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The man who apparently launched a racist verbal attack on U.S. women's kata champion Sakura Kokumai earlier this month in a California park has been arrested following a physical assault on an elderly Korean-American couple in the same park Sunday. Michael Vivona is accused of punching a 79-year-old man and his 80-year-old wife without provocation.

Mynewsla.com reported that a group of people playing basketball in Grijalva Park at the time of the assault recognized Vivona from his previous harassment of Kokumai and surrounded him until a nearby police officer arrived to make an arrest. The incident with Kokumai, who is slated to represent the United States in this summer's Tokyo Olympics, gained widespread notice after she posted a video of it on social media in an effort to increase awareness about the growing threat of anti-Asian racism.

Prosecutors in New Mexico have elected not to pursue rape charges against jiu-jitsu coach Rafael de Freitas. De Freitas, who had a 6-1-1 record as an MMA fighter and who had served as a coach for former UFC champion Holly Holm, had been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a female student at her home last November.

But prosecutors felt there was insufficient evidence to proceed. De Freitas' lawyers contended that while their client made an error in his marriage for which he was regretful, the incident with his student was entirely consensual. According to sherdog.com they suggested the woman who alleged the assault may have had motives for falsely accusing him.


Karateka Sakura Kokumai, a seven-time women's national kata champion who is slated to represent the United States in this year's Olympics, released a video showing a man unleashing a racially motivated verbal assault on her as she trained in a Southern California park on April 2. Kokumai, who is of Japanese descent, didn't know why the stranger was yelling insults at her until he began making anti-Chinese comments.

Though she's aware of the recent increase in Anti-Asian racism occurring across the U.S. giving rise to a number of violent attacks, Kokumai didn't expect it to happen at a park where she regularly trains. She told local KTLA 5 News, "I thought what if this was my grandmom or anyone in my family, then that scares me," which motivated her to release the video via social media. Kokumai added one of the most disturbing things about the incident was how other people just stood by without intervening, though one woman did come up to see if she was okay after the incident.


While there have been a number of rallies against anti-Asian violence across the United States in recent weeks, one held Sunday outside the San Francisco city hall advocated a more active approach to empowering the community by featuring numerous self-defense demonstrations. Organized by martial artist Hudson Liao, the "Asia Strong" event included performances by nine different schools including representatives of muay Thai, wing chun, krav maga, judo, jiu-jitsu and MMA.

Though various speakers at the event, including a retired superior court judge, discussed the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, the demonstrations let people know there were resources available to make themselves feel safer. Fears among the U.S. Asian community have spiked recently in the wake of a mass shooting that targeted Asian women in Atlanta and several vicious attacks on people of Asian descent in New York and other cities.

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