1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Weight Training

    Senior citizens learn to fight back with their canes

    Senior citizens learn to fight back with their canes

    Stephanie Chelf

    METHUEN | Salvatore DiStefano has had two knee replacement surgeries and walks with a cane. Until last week, he never thought about using the walking stick to fend off an attacker.

    Senior citizens are much more capable of defending themselves than they may realize, especially if they are armed with a cane and know how to use it, said Larry Giordano, a black belt in karate who has taught self-defense to people of all ages in the Merrimack Valley for 40 years.

    DiStefano, 80, said Giordano's tips have given him more confidence when he is walking alone.

    "He showed me some new tactics," DiStefano said. "When you get up there in age, you have to be careful, but I learned quite a bit."

    DiStefano and about 10 other senior citizens learned how to use their canes for basic self-defense in a recent class at the Methuen Senior Center.

    "The cane is a very good weapon," said Giordano, a city councilor and owner of the Methuen Karate Association. "It's about the element of surprise. ... It might save your life someday."

    The seniors practiced blocking by holding the cane above their heads and hitting an attacker in the face.

    Millie Torrisi held her cane as high as she could to the attacker.

    "Stay away from me," she yelled. Giordano told her to hold the cane tightly with both hands and use all her strength. Good job, he said, moving to the next student.

    Torrisi, who stands just 5 feet tall when wearing heels, doesn't need a cane to walk but enjoyed learning the self-defense moves.

    "It was very interesting," said Torrisi, who did not want to share her age. "I didn't know anything about it. I like it. I learned to block."

    Giordano also stressed that seniors should be cautious when trying to defend themselves, and if an attacker has a weapon, it's best to give him your money or purse.

    "Let's not try to be heroes," Giordano said. "Let's hope you never have to defend yourself."

    At the senior activity center, Giordano showed them to block a punch by holding the cane up sideways with both hands. Then, the seniors practiced making a quick thrust with the cane to hit a person in the groin.

    Barbara Leonhart, 73, wasn't really sure what she would do if she was attacked.

    But now the Methuen resident knows how to use a cane to slow down an attacker and buy her time to yell for help.

    "I figured you'd swing it at his head, but that's not the best thing," Leonhart said of how she would defend herself. "First you block, then you hit him where it hurts."

    Giordano and karate instructor Michael Keyes demonstrated more advanced moves. Using the cane, Giordano faked hitting Keyes in the face and then the back of knee, bringing him to the ground.

    "Now this is where I would kick him," Giordano said. "But that's too advanced for you to do."

    The seniors also practiced hitting an attacker in the face with the cane. But when in doubt, going for the groin is the best bet, Giordano said.

    "Hold on to the cane tight and don't be afraid to use power," Giordano said.


    I wonder if their class had sparring.
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  2. #2
    I am a Ninja bitches!! Deal with it Join us... or die
    Goju - Joe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Improv comedy
    I don't see many canes now days.

    shouldn't they be learning to use their walkers?


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