Karate chop! Sensei teaches self-defense in crime-filled Fort Greene Park

Karate chop! Sensei teaches self-defense in crime-filled Fort Greene Park
Photo by Tom Callan

Sayonara, thieves!

A local karate master is so fed up with muggings in Fort Greene Park that she’s teaching women to strike and snap-kick any attacker who comes their way —with marital arts classes held in the greenspace itself.

“Enough is enough!” said Beverly Bradley, a 42-year-old Bedford-Stuyvesant black belt who started to include self-defense moves in all of her body-toning classes in March. “These things make me crazy. You have to defend yourself by any means.”

In the past four weeks alone, thieves have struck Fort Greene Park at least three times. On July 5, a band of thugs shoved a 16-year-old girl to the ground and stole her iPhone, and on July 3, cops arrested two men for robbing a woman at gunpoint. A pistol-wielding crook also grabbed a woman from behind and robbed her on June 23.

The harrowing incidents were enough to prompt cops to launch extra patrols in late May, following a spate of daytime muggings involving teenagers.

“We’re concerned with who’s in the park,” said 88th precinct Capt. Alex Perez. “We want people to enjoy the park and we’re watching to make sure there’s no robberies.”

But the added patrols haven’t stopped local park-goers from taking safety into their own hands.

“There’s a lot of self-defense that women don’t know about,” said Kimberley Nevers, a 36-year-old cellphone technician from Bedford-Stuyvesant who took a recent Saturday class. “You don’t have to be a professional martial artist — a simple strike to the throat, ear or temple will damage an attacker.”

Bradley’s Saturday morning and Wednesday night drills utilize the entire park, with women running the park’s three flights of stairs as a warmup and then learning what parts of the body will bring down an attacker of any size.

Risha Scott, a 31-year-old Fort Greene makeup artist, has trained with Bradley since March and knows just how to kick some serious butt.

“The first move will cause a shocking pain,” said Scott. “And the next move — you finish them off.”

Underground Physique self-defense classes at Fort Greene Park [Myrtle Avenue and Washington Park, (917) 796-6109], Saturdays at 10 am and Wednesdays at 7 pm, $15. For info, visit undergroundphysique.com.

The high level of muggings in Fort Greene Park was enough to make local sensei Beverly Bradley show women how to harness the power of karate to fend off thugs.
Photo by Tom Callan