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Making the disabled less vulnerable with martial arts
Posted on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 8:24 am
by IDMA Editor

Students at the University of Ottawa are holding a self-defence workshop for colleagues with disabilities, in part as a response to an incident in which a blind student was robbed of her iPhone.

"People with disabilities are the most vulnerable people in the world," said Charlie Johnstone, 39, a student who, along with self-defence instructor Rock Bosquet, will conduct a workshop on Wednesday.

"We're going to go over simple, easy, practical manoeuvers they can do if they find themselves under attack," said Johnstone, who lost 85 per cent of his sight when he was 21.

Charlie Johnstone, 39,-left- a special student at the University of Ottawa, lost 85 per cent of his sight by age 21. Johnstone, who has been involved in martial arts and combative training since he was 14, and Rock Bosquet, a self-defence instructor, will be hosting a self-defence workshop at the university for students with disabilities - photo by: Sneh Duggal, The Ottawa Citizen

The founder of Non-Violence Now, an organization aimed at helping youth practise non-violence, anger management and conflict resolution, Johnstone has been involved in combative sports, martial arts and fitness training since he was 14. Among his awards, he placed second at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament in Ontario in 2009.

"I want to put some confident fighting spirit into them to defend their property and their lives," he said.

Johnstone and the university's Centre for Students with Disabilities held a similar session in 2007 and there had been talks of holding another one at some point.

But the process was fast-tracked after Victoria Francis, 24, had her hair pulled and her iPhone snatched from her hands while she was sitting in a cafeteria on campus in November.

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