The elderly are often perceived as easy targets for criminals. Their slow gait and frail appearance are a sign to criminals that they can be overpowered. Estimates suggest that roughly 1 out of 10 adults over 60 experience some form of what is known as elder abuse, though researchers believe that crimes against adults are highly underestimated.

The good news is that it’s never too late to learn to defend yourself – those providing elderly care should make a note of this! Age and physical limitations do not have to prevent you from learning how to protect yourself. Whether you study basic self-defence techniques or pursue advanced martial arts training, knowing that you're capable of defending yourself can be a great confidence booster.

Self-defence for older adults goes well beyond pepper spray in the glovebox – from martial arts and krav maga to cane fu and other simple practices make you less susceptible to crime. You don't need any prior training or experience to learn basic self-defence moves, and taking local classes can be fun.

The concept of self-defence for seniors deals more with not showing fear than with ways to body-slam someone to the pavement. It teaches you how to stay aware of your surroundings and focus on your safety. Such training also brings a host of physical benefits: You can improve your balance, coordination, stamina, strength, and flexibility. Even if you never have to use the techniques that you learn, the exercise you get through self-defence training can have a positive impact on your overall health.

Let’s take a look at the types of self-defence for seniors.

  1. Cane Fu

The discipline takes a walking cane, which is typically seen as a symbol of weakness, and turns it into a weapon. That’s right, walking sticks are not just for walking. Cane defence for seniors teaches how to block punches and take down attackers using a tool they have on them at all times – a cane. Cane defence for seniors is a fantastic form of self-defence and exercise. Learning the discipline will improve your ability to defend yourself, while also increasing strength, health, and confidence.

  1. Martial Arts

When you think ‘martial arts,’ you probably think about Karate or Taekwondo. But there are other forms of martial arts that are perfect for seniors’ self-defence. Aikido is a form of marital arts that focuses on balancing spirit, body, and mind. The movements are smooth. There are no all-out kicks or punches. Aikido movements are natural and enhance mobility and flexibility. The practice promotes overall health and will improve your strength and balance. Kung fu is another excellent form of martial arts for seniors. Most of the striking is done open-handed, and it focuses on speed, rather than power.

  1. Krav Maga

Many people believe that Krav Maga is the best martial art for self-defence. There are no sporting applications; the whole focus is on surviving an attack. You learn to neutralize an assailant quickly using simple, natural movements (including groin kicks and eye gouges, which are not permitted in other types of martial arts). The techniques are highly efficient and can be used by people of any age, since they do not rely on strength, speed, or flexibility.

  1. Jiu-Jitsu

Another soft art based on defending oneself against a more powerful opponent, jiu-jitsu concentrates on manipulation and balance rather than counterforce. While it does incorporate some striking, most of its movements involve throws and joint locks. You will be taught how to dodge attacks and escape from holds. It's about leverage and technique as opposed to size and strength.

While these self-defence techniques are helpful, the primary option should always be prevention. Since self-defence classes for seniors are quite rare, it is important to know how to prevent being attacked. Be aware of your surroundings, walk with purpose and confidence, use ‘verbal judo’ to prevent increasing tension during an altercation which might lead to violence, if you carry a cane (which you should) – aim for the most vulnerable areas of the attacker. Family members and caregivers should encourage their senior loved ones, as an aspect of elderly care, to learn these techniques and also educate them about prevention tips.

Author's Bio: 

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