Martial arts - with walking sticks!

BE WARNED- pensioners using walking sticks may look frail but attackers may get more than they bargained for. Martial arts expert Kevin Garwood is looking to help the older people of Ipswich fight off would-be attackers by using their walking stick.

BE WARNED- pensioners using walking sticks may look frail but attackers may get more than they bargained for.

Martial arts expert Kevin Garwood is looking to help the older people of Ipswich fight off would-be attackers by using their walking stick.

The 58-year-old's aim is not to create a mob of “grey-haired ninjas” but to inspire confidence in the elderly to walk the streets without fear.

Mr Garwood, who is based in Gorleston, Norfolk, currently teaches three walking stick self-defence classes a week throughout Norfolk, and aims to start more dedicated sessions this year in his other martial arts clubs across the region, including Ipswich.

He said: “I visit the Ipswich club about once a month to teach a martial arts class and I have shown them a few of the walking stick moves as part of a training day. People are surprised by it as a walking stick is usually a sign of weakness.

“I'm not trying to create a squad of grey-haired ninjas, I'm just trying to show people how to have a bit more confidence. I hope nobody will ever have to raise their walking stick in anger but it's about not being afraid to.

Most Read

“Now I always carry a walking stick, even though I don't need one to help me walk.”

The walking stick self-defence classes are usually made up of retired people, some of whom have health problems, resulting from heart attacks or strokes.

A normal crook-hand stick is used during classes, to replace specialist oriental fighting sticks, staffs or nunchucks, and a variety of moves are taught, including locks, throws and strangles. He also teaches other self-defence techniques, such as focusing on a target.

There have already been some success stories as a result of the classes, including one old woman who used her stick to fight off two thugs who grabbed her arm and handbag.

More than 25 years ago, Mr Garwood, a former youth justice worker, set up O Yama Ryu (Big Mountain School) in Norfolk to teach traditional Judo and Ju Jitsu style self-defence. He then opened other clubs elsewhere in the region, including a branch in Ipswich Docks in West Bank, which is exclusively for people over 50 and run by his brother, Trevor Garwood.

The dad-of-four, who has a black belt in judo and karate, began the walking-stick self defence for three years ago.

Although there is no dedicated walking stick self-defence classes in Ipswich at the moment, Mr Garwood said he would set up one if there was enough interest in it.

If anyone is interested in a walking sticks self-defence class, they should call Kevin Garwood on 01493 656538.

What do you think of this idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Walking sticks have always been used. In the beginning, poles, weapons, supports and walking-aids were the same thing. The walking stick also became a status symbol for men, from the bishop's staff to the sceptres of kings and emperors, symbolising power.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the walking stick became a fashion accessory.

In London in 1702, a gentleman had to procure licenses for the privilege of carrying canes, and to abide by certain rules or risk loss of the privilege. It was considered an extreme violation of manners to carry a walking stick under one's arm, to brandish it in the air, to drag it on the ground or to lean on it while standing.

Although the umbrella replaced the walking stick in the beginning of the 20th century, the walking stick gradually returned years later, and is today principally used for medical use.

Source: www.canescanada.com

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.

Become a Supporter