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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

What Would Make You Take a Self-Defense Class?

January 2, 2017 | 2 Comments

by Polly Abbott, CVRT

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John is using 1Touch techniques to twist the arm of a classmate behind her back to disable her.

Second Sense recently started offering 1Touch™ classes – a self-defense technique developed specifically for people with vision loss.  When I first heard about the program last year I was so intrigued I participated in the training to earn certification as an instructor.

Our first class started in late September.  The first 1Touch practitioners completed their formal training and are now participating in group sessions to practice their new skill.

I interviewed two students:  Charlotte and John.  I asked them

  • Why did you decide to take the 1Touch class?
  • How did you feel after the first class?
  • How do you feel now that you have taken a few classes and learned some techniques?
  • Has anything about 1Touch surprised you?
  • What do you feel you are gaining for yourself by participating in 1Touch classes?

One gave me the answers I had anticipated when I developed the training class and the other completely changed my perspective of who would benefit from this training!

1Touch is for the Independent Solo Traveler…

John recently retired after many years of working in the busy downtown area.  He has used a white cane for many years and travels extensively — often alone.  He has also rappelling down a sky scraper, jumped from an airplane and sailed solo.  This is a guy who is not afraid of what the world has to offer.  However, John said he has thought about self-defense for all the years that he has been coming downtown because he always felt vulnerable.

After just the first class, he felt optimistic, empowered, and that “this would really mean something — he would no longer feel like a weak target!”  Happily, he reported that the class has met his expectations.  He was very surprised at all the options he has for doing the different techniques. He feels he has gained “tons of self-confidence” and a sense of self-assuredness that was not there before learning 1Touch maneuvers.

I was not surprised by John’s reasons for taking the class or his answers — just pleased that the classes were delivering exactly what the program promised.

…and 1 Touch is also for Everyone!

Charlotte uses 1Touch techniques to disable a larger man by twisting his arm behind his back.Charlotte surprised me when she said she only joined the class in hope of getting a little exercise to strengthen her body and improve balance.  She stated she never travels anywhere alone and only takes paratransit to get from place to place.  Hearing this, I was impressed with Charlotte’s good attendance record since 1Touch is certainly not a workout! Then why, I pondered, did she keep coming?

Charlotte is also at retirement age.  She is not always able to participate in class to the fullest extent due to arthritis.  She feels more comfortable going to community locations with friends or family.  But don’t mistake my meaning — Charlotte is a busy and active person!

Despite the fact that the first class is a balance of discussion and learning a few foundational moves, Charlotte reported feeling tired and as if she had had a workout.  The 1 Step in 8 Directions drill was introduced in the first class.  This movement is essential for maintaining one’s orientation and helps to develop balance.  The students practiced this drill many times that first day. Charlotte was not the only student who reported tiredness!

Charlotte kept coming to class and learned more of the techniques that are used when a person has no other option but to address the situation and defend herself.  She has been surprised to learn moves that would work on a bigger, stronger person.  (Luckily, one student is much larger than the others.  The other students gain a great deal of confidence in the effectiveness of the techniques by working successfully with him as their partner.)

Then Charlotte confessed that she had been demonstrating 1 Touch techniques to her big strong young son.  He doesn’t want to help his mother practice anymore saying “Mum, you’re going to hurt me!”

Charlotte enjoys practicing with different people in class and considers it good experience for whatever she might encounter out in the world.  “You don’t have to be outside for someone to attack you!” she exclaimed.  Participating in the 1Touch classes has made her feel the confidence that she could “do something” if she had to.

And to think, she only came for the exercise!

Everyone deserves to feel self-assured

Don’t limit yourself — prepare yourself.

Learn more about 1Touch or find a local 1Touch class or workshop near you.

Increase your knowledge of how to be safer when you have vision loss by taking the free course Personal Safety:  Self-Defense Strategies from the Hadley Institute.

Polly is the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Second Sense.

2 comments on “What Would Make You Take a Self-Defense Class?”

  1. Polly, it’s good to know that self defense classes have helped people to regain self confidence. I have a cousin who was recently the victim of a violent crime. I definitely think that I should look into encouraging my family members to take some self defense courses. It seems like an excellent way to make sure that everyone is safe and secure.

  2. Ondrej Matej says:

    most vital reason to practice self defense is to keep safe, it has many other benefits too. To Become Empowered and also helps improve your physical conditioning.

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