Personal Safety Seminar taught at the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Secure Living Online was co-founded in 2008 by Grandmaster Clifford C. Crandall, Jr. and Master Eric Stalloch of the American Martial Arts Institute. In 2010, the organization expanded to create a board of directors with Mr. Stalloch was elected to serve as CEO. The board members are all instructors in the American Martial Arts Institute; therefore, the seminars are conducted wearing the American Eagle Style uniforms. However, this organization is separate from the martial arts school. Instead, it offers seminars on health, awareness, and personal safety, which is distinctly different from martial arts training. Secure Living Online offers programs from children, teenagers, women, active seniors, people with disabilities, and community organizations.
On March 30, 2016, Secure Living Online's board of directors (Grandmaster Crandall, Master. Stalloch, Master Freleigh, and Mrs. Jessee), with assistance from Mr. Cumings, presented a personal safety seminar for the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Utica, New York. The event was organized by Laura Yakey, Rehabilitation Employment Supervisor for CABVI, who brought the two agencies together. It was covered by local media, WKTV. Five men and women participated in the seminar, and their vision ranged from fully blind from birth to legally blind. Grandmaster Crandall and the instructors covered awareness information and safety prior to teaching the techniques. Then, the five instructors worked one-on-one with each participant to teach them eight different techniques to protect against common assault scenarios including throat grabs, label grabs, sleeve grabs and more. This included a white cane (used for feeling the environment while walking), and empty-hands. The participants also learned how to punch, and enjoyed striking the padded shields held by the instructors.
The participants came alive with excitement, and while the seminar was of a serious nature, everyone had a good time. It was truly exciting to see the group's self-confidence increase in the hour and half seminar. It was rewarding to see their state of mind change to one of empowerment, realizing that they were not helpless but had many options to protect themselves. They were reclaiming the responsibility for their own safety. The group will have a follow-up seminar later this year.