Survival Arts Academy: Teaching Filipino martial arts as self-defense for women

SAN FRANCISCO — These women are learning pekiti tirsia kali — a Filipino fighting system with roots from Negros occidental.

Militaries and law enforcement from around the world practice the same martial arts that these women were learning, at a recent healing workshop put on by Survival Arts Academy and the Filipino Mental Health Initiative – San Francisco.

Instructors taught these women practical techniques, so they may be able to respond to common attacks.

“It’s really important that we as women learn how to respond to things like someone tries to grab you. Someone tries to choke you, put you in a corner, intimidate you. Put some fear into you,” said Jamie Yancovitz.

Instructors said the moves these women were learning are simple, yet very effective.

“Very easy to learn. It’s full of natural movements that at any age you can pick up and it’s based on blade. So as an equalizer a blade will level you out in defending against multiple opponents,” said Darcey de los Reyes. “So with a blade, you have the advantage.”

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, every 73 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.

RAINN also found that sexual assault happened 55 percent of the time at or near the victim’s home, 15 percent at an open public place, 12 percent at or near a relative’s home, 10 percent in an enclosed area like a parking lot, and 8 percent at school.

“When you learn this Filipino fighting system, you understand that you don’t have to be afraid, that you can actually weaponize your body. You can respond to an attacker. You can stand in fearlessness, and you can say no, don’t touch me or I’ll fight back, and I’m going to give you a problem and eight times out of 10 that resistance will actually keep your attacker away.”

Survival Arts Academy is based out of the Los Angeles area; however, they do conduct trainings and workshops to communities all over the United States.

Their website and YouTube channel provide more technique to practice free at home.

For more information, visit survivalarts.org.

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