By Gina Martinez
Senior citizens in Kew Garden Hills got free self-defense lessons.
Chazaq, a Jewish nonprofit organization, hosted the inaugural Self-Defense Class for Seniors last week at Queens Library in Kew Garden Hills. More than 55 seniors attended the class, led by instructor Avi Avramcheyiv of the New York Self-Defense Academy. The class was funded by Councilman Rory Lancman (D- Hillcrest), who allocated $16,000 in the fall 2018 budget through the Support Our Seniors Initiative to facilitate events for local seniors.
During the one-hour class, Avramcheyiv explained several self-defense maneuvers and spoke with the seniors about the importance of self-defense. Seniors were taught how to handle potential muggers with or without a gun. The demonstration featured ways in which a person, when approached or attacked, can use his or her body and mindfulness to maneuver out of harm’s way. The older seniors were also taught how to bring harm to the attacker in a way that will give them time to walk away or call for help.
Another technique taught to seniors is how to use a cane to poke a mugger in the stomach to thwart the attack. Avramcheyiv said that after using the cane, the senior could then use other techniques to disable a mugger.
Detective Dan O’Brian and Mark Katz, of the Queens District Attorney’s Office, spoke to the attendees about safety issues that seniors face.
Councilman Lancman said he was proud to provide funding for the event.
“We want to do everything possible to keep our seniors safe,” he said. “The self-defense class was a unique opportunity for local seniors to learn defense skills and techniques needed to empower and protect themselves and others.”
Israel Peskowitz, community development coordinator at Chazaq, thanked Lancman and said he was pleased with the enthusiasm and turnout, and plans for more.
“We hope to see even more participants join us at future events,” he said. “A lot of thought has gone into providing seniors with informative, educational programming within a social framework. There is tremendous importance to increasing resources available to our elders.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart