lot of areas,” said Denise Gonzales, a Judo and Jujitsu Instructor at Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy. “So, we want to make them aware that the distraction can be very dangerous in their lives.”
Gonzales walked the group through different techniques of how to get out of a grip and how to fight back. She also demonstrated important tools for self-defense, such as pepper spray and personal alarms.
“It’s not living in fear,” Gonzalez said. “It’s basically learning the tools to be able to be more aware, have more confidence, and protect yourself.”
For students like Bethany Tan, these classes have helped her gain physical skills, but she also gained confidence.
“When I first started actually, I was super quiet, super shy, wouldn’t really talk to anyone,” Tan said. “So being here has really helped me learn to boost my confidence, get out there more.”
The academy currently has a lot of kids in its courses, but instructors would like to see more adults and seniors learning self-defense.
The academy says some crimes against the Asian community go unreported. They want to remind everyone that if they see something, say something.