Kent Masters King is a master of the mind on GENERAL HOSPITAL, doling out advice as psychiatrist Lainey Winters. In real life, the actress is a master of the body, having learned how to protect herself in any situation, courtesy of a martial arts technique called bojuka.
Bojuka is a self-defense system designed to avoid and/or end a violent encounter fast and effectively.
“Kiko Ellsworth (ex-Stan) and I both do bojuka,” notes King. “We train together all the time. We both started at the same time, but separately. It was right after PORT CHARLES. It was just one of those weird things.”
King, who’s been practicing bojuka for four years, calls it “pure, straight self-defense and really tough. I’m one of the few women in the class with all these big men,” she admits with a laugh, noting that there are fringe benefits. “It’s where I met my boyfriend, Christian. He’s one of the teachers.”
But that was not why she took the course; she was interested in safety. “Anything like this is incredible for women,” insists King, “gaining confidence in your own body and feeling your own strength. I feel safer knowing that I have way more options than I ever did before. I know a million things I could do [if I was attacked] that I didn’t do before. I would love to give this gift to more women.”
Among the highlights, King cites “how to strip a gun. If someone pulls a gun at you at close range, [I can] remove it. I’ve learned what you do if somebody smothers you with a pillow or if somebody comes up and chokes you.”
Bojuka classes often feed on real-life situations. “We would see a scenario on the news — a gunman comes into a grocery store and starts attacking people — and re-enact it in class, see what we would do in this situation,” King explains. “Just being aware of your environment is very important. That’s one of the biggest things you can do for yourself.”
King cautions that bojuka is not easy. “It’s a hard workout,” she maintains. “I’m punching pads. I’m kicking. It gets your tummy tight and your arms and legs really get worked out. I’m dying by the time I get get out of class. I go home black and blue many days. In fact, Kiko’s given me quite a few black-and-blue marks,” King adds with a laugh.
Still, she and Ellsworth are both devoted to the program. “It’s something that’s important to us. And we’ve both been made sifus, which are instructors,” she concludes, proudly.