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03 March, 2017

Self-defence course empowers Western Sydney residents with vision loss

A client and an O&M Instructor practice self defence techniques on punching bags

Being grabbed by someone you don’t know would be a terrifying experience for anyone, but just imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t see.

For people who are blind or vision impaired, learning the basics of how to stay safe and defend themselves when out and about is important in maintaining an active and independent life.

Yesterday, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT ran a self-defence course for clients as part of a Personal Safety Mobility Day.

Held in Campbelltown, the participants, accompanied by Guide Dogs Orientation & Mobility Specialists, learned special techniques from Martial Arts expert Chris Futcher-Coles.

“The Personal Safety Course was a good way to empower clients and to give them the skills to defend themselves,” said Guide Dogs Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Paul Hartley.

A client and an O&M Instructor practice self defence techniques on punching bags

“It was also a great opportunity for clients to be physically challenged at their own pace with one-on-one guidance and tips from professionals.”

Narellan Vale resident Rhonda McCaw, who has been legally blind since birth, said she had been looking forward to learning some new skills.  

“I think the course is a good opportunity for people with vision impairment to learn some strategies to protect themselves,” she said.

“Self-defence is probably a skill all people should learn, but for someone with vision impairment it could provide them with that extra bit of confidence to get out and about in the community.”

Each year, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Orientation & Mobility Specialists work with around 4,000 people of all ages to help them achieve their mobility goals. Programs are tailored to meet the lifestyle needs of each individual, and most training is delivered locally, in the person’s home, community or work environment.

Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with vision loss that cannot be corrected, including nine who will become blind.

Western Sydney clients practice self defence techniques on punching bags