There are many classes that teach self-defense, but one course shows students how to defend themselves with an everyday object not often thought of as a weapon.
“You’ll never know if you’ll use it or when you would have to,” said Carl Jannay, one of the students attending a class on self-defense using canes at the Charles R. Hill Senior Center in Vinton.
Jannay hurt his leg in a motorcycle accident and sometimes needs a cane to help him get around. But, as a returning student to the defensive cane seminar, he also carries it for self-defense.
“It tells you how to hold the cane a little different or move a little different,” he said of the class.
“Normally if you carry a pistol, you’ve got it concealed – you have to get to it to be able to use it,” said Steve Garay, a local tai chi instructor who runs the seminar. “But with a cane, it’s right there.”
Garay said he considers the cane a perfect weapon for self-defense, adding that it has helped some of his former students in real-life situations.
“[I] had a lady in Valley View [Mall] come out of Valley View – a gentleman followed her out and said, ‘You’re taking me to the lake,'” Garay said. “She turned on him and said, ‘If you don’t leave me alone, I’m going to beat you to death with my cane.’ And he ran.”
Each student in the course also receives a defensive cane, made special with a wider hook, sharper edge and grips to help with combat.
“People carry the metal canes, but those typically are pretty weak,” Garay said. “If you actually had to strike with them, they would have a tendency to bend.”
The course isn’t just for senior citizens or people who need canes, Garay said, adding that he has taught students as young as 12 years old.
“Anybody can carry a cane,” he said. “Nobody thinks anything about it.”
“It’s a different feeling when you got it,” Jannay said. “[If] somebody throws a punch at you, you have some way of defending yourself.”
The seminar is taught twice a year at the Vinton Senior Center, Garay said. He plans to run the course again next spring.
The cost to attend the full-day seminar is $100, which also includes a defensive cane, DVD and handbook. To register or learn more information, you may call instructor Steve Garay at 540-797-1256.
The Vinton Senior Center also offers free tai chi classes for seniors age 55 and older on Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. and Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m., Garay said.