San Francisco martial arts demonstration aims to take a stand against Asian hate

A different kind of demonstration against Asian hate took place Sunday afternoon in downtown San Francisco.

Over the last several weeks, there have been all kinds of rallies and marches denouncing Asian hate, but this event had a twist, and some punches, and kicks.

Martial artists from nine different schools, representing various disciplines performed combat drills and gave demonstrations outside City Hall.

Krav Maga, Wing Chung, Muy Thai, Jujitsu, Judo and MMA, were some of the disciplines on display.

The Asia Strong event was the brainchild of Hudson Liao and friends after the group had a discussion about the deadly Atlanta area killings and local attacks on Asians.

"Realizing how pissed off we were about the situation and instead of talking about it we were convicted to do something," said Liao.

Liao, a long-time student and self-described martial arts fanatic, came up with the idea of an event to help the community realize its collective strength, and empower people to learn to literally combat violence themselves.

"A lot of things are happening.  People are getting attacked.  People don’t even want to go outside of their house.  This hurts our community," said one speaker at the event.  

There were speakers from the podium meant to motivate and show compassion, but the demonstrations were there to show people there are resources to help learn to be less fearful and more confident if self-protection becomes necessary.

One of the more than 200 attendees said she liked the idea of making such a variety of martial arts demos easily accessible to the public.

"I think it lets everybody for like 30 seconds or one or two-minute demonstrations on like, is this good for them, if this is something they want to learn," said Cheyenne Fong.

Martial artists say they feel confident knowing they can protect themselves and their loved ones if necessary.

They’re hoping the demonstrations show others being physically empowered also leads to mental empowerment, something they say their community needs more of right now.

"We want people to walk away from today just feeling empowered that they can do something," said Liao.  "And that there is an abundance of resources if they want it."

Since the increase in violence against Asians, Liao says more people have expressed an interest in learning some form of self-defense.