ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Mary Manier was outside of a Publix recently when her trusty cane came in handy.
“I was putting some money away, and a guy came up to me,” says Manier. “He said, ‘Hey, I wanna talk to you,’ so I took my cane...”
The 84-year-old demonstrates a two-handed jabbing cane technique she learned at the Sunshine Center for seniors in downtown St. Petersburg.
The city-sponsored self-defense class is called Cane-Ki-Do.
It is taught by security and safety specialists Bryant and Leotte Harrell.
The seniors are taught to use their cane to ward off and sometime even fight attackers.
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Walk with confidence. Be alert. If attacked, go for the clavicle. Jab and shout.
“Quit! Get away from me! Leave me alone! I don’t know you!”
The students, all of whom are women during a recent class, learn with wooden canes, which the Harrells prefer because metal ones can often bend.
“It’s amazing to see, just in the past month, the confidence growing in these women, especially Mary,” says Leotte. “They walk taller, stronger, and they know how to use that cane.”