Monday, April 06, 2009

Martial Artists Raid Our Monday!

For the first time in my life, I experienced what it felt like to be on the brink of death. Just 2-3 seconds more in that position, and my breathing would've been completely cut off and I would've blacked out. Permanently.

Kapap was developed by the elite forces of the Israeli army. When Teo Yew Chye, founder & chief instructor of the Kapap Academy Singapore, demonstrated on Daniel Fang, an SMU Business undergrad who recently took up the sport, it looked effortless. Yet I saw how Daniel's face turned a beetroot red within seconds, and the burly chap had to tap Yew Chye to signal him to let go.

I volunteered to try. And it was terrifying. I felt my windpipe constrict. The blood vessels in my head close to exploding. I gagged because I could not breathe, at all. Believe it or not, I allowed myself to be pinned down, tipped off balance, and to be "put down" with just one tap of the finger on one of my pressure points...

It's the stuff of movies. But this is no play-acting. It's the real thing. And let me tell you, as an objective journalist, Kapap works.

I wanted to experience how it felt like to be the victim because I didn't believe that with so little physical strength exerted, it was possible to take someone down. And it was important for me to know because if it really works, then Kapap could well be what I'm looking for - a practical & effective means of self-defense for a pint-sizer like me. After all, I travel widely and I do get home late.

What clinched it for me was when I witnessed Stephanie Charles, a first-year Social Science student from SMU, use the simple concept of displacing balance to get herself out of a compromising situation. And to think she picked up Kapap only about 3 months ago!

I've uploaded two videos on Youtube: The first shows Steph being pinned under Daniel. Check out how she frees herself...

This second video shows Steph in a position women may find themselves if they are victims of rape. Yet, by simply tipping the assailant off-balance, she's able to be up on her feet and ready to run - all in under 3 seconds:

Now tell me if this is not the answer for women who are generally smaller and weaker than men! This is self-defense that makes sense.

For Daniel, president of the Kapap Club at SMU, it's important to empower others to protect themselves. That's why he's learning Kapap - to share these skills with abused women, the elderly etc. through community outreach programmes. And that's what the SMU Kapap Club has been doing. To find out more about their outreach in June, email Daniel at this address:

[L to R]: SMU students Daniel Fang & Stephanie Charles
with KAPAP instructor Teo Yew Chye.

Talking about martial arts, we had another martial arts exponent in our Living Room today. He was a Wushu champion in the SEA Games in 1993 and 1995, and Asian champion in 1996. In fact, he's the youngest Captain of the Singapore National Wushu team. If the name Picasso Tan rings a bell, it may also be because he's a TV actor and news host!

Well, Picasso is one of four co-owners of a new modern Pinoy restaurant in town called Bonifacio. The other two owners are also Wushu champions, one from the Philippines, the other China (Ace ended up being a Stunt Director with MediaCorp!). Joining Picasso to tell us more is publisher-businessman Kelvin Yoo, CEO of Singapore Asian Publications and recipient of the 'Entrepreneur of the Year Award' in 2006.

It was a lively chat where we found out more about Pinoy cuisine from Bonifacio's head chef Dahlia Conde from Manila. The trio also surprised us by bringing Mango Cheesecake from their dessert menu - complete with plastic forks for us to dig in on the spot! *chuckle*

But of course, we were raving on about the delectable pork dishes we sampled last week: Pork Sisig [above, left] and the pork knuckles or Crispy Pata [above, right]. These apparently go well with beer!

Pinoy Cuisine @ Bonifacio: Picasso Tan, Dahlia Conde and Kelvin Yoo.

Well, these two engaging conversations surely chased away the Monday Blues for us. And you know what? We'll definitely be back at Bonifacio - with our familes in tow!

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