Workshop led by Fil-Am martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto equips community members with self-defense tips

Martial artist and stuntwoman Diana Lee Inosanto (“The Mandalorian”) demonstrated how to use a cane as a self-defense weapon during a workshop held at Carson Park on May 8. | AJPress photo by Christina M. Oriel

FROM using a cane as a self-defense weapon to how to escape while in a headlock — these are some of the tips community members learned during a recent workshop in Carson, California.

The “Defend Our Elders” event at Carson Park featured a live demonstration from Filipina American martial artist Diana Lee Inosanto (“The Mandalorian”) and martial arts trainer Ron Balicki with support from Guru Alvin Catacutan of Pamana Kali.

Inosanto, whose father is famed martial arts guru Dan Inosanto, showed practical moves from being aware of surroundings to running away if physically able to once in a dangerous situation and shouting out descriptions of an attacker.

“There’s nothing wrong with running — that’s the first thing we actually do encourage if you’re in danger, evading. But sometimes you can’t run. Sometimes you’re stuck in a different situation where you just can’t go anywhere,” she said.

The May 8 event was organized by several Fil-Am community leaders following the uptick of anti-Asian hate and violence in Southern California and across the country since the start of the pandemic.

Following rallies and vigils in support of the Asian American community, leaders said it was time turn that energy into concrete action, which includes educating individuals on basic self-defense skills.

“This past year, during the pandemic, Asian Americans in general — and Filipinos obviously included — have unfortunately been facing twin pandemics: the pandemic of the coronavirus and the rise in AAPI hate,” Frederick Alain Docdocil, a local community leader and organizer, told the crowd.

The organizers hoped that what individuals learned during the event will be taught to their loved ones.

Diana Lee Inosanto demonstrates how to kick an attacker when you’ve fallen to the ground during the May 8 workshop in Carson | AJPress photo by Christina M. Oriel

Inosanto also showed the audience that one’s fingernail can be used as a “sword” for moves like an eye jab, which she said “is the easiest thing [to do] to bring somebody down.”

Both she and Balicki said by putting up a fight, it could help detract the attacker as they typically are looking for easy targets.

“That’s why it’s important for you to be aware of who your opponent is because you can maybe prevent this from beginning. But if somebody is interpreting you as somebody they can attack and make you a target and a victim, this is where you’ve got to fight hard,” Inosanto added.

Also present at Saturday’s event were Philippine Consul General Edgar Badajos, state Assemblymember Mike Gipson, Carson Mayor Pro Tem Jim Dear and city Councilmember Cedric Hicks.

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