Most criminals think of senior citizens as easy targets. They assume they’re weak, helpless and won’t be able to defend themselves, hence crimes on senior citizens has always been a big issue. Senior citizens have been victims of robbery, chain snatching, purse snatching and car theft. It is important for senior citizens to learn to defend themselves in such situations. It’s good that its never too late to start learning ways to defend yourself.
Self-defense for older adults goes well beyond pepper spray in the glovebox, from martial arts to “Cane Fu” to simple practices that make you less susceptible to crime. You can go in with your friends or grandkids and learn self-defense moves in classes dedicated just for such purposes turning it into a fun activity.
Here are a few things you can do which can give you a head start in defending yourself:
- Check all the locks on your doors and windows in your home and car. Repair the ones that are not working and make sure you lock all doors and windows while you’re at home or away.
- Never hire someone who randomly comes in for a job, there is a high possibility they’re there because they think of you as an easy target and want to harm and rob you.
- Do not keep a large amount of cash in your house, deposit all those social security checks directly in your bank accounts.
- Install peepholes in your doors so that you can make sure who it is before you let someone inside your house.
- Never let random strangers inside your house.
- Never give out your social security number, credit card number or bank account details over phone to anyone.
- Avoid going out after dark.
Types of Self Defense for Senior Citizens:
When it comes to self-defense for senior citizens, there are plenty of options available that the elderly can use to defend themselves. They can buy tools to defend themselves or learn special techniques, it all comes down to what the person is most comfortable with.
- Self Defense Tools: You can purchase tools such as pepper sprays, stun guns, whistles, personal alarms etc. They’re easy to use and can be purchased easily. Pepper sprays and stun guns can be used to disable your attackers so that you can escape safely whereas whistles and personal alarms help to attract attention towards yourself and ward of your attacker. Some personal alarms come with flashing lights which you can use in the dark as a sort of SOS. You can use your cane to defend yourself too. There is a whole martial art dedicated to the art of using a cane for self defense or the elderly called “Cane Fu”.
- Cane Fu: Everybody will agree, Cane Fu is amazing. It takes a simple walking stick which is seen as a sign of weakness and turns it into a weapon. That’s right, remember your grandfathers walking stick you used to play pretend Jedi? They can use it to defend themselves and look badass while they do it. Cane defense for seniors teaches how to block punches and take down attackers using a tool they have on them at all times—a cane. You can find weaponized self-defense walking canes with sharpened points for cutting and tearing, but the best self-defense cane is a simple, high-quality walking stick.
Here are some of the things to lookout for:
- Wide Curve on a Crook Cane: A cane with a too tight a curve will not be useful for hooking and pulling.
- Optimal Weight: You’ll obviously want a high-quality cane, but it needs to be light enough for you to move around and use it to defend yourself.
- String or Rubber Wrap Grips: They help you maintain a better grip on the cane and don’t look suspicious at all, hence your attacker won’t suspect you using your cane as a weapon.
- Large Metal Knobs on a Cane: These metal knobs can do a lot of damage when used to attack someone with enough force, giving you enough time to escape.
- Martial Arts for Seniors: Do you think martial arts is for someone who is young and fit and cannot be learnt and performed by an elderly person? You’re wrong. There are many forms of martial arts that use smooth movements which are perfect for a senior citizen. For example, Aikido is a form of martial arts that focuses of balancing the spirit, mind and body. Its movements are smooth and does not strain your body. You won’t hurt yourself while performing Aikido because there are no all-out kicks or punches. It will rather help you increase your flexibility, mobility, strength, balance and your overall health. Another famous martial art that can be easily performed by an elderly person is Kung Fu. This technique focuses on speed rather than on strength and power. When you focus on disciplines that emphasize speed over power and implement mental practice alongside the physical, martial arts for seniors becomes a useful tool health and safety. A little practice and I believe any senior can learn to defend themselves using these techniques.
- Verbal Judo: Also known as verbal self defense or verbal aikido. It is the art of de-escalating a situation. We think the best way to defend yourself is with the help of words. Knowing what to say—or what not to say—can be the best means of self-defense. Nobody in their right mind would want to hurt an elderly person, you can talk them out of it and make them remind that you’re like their parents or grandparents. Studies show most crimes against the senior citizens was done by someone they know. This means verbal judo can be a major tool in preventing a violent conflict. Be it a distant relative, a friend or your family, you can talk them out of it if you know what to say at such situations. It is always preferred to avoid violence when you can solve things and protect yourself by your words.
- Mental Defense: Keeping a calm mind during a crisis can be your greatest ally to defend yourself. In a dangerous situation, the first thing that happens to you is that you get an adrenaline rush which may affect your ability to think straight. When your fight or flight mode kicks in it is important to be level headed, if not you may unnecessarily escalate the situation and get hurt. Sharpening your psychological self-defense skills can be the difference between fending off an attacker and being injured. Practice putting yourself in mentally strenuous situations to mimic the adrenaline rush you would feel during a mugging.
It is important for you to build your confidence and learn to handle your body’s natural reactions to stress.
How and Where to Start Learning the Basics of Self Defense:
Now that you know what you can do and learn to defend yourself, you must be asking yourself that how and where can you learn these techniques? Well the best way to start is to enroll in a class. You can learn your chosen discipline in a fun and healthy way by enrolling in any one of the numerous classes around you. There will be people just like you who want to defend themselves from violent people. You can also take your friends and grandchildren so that you don’t feel lonely. This will help them defend themselves too and you can make your learning routine into something fun.
When you learn and practice something with others you’ll be motivated and will want to do your best. The competition can encourage you to work harder, and there’s no better inspiration to get yourself to class than knowing your peers are holding you accountable. It is also best to learn something with others, when it comes to self-defense. It is only when you spar with someone you’ll understand what works with you when it comes to defend yourself. Plus, if you have trouble understanding something, you’ll always have someone to guide you.
- R A.D for Seniors: R.A.D. Is an international network of self-defense classes run by certified instructors. It has a 15-hour program typically offered in ten sessions. They have around 11 thousand instructors who teach at universities, law enforcement agencies and community organizations. They have classes specially for senior citizens which focuses on awareness and teaching them various techniques to defend themselves in dire times. You can learn more about them on their website and locate their nearest teaching center near you.
- Community Self Defense Classes: Local police departments and community centers sponsor and host various self defense classes in communities. And if your community doesn’t already host a self defense class then alert your local authorities. This will help other senior citizens in your community who want to learn how to defend themselves.
Click here to check online for all the local self-defense classes that have special sessions for the elderly.
Learning Self Defense at Home:
Want to learn how to defend yourself in the comforts of your own home? Well there are sources that can teach you techniques. Of course, learning in a class is better because you learn with so many other students, but some people still prefer privacy.
- YouTube: Go on youtube.com and type “self-defense for seniors” in the search bar and you will find a variety of videos that will help you learn the art of self-defense. This is a great way to learn to new moves and disciplines.
- DVDs: A lot of self-help DVDs are available in the market. All you need to do is to go to your local Walmart or browse online websites and look for DVDs regarding the disciplines you want to learn. Once you buy the DVDs you have to just do as the instructor on your screen says and in-time with practice you will be able to use these self-defense techniques with ease.
- On-demand: Most cable networks offer on-demand programs for reasonable rates. All you need to do is go to the fitness section and look for self-defense videos. Select the skill level and discipline and you can be a pro in no time.
Self Defense Weapons for Senior Citizens:
If you ask your local law enforcement about what to do to protect yourself when in danger in you’re an elderly person, they’ll advice you to carry non-lethal weapons with you at all times.
- Pepper Sprays: They are easily available in the market. Spray your attacker on the face till then fall on their knees are in no state to attack you and then get out of the place as fast as possible. Make sure you enquire with your local law enforcement before you buy a pepper spray because some states don’t allow the purchase and use of pepper sprays for the citizens.
- Stun Guns: Stun guns or tasers are easy to use. You just aim, press the button and wait till your attacker drops. Use twice if the attacker is still on his feet. Can be easily bought online or locally.
- Canes: Now that you already know about “Cane Fu”, you know how good a cane can be when it comes to defending yourself.
- Makeshift Weapons: If you have none of the above tools at your disposal and you’re under attack, use things like car keys or heavy skillets to defend yourself. Trust me, they hurt hard as hell.
Self Defense Moves Every Senior Citizen Should Know:
Don’t want to go to a specialized class to learn self-defense? Don’t even want to carry weapons with you? Well then, we recommend these few moves that every senior should learn in order to defend themselves in dangerous situations.
- Palm Strike: Stuck in close quarters with an assailant? Well then palm strike will help you get some distance between you and the perpetrator. Strike the attackers nose with the base of your palm in an upward angle. This will put tremendous pressure on his nose, breaking it. It will cause him enormous pain and make him lose his senses, giving you time to escape. Try practicing with a dummy or a partner so that you get the hang of it.
- Wrist Release: The most common move an attacker will you is to grab your wrists that will make is easy for him to drag you. If you try to attack him it just makes you lose your base and makes it easier for him to drag you. Jerking your arm off wouldn’t help either. The best way to get out of this hold is to bend your elbow towards you and pulling it off. This will give you an angle and a base to release yourself from his grip. If the attacker is stronger you can use your other hand to pull it out. Use a partner so that you can practice it and get used to with the angle you need to release yourself from the attacker’s grip.
- Knee Shot: The best way to defend yourself in dangerous situations is to hit your attacker where is hurts the most. All you need to do is use your feet’s sole and hit the attacker’s knee with all you got. This will take a bit of a practice so that you can hit the mark at all times. Use a dummy to practice this move.
Here are a Few Added Safety Tips:
- Avoid leaving the house in the dark, and if you do stay in well-lit areas.
- Always keep your car keys handy, you don’t want someone attacking you while you dig through your purse for your car keys.
- There are phones available in the market made keeping senior citizens in mind, keep them on you at all times and don’t be shy to alert your family or the local authorities if you think you’re in danger.
- Keep your valuable in your jacket rather than your purse, so that even if you get mugged you can let go of your purse with ease.
- Never let strangers enter your house.
- Carry a whistle to scare perpetrators away.
- Remember to lock your house doors whenever you leave the house, you don’t want unwanted guests waiting for you when you come back.
- Try not to walk on the streets, having a companion keeps the criminals at bay.
Even though perpetrators think the elderly are easy targets, doesn’t mean we need to prove that assumption. Don’t let your old age be the reason you get mugged. Follow the above tips and tricks and make your life safe. Self-defense weapons can be easily found in your local stores and online, and with a little bit of practice you can learn to use them with ease. Learning basic self-defense moves will only help you safeguard yours and your loved one’s life. It will also improve your overall health and life. Taking your personal safety in your own hands is better than waiting for help in dire times.