History museum

Asian Community Receives Finger Stun Devices From Martial Arts History Museum

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

By Rick Assad

With hate crimes on the rise nationally and that includes the Asian-American community, the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank recently distributed stun devices as an act of self-protection.

This is the perfect time to hold the event, as it is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Michael Matsuda is the president and founder of the museum which opened in 1999.

(Photo by © Ross A Benson)

“The goal today is to raise awareness in the Asian community and the Asian hatred that exists. It has escalated galore, and we have to do something to stop it,” he said. “In this case we are doing something in self defense we are providing 1000 free stun guns and stun devices to the asian community mostly asian but it doesn’t have to be asian not as a tool to zap someone one, but as a self-defense tool so at least they have something to protect themselves with and that’s what it’s all about.

Matsuda spoke about the need to respond to the growing hatred directed at Asians by showing what the Asian community has to offer.

“Our focus right now, because we’re an Asian museum, isn’t just punching and kicking, it’s Asian community, Asian music, Asian art, Asian tradition and its connection to martial arts,” he said. “We believe that the more people learn about different cultures like Asian culture, the better they will understand each other so that we can combat hate and prejudice.”

Matsuda added, “We are doing our best to raise five million dollars to move to a bigger location so that we can hold an event like this,” he said. “We can organize conferences on Asian hate and open the doors to different discussions and bring school children from all over to learn about the various cultures, so we really need the support of the community. We’re trying to get a 15,000 square foot facility to have a theater and have more exhibit space.

Pictured is Billy Blanks with owner Michael Matsuda (Photo by © Ross A Benson)

Billy Blanks, fitness personality, martial artist, actor, and creator of the Tae Bo exercise program, has a personal interest in what the museum represents.

“I’m here today because I’m all about peace and love and joy,” he said. “My wife is Asian and my daughter is half-Asian. I understand that being of color we sometimes get attacked. I try to bring more self-awareness to Asian people. When you’re walking down the street, you can’t be unconscious like you usually are. Have some self-awareness. Observe people. Look around you. See what happens.

Blanks continued, “Because when you walk around without that self-awareness, that’s when people get hurt. It’s not just Asians, I think everyone,” he said. “People should stop what they are doing.”

Kickboxing champion, martial arts choreographer and actor Benny Urquidez was also there to help the cause.

“I’m here to support the museum because without the story of where it all started, where it is now. I want them to know the art,” he said. “I want my grandchildren know where it all came from.”

Urquidez, who compiled a record of 63-1-1 with two no contests as well as 57 knockouts from 1958-1995 as a lightweight, super lightweight and welterweight, loves martial arts and what they teach and stand for.

“For me, I do it out of love. I love the arts. There are nine black belts in my family. My mother was a professional wrestler and my father was a professional boxer. My first fight was in 1958 and my last fight was in 1995,” he said. “After you fight, you have to take care of yourself. You can only be hard for so long.

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