Demand for Self-Defense Classes Surges in Beijing

By Dominique Wong, May 8, 2016

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Last month’s attack on a woman at a Beijing hotel – in front of multiple passersby and security cameras – resulted in online fury after the victim, posting as ‘Wanwan,’ uploaded a video of the attack on Weibo.

The surveillance footage shows the woman being assaulted by a man in the hallway of a budget hotel. In the video, the attacker attempts to abduct the victim, dragging her by her hair while a nearby security guard, who mistakenly assumes the two know each other, watches on before advising the two to take their dispute elsewhere.

READ MORE: Attack Against Woman in Beijing Hotel Triggers Outrage

The event inspired outrage from online commentators, disgusted at the non-intervention from passersby as well as from the police. But it has also provoked a more positive response, as news channels began broadcasting self-defense demonstrations for viewers in a bid to highlight the importance of self-protection.

It seems that women, given no other choice, are preparing to fight back. Beijing’s fighting and self-defense clubs have noticed a surge in demand for self-defense classes.

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As the owner of Black Tiger Fight Club, Vince Soberano, tells us: “I was scheduled to teach a women’s boxing fitness class last Saturday when the gym manager called to tell me that students were requesting a self-defense class, inspired by the hotel incident. Since then, I’ve been inundated with requests for seminars and workshops for self-defense.”

Director of Krav Maga Global (KMG) China, Von Ng, has also noticed a “notable increase” in inquiries for self-defense classes from women in Beijing but stresses that education is most important. “We've noticed that a lot of people don't have a full sense of what self-defense entails, so it takes a bit of educating new people when they come to class,” he says. “It is as much about training prevention, awareness and avoidance of a bad situation as it is fighting to get out and surviving once you are already stuck in a bad situation, and getting home safe.”

Xian takes classes at Beijing boxing club Fight Republic to improve her strength and agility. She shares: “I believe I’ll be less scared if ever confronted with men, but hopefully that will never happen. I feel that Beijing is safe – I often walk by myself at night.”

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