Elwood Shular, a single parent in the Amherst community, joined us today for a crash course in self-defense. A bouncer for many years, Elwood has picked up many tips and tricks for keeping oneself safe when dire circumstances strike.
As always, the meeting began with a go-round of introductions. Participants shared their name, a tip or trick for defusing tough situations, and a happy thought they had for the day. Many participants shared their excitement for the new office space.
Elwood demonstrated his knowledge of Jeet Kune Do, or JKD, a martial arts practice based on a hybrid of many other art styles. JKD is special in that it does not conform to one particular set of patterns or styles, allowing the user to employ any number of tactics deemed appropriate in a hypothetical setting. Elwood guided today’s participants through some basic hand positions fighting stances and the techniques used to counter or escape a bad situation. Elwood and participants briefly paired up to practice a particular trick to getting out of a fisted grip. The participants were engaged in Elwood's combination of storytelling and demonstrations, and shared their thoughts, questions, and concerns openly. Many people were curious as to “what comes next” in these hypothetical situations to make sure they were best prepared.
Elwood also shared his admiration for Bruce Lee, the founding father of JDK, and told an inspiring story of Lee’s struggle after a back injury forced him into paralysis for 6 months. During this time, Lee’s wife helped him transcribe the entirety of his martial arts philosophy in a book detailing the JKD method. Elwood’s motivation for keeping himself healthy and safe is his teenage son, of whom Elwood is very proud.
Everyone felt very encouraged and inspired at the end of the meeting. Spirits were high as participants realized they could empower themselves with their own strength, and we thank Elwood for promoting and affirming this message!
By: Sadie Mazur