Free Tai Chi Self Defense Classes For Bronx Seniors

Published on October 13, 2011, 11:42 am
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Members of Touchstone Health HMO and the Bronx House (JASA) Senior Center are invited to participate in free tai chi self defense classes. Seniors meet at 11am each Thursday at the Bronx House (JASA) Senior Center in Bronx, NY, to learn how to use tai chi for self defense.

Free Tai Chi Self Defense Classes For Bronx Seniors

Free Tai Chi Self Defense Classes For Bronx Seniors

The new program is sponsored by New York Medicare Advantage company Touchstone Health, and began with the help of Touchstone Health Member Consultant Ruth Aptaker.

Aptaker believes senior citizens should learn how to defend themselves. She recommended the idea of forming a senior tai chi self defense class to her Medicare Advantage Insurer, Touchstone Health, because she says the “world out there is getting fiercer and one must be prepared.” Aptaker, who is also a member of the Bronx House (JASA) Senior Center, worked with Touchstone Health to establish a weekly class that’s open to Touchstone Health members as well as members of the senior center.

“We’re doing martial arts because it’s important [for seniors]. We need to learn how to be safe and to be protective of ourselves and anyone we’re with,” says Aptaker. “We’re learning how to act quickly and learning different techniques to throw the attacker off-guard, to disarm this person, and to get away; to run away from them.”

With relaxing music in the background, Master George Reyes is teaching seniors basic martial arts techniques and movements, such as the eye gauge, palm strikes to the chin, throat shots, and kicks, in order to neutralize an attacker. The 63-year-old instructor and military veteran is helping seniors gain more confidence and conquer their fear. Reyes also teaches them the importance of concentration and relaxation, while improving their flexibility, reaction time, posture and balance.

“These are important techniques that seniors can use just to get away from a predator. Always focus on the individual, and everything around is a weapon – a can, fruit, your groceries, even your shoe,” says Reyes, a fourth-degree black belt in Goju-Ryu. “And, as you’re leaving, scream the word ‘fire’ because people don’t respond to the word ‘help’ anymore.”

Aptaker says, “Reyes is an excellent instructor and he is guiding us each step of the way. And, Touchstone Health is very good and it’s good to know they’re on my side!” She offers this important advice to everyone, “Just keep aware, of what’s around you and who’s around you.”

Touchstone Health sponsors many free healthy aging events and classes that encourage wellbeing and socialization at senior centers throughout various neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and their other service areas.

For more information on this free event, please contact:

Marciana Z. Roger
Touchstone Health Bronx Community Representative

Tel.:      917-346-8156

The Touchstone Health Member Consultant Program is designed to allow Touchstone Health Members to share their knowledge and expertise so that Touchstone Health can improve the member experience. For more information on the Touchstone Health Member Consultant Program please call 1-877-867-5812.

About Touchstone Health:

Touchstone Health is a New York-based Medicare Advantage HMO serving more than 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries in New York City and in Westchester, Orange, Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Onondaga counties. Touchstone Health is a licensed managed care company offering a diverse portfolio of product options, including zero and low dollar co-pay plans with benefits including medical, pharmacy dental and mental health. The company was founded in 1998 by a group of neighborhood physicians with a goal to bring personalized health care to New York. Contact a Touchstone Health Representative 24/7 at 18778675750, TTY: 711 or visit

The benefit information provided herein is a brief summary, not a comprehensive description of benefits. For more information, contact the plan.


Jonas Bronck is the pseudonym under which we publish and manage the content and operations of The Bronx Daily.™ | - the largest daily news publication in the borough of "the" Bronx with over 1.5 million annual readers. Publishing under the alias Jonas Bronck is our humble way of paying tribute to the person, whose name lives on in the name of our beloved borough.