Gowanus Your Face Off
Gowanus, Brooklyn
The crack between two hipster neighborhoods, home to the now superfunded Canal, the flash point for the new 'Buy Local' and textile revolutions, & filled with brilliant bohemians. . . this is Gowanus & it’ll awesome your face off.

Fit to Fight – The Right to Kickass!

It’s dusk and you step out of the subway entrance after a really long day at work. You take your usual route home, weaver through the industrial Brooklyn streets without a care in the world. Your ipod plays some pop song that you kinda bee-bop to as you walk along. Suddenly the music seems to fade into the background and you feel like the street you just turned onto is darker than usual. You continue on route to your home with the hairs on the back of your neck starting to stand up. Soon enough your intuition becomes clear, a figures steps out from behind a large trash container at the end of the block. You approach the figure with caution as he or she is in the direction of where you need to go. You consider turning around to take another route, but your too far down the block to turn back. You proceed, but the figure clearly starts approaching you. You then decide to turn around, only to discover that someone’s already approaching you from behind. The street seems very dark now and although the track that plays on your ipod skips to a happy song, you’re not in a happy place. What do you do?

Last month we popped into theTriomph Fitness, Health, Wellness for ”Fit to Fight” an event meant to educate the public in self-defense in this city that never sleeps. About 35 eager individuals showed up to learn how to be fit to fight.

Lateef Oseni, co-owner of Triomph, opened the event with two dramatic videos of animal predators hunting their prey, which illustrated that criminals are hunters looking for the right person to attack.

Lateef then explained that self-defense is not about violence, it’s about being prepared and that “protecting yourself is a right, not a privilege.” ie… you have the right to learn what to due when a situation gets a little sketchy. Next he laid out  some startling crime data from the local Police Precincts:

  • The 78th Precinct that covers Park Slope/Gowanus says robberies are up 32% during 2010-2011
  • The 76th Precinct that covers Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill/Red Hook indicated that crime is up 11% during 2010-2011
  • Plus the crime in New York’s Subway system is up 17%

*data available on NYC.gov 

So, when Lateef, who is also a ISSA certified personal trainer, says “you should be fit to fight” there’s good reason to be because things aren’t exactly perfect in the streets.

But one doesn’t have to live in fear…. one can learn to be aware!

Lateef went on to cover 5 factors that are likely to increase your risk of becoming a target for criminals (aka – being the prey).

  • 5. Lack of physical fitness/readiness <-if best defense you have is to ‘run away’ then not being physically fit pretty means that your doomed.
  • 4. Advertising your valuable <-if you are playing with your brand new ipad out on the subway… one you’re kind of a douchebag and two you’re showing people the great stuff you have to steel. Frankly we’d take your ipad if we saw you flaunting it.
  • 3. Portraying a lack of physical confidence <-even if you don’t live in Brooklyn, adopt the tough Brooklyn attitude. If you seem tough, you might just be tough, which can be a good deterrent.
  • 2. Failure to trust your instincts. <-listen to the voice inside your head… you know the one that whispers “go home” when you’re out to late. It can also tell you: “that street looks creepy, maybe I should try another route.”
  • 1. Not being aware of your physical surroundings <-this is for you ipod listeners and intense book readers. You need to watch where you are going. It’s not just bumping into other people or things that’s foolish, it’s leaving yourself open for a surprise attack.

Nigel, who is Sensei for Triomph’s karate classes, jumped in towards the end of Lateef’s presentation to explain a very important aspect of self-defense. He said:

If you have to run, run! If you have to fight, fight!”

Next came the physical part of the days training. Those attending the were splint into smaller groups and practiced what we call a “Zombie Attack”, but probably is better described as an individual being descended upon by a number of people from all directions. The person in the middle would try to escape from a circle of doom by finding the weakest of the individuals surrounding them and pushing through them as a means of escape. This was harder for people than expected. During this exercise some individuals even froze at first, which made the window for escape even less. For them the exercise was most beneficial, but it was also good for everyone in general. It’s not like any of us practice getting away from a large group of people.

The event then went over using items that you have as weapons. ie your bag or stuff inside your bag. The event suggested anything and everything can be used to hurt or confuse someone trying to attack you. If you throw a book in someones face, they are going to take a minute to try and deflect it… at which time you can try to run away. If you are in fear for your life then you have every right to use something to bash an attacker in the temples or in the neck. You also have the right yo punch, kick, bite, and yell to get away from someone.

Triomph is planning on having another one of these ‘Fit to Fight’ events in the near future, which we will post the second a date a chosen.

Triomph also offers plenty of classes and has a facility that can get you fit in case you need to fight.



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