New club for battling pensioners

A NEW club to teach pensioners how to fight off attackers with their walking sticks is set to begin in Ipswich next month.So far six elderly people in Ipswich have signed up to the class after the idea was highlighted in an article in The Evening Star earlier this month.

A NEW club to teach pensioners how to fight off attackers with their walking sticks is set to begin in Ipswich next month.

So far six elderly people in Ipswich have signed up to the class after the idea was highlighted in an article in The Evening Star earlier this month.

Martial arts expert Kevin Garwood, who currently teaches three walking stick self-defence classes a week throughout Norfolk, is now going to run weekly sessions in the 36th Ipswich Scout hut in Hawthorn Drive, Chantry.

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

Ronald Mulley, 76, from north west Ipswich, decided to sign up to the class to help protect himself.

He said: “There are so many louts about and you never know when something could happen. I thought I would try the class to learn a bit about how to protect myself.

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“I use to be a bodybuilder in my younger days and I feel I could be aggressive if I needed to be.

“I had never heard of anything like this before so I might as well give it a go.”

Mr Garwood, who is based in Gorleston, Norfolk, said: “I was very surprised to hear from so many people. People obviously feel a need for this.

“You don't have to have a walking stick to join the class. 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.”

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 first session of The Ipswich Cane Work Club, which is for over 50s, will be on Monday, February 4, between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. It costs £3 per person.

For more information, call Mr Garwood on 01493 656538.

Have you ever fought off an attacker? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.