Online tricks for the outside world

How online self-defense classes can help in Asian Americans in the physical world

Even though the pandemic forced the world to slow down for a moment, that did not take away the societal issues arising around us. Our social needs for connection, contact and fun did not disappear either. We transformed our daily activities. and  our homes became all-in-on facilities combining restaurants, school, work, gym, cinema, and many more, mediated by technology. The digital environment became not only the facilitator for online school and “social gatherings,” it became the place to gain potentially life-saving knowledge and tricks to protect you in the outside world.

As a recent VICE article points out, in 2020, the number of violent crimes targeting Asian-Americans skyrocketed 149% compared to the year before. Self-defense instructors started to offer Zoom classes for young and elder members of AAPI community. The participants are learning life-saving moves, but without an opponent it is not as efficient as physical classes. Therefore, the students dive more in depth into the essence of self-defense and martial arts, and learn to recognize where the hit will strike, how to look for weak spots, and how to choose the most effective hit back. “It was hilarious seeing everyone with their pandemic hair and belies attempt air punches, but it also felt oddly empowering,” said one of the participants.

At IMPAKT we are also exploring new virtual environments as places for creativity, shared experiences, identity building, collectivity and fun using the zoom environment. Which is exactly what our participants have shown during our recurring event Bal Masque! We were thrilled to see the confidence and fun put into the preparation of the performances, and everyone having fun together despite the distance. This idea of transforming the physical ball into an online event will definitely be coming back in our agenda for a very special edition i.c.w. EMAP at Ars Electronica later this year, so stay tuned for updates. Meanwhile you can watch the teaser of the Bal Masque organized with CIVA which took place on 27 February 2021.


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