Ed Klausing of the Van Wert Self Defense Team taught seniors at the Council on Aging self-defense moves on Wednesday. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)
Ed Klausing of the Van Wert Self Defense Team taught seniors at the Council on Aging self-defense moves on Wednesday. (DHI Media/Sherry Missler)

VAN WERT — Dozens of people gathered at the Van Wert Council on Aging Wednesday evening to participate in a senior self-defense class. Ed Klausing of the Van Wert Self Defense Team first spoke to seniors on scams and how to protect themselves against them. Later in the evening he explained how seniors can use a variety of everyday items and moves to protect themselves from physical attack. Finally, seniors were invited to come forward and get some hands-on experience in dealing with a possible attacker.

Klausing said the Self Defense Team teaches a number of classes during the year — women’s self defense classes, kids’ classes and even instructs firefighters. However, this particular class was geared towards the needs of senior citizens.

“This class is directed more towards seniors, what to watch out for, because they become victims a lot more than other people do," said Klausing. "They are more vulnerable than someone at a younger age. We want them to be very aware of everything that’s out there.”

Mary Jane Fast, who organized the class, spoke on the need for people to get training.

“I have had some incidents in Fort Wayne … so I bought a tool and just learned what I could about self-defense but after attending two courses the team has taught in Van Wert, I just saw a great need for men and women who are 55 and above to be educated on self protection as well as scams that are geared towards seniors,” she said.

Faith Wallace, one of the people who attended the class, agreed there was a need for such classes.

“I have attended two classes before this. I think I have learned a great deal about how to protect myself, but I wish they had more of them," she remarked. "They have so many techniques, it’s impossible to juggle it all and remember it all. I try to keep an eye out on their Facebook page and whenever I see there’s a local one I try to make it. I do enjoy them and I think they do teach you some very beneficial things. We all think we know what we should do, but a lot of things you thought you should do is the exact opposite of what you really should do.”

She added, “I realize that most people aren’t going to use it. I want to know just in case I have to. It’s the not the society it use to be. Sometimes I’m sitting on my front porch and I’ll see someone walking down the sidewalk and I think, ‘I’ll just go into the house until they’re gone.’ And I don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but some people are shady, very shady.”

Anyone who missed this class who would like to see it offered again can contact the COA at 419-238-5011 or www.coavw.org. County residents are encouraged to check out all the activities and services provided to seniors through the COA. The COA serves all residents of Van Wert County who are age 55 years and over.