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June 27, 2017

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Citizens taking self-defense into own hands after MRT tragedy

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Local self-defense training programs are benefitting greatly in the aftermath of a stabbing spree that occurred last week on the Taipei Metro that claimed the lives of four people and injured dozens.

Numerous local netizens have been recorded openly discussing their thoughts and feelings toward the attack on social media. Aside from the widely criticized supporters of the assailant Cheng Chieh (鄭捷), many netizens displayed an eagerness to take up self-defense in the hopes of being more knowledgeable when facing a violent situation.

In a local free Krav Maga (以色列搏擊防身術) class, four additional newcomers enrolled with instructor Rob Hipple to learn how to better protect themselves from harm in times of danger. Hipple, a practitioner and instructor of the Israeli self-defense system that was developed for military purposes, holds weekly lessons for free on Sundays at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. To promote his free lessons, the instructor established his own Krav Maga group which he named Freeform Combative Arts.

When asked why he teaches his classes for free, Hipple had said that he wanted to teach people proper self-defense so they can protect themselves should they have to. Hipple also stated that instructors shouldn't try to profit from tragedy if they truly care about teaching people how to protect themselves.

"Rob is a skilled and patient teacher," said newcomer student Marcus Lo (羅濟原) when asked about his first self-defense class, "and he is willing to answer any kind of self-defense questions because the main goal in class is to learn self-defense."

In the wake of the incident, Hipple added an extra hour to his regular routine to make space for more knife defense techniques. Aside from simulating the incident that took the lives of four MRT passengers and caused injuries to 23 others, Hipple also included potential hostage and robbery scenarios involving the use of knives.

"Regardless of the latest news, everyone should take the time to learn some self-defense and practice what they learn," said Hipple. "So should something unfortunate happen again they'll be better prepared."

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