Search

Gorleston man's self defence for elderly

PUBLISHED: 09:30 09 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:59 30 June 2010

It may seem the symbol of frailty and old age. But a new martial art in which pensioners use their walking sticks for self defence is spreading across East Anglia.

It may seem the symbol of frailty and old age. But a new martial art in which pensioners use their walking sticks for self defence is spreading across East Anglia.

Kevin Garwood, from Gorleston, has black belts in judo and karate. Two years ago he began teaching cane work - a series of attacking moves which use a walking stick.

He recently took part in an activity day for the over-50s at Lynnsport, in King's Lynn, where new devotees were given the chance to try their hand.

“I've taught jujitsu for 35 years but a lot of the weapons you're taught to use you can't carry on the street with you,” said Mr Garwood, 62.

“But if you've got an ordinary NHS walking stick you can do the same things - I can throw you, I can strangle you.”

While Mr Garwood's exercises could be used for self defence, they also provide useful exercise for the elderly.

“Lots of older people are unsteady in their feet, lots of people are short of wind,” he said. “We also do exercises in wrist-strengthening, how to move safely, how to change direction and so forth.”

Mr Garwood developed cane work when a group of women who went to one of his yoga classes in Ipswich would not come out after dark because they were frightened of youths hanging around the streets.

Dominic Spurrier, from Age Concern, said: “My aim is to get people doing different things and keep them fit and active.

“When you do things like martial arts, you do learn a lot of balance and control.”

Among the first to try their hand were pensioners Alan and Mavis Bessey, from Terrington. Both were unsure whether they would take up cane work.

Retired RAF technician Mr Bessey said: “A lot of people treat retirement as a holiday - and I must say I'm one of them.

“I usually get my exercise ten pin bowling, and I do a bit of walking when the weather's half-decent.”

Mr Garwood, who runs courses in Norwich, Gorleston and Yarmouth, is looking to launch sessions in King's Lynn. For more details contact him via www.canework.co.uk .


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury