More than a dozen people attended a free self-defense workshop hosted at Jiyu Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu & Fitness in Castaic Saturday afternoon. The workshop was organized by Jasmine Johnson, a West Ranch High School senior and student of jiu-jitsu herself.
Johnson trained with coach Robert Chu, a part owner of Jiyu Jiu-Jitsu, while she was training in the martial art at a local school.
“If there’s one concept or technique that we can show the people today that will raise their confidence by just a little bit, or allow them to feel safer in the future, then today would have been worth it,” said Chu, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, who led Saturday’s workshop.
Johnson organized the self-defense workshop to help people in the community feel safe.
“I’m half Asian and when a lot of the anti-Asian hate crimes were happening, I just wanted to make sure that not only Asian community members, but everyone in our community was feeling safe and was confident they could protect themselves,” said Johnson, who participated in the workshop.
Chu taught his students — ranging from teens to adults — concepts about leverage that he said they could apply to everyday life.
The first concept he shared was being “fiercely protective over your body and personal space,” showing students different techniques for moving in balance and reinforcing their personal space with a “verbal bubble.”
“That awareness is going to prevent 80%-90% of difficult situations for you,” he said, advising students to be aware of their surroundings.
Chu’s lesson also featured strategies to block an attack, position for an escape and to disengage when being attacked.
Johnson said she hopes that people who participated in Saturday’s workshop will take what they learned and teach their family and friends.
“(These moves) are adaptable regardless of your height, your weight, your body type or even age,” she said.