The latest New Yorker of the Week teaches women how to take down potential aggressors and, ultimately, their own personal barriers. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report.
Jack Shamburger, a 10th-degree black belt, is the founder of a self-defense program at the Chinese Hawaiian Kenpo Academy, a martial arts school in the East Village. His title is Sifu, Cantonese for teacher.
"People like my sister were getting attacked in this city," Shamburger said. "And all of us have sisters, all of us have nieces, aunts, daughters. I have a couple daughters, and I love them very much, and the last thing is want is to have to hear that they got hurt and they didn’t have a chance."
Today, the former Marine is giving hundreds of female New Yorkers a chance not to become a victim. The class is free.
"There's a lot of shyness, and you'll see people not kind of wanting to go there, but they start seeing that it's OK, it's OK to be aggressive,” said Jane Ray, the program director of the Academy. “This is somebody whose threatened you, threatened your loved ones, what would you do and what do you have the right to do?"
Instructors combine martial arts techniques with potentially life-saving strategies.
"I feel like I'm more ready for whatever comes," said participant Ife Wethington. "Not just physical self-defense but knowing that we can just walk away, you know, a fight and still feel like a winner."
Since 1990, these women have been informed and empowered, thanks to Sifu Jack.
"Even though it's free and he doesn’t get anything out of it, he puts so much into it for us. He's patient, he is so patient and makes it fun," said Wethington.
"I'm not going to wake up or go to sleep at night worrying about some lady out there getting hit or attacked. I can't have that. It's too much weight. And I can do something about it," Sifu Jack said.
So, for motivating women to smash through adversity, Sifu Jack Shamburger is our New Yorker of the Week.