You’ve just packed up the trunk of your car with groceries and are about to shut the lid. From the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of something that makes you feel uneasy for just a moment, but you brush it off and carry on. Suddenly, your worst fears come true and you find yourself in the hands of someone with ill intentions and you’re forced to react.
Traditional techniques, like kicking or pushing, may not be effective for those with limited physical abilities and can make the situation far more dangerous for the victim. Think of how that grocery store parking situation would play out for your grandmother or the nice older lady you say hello to who lives down the street.
That’s where Mark Shuey comes in. His Cane Fu is aimed at teaching older adults the skills to surviving a personal attack. For times when help isn’t possible, fighting back with a cane is a viable option. Using a walking cane as a formidable weapon, participants learn to block hits and even swing back or hold down an opponent.
It’s scary to think of things that could happen, but being prepared can make a world of difference when it comes to your safety. Self-defense is often a matter of quick decision making and can mean having to use reasonable force on an attacker.
Using an object someone already owns and is likely to have on hand in moments of a potential attack makes Cane Fu classes tangible and appealing. The gentle physical activity that occurs while learning the self-defense moves also promotes healthy exercise. Participants also gain a sense of self-confidence, feeling powerful using something that is often associated with frailty and vulnerability.
Programs have been offered in assisted living facilities and senior centers (often by police officers) as a way to prevent elder abuse as well as in health clubs.
Would-be assailants should take note of the classes motto: “Walk softly but carry a big stick.”