Senior Safety Program

SEATTLE — There’s a new karate class to help protect seniors who can be vulnerable and preyed upon by robbers.

Mark Bryant plans eight classes once a week at the Southeast Seattle Senior Center.

“You have to look at what seniors have already, they carry keys, they carry canes,” said Bryant, a 58-year-old who also teaches exercise classes at the center.

Bryant, who said he’s practiced martial arts since he was 11 years old, believes there are tactics adults use that might not work for seniors.

Instead of grabbing keys between fingers, he teaches grabbing them with a combination of your thumb, index and middle fingers.

Instead of pulling away from an attacker’s grab, he taught 77-year-old Loretta McIver to use that momentum to her advantage.

McIver and several other seniors at the center acknowledged they felt unsafe in the South Seattle neighborhood, especially on Rainier Avenue South.

“One of my customers was attacked out here on the crosswalk and they grabbed her chain,” said Linda Lewis, who works at the center.

Bryant tries to keep it simple. He doesn’t believe seniors should learn moves that require much timing or balance.

His second class in the series of eight meets this Friday.

Copyright 2016 KING