Self defense for seniors tactics is crucial, especially for older adults. In fact, in an article published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, even though seniors being attacked by criminals is not that prevalent compared to those of younger age groups, older adults usually suffer more due to their vulnerability to injuries and fractures.
Fortunately, seniors can have a way of not being defenseless against criminal attackers, and in this article, I will be sharing some information you should know to avoid being a good target of criminals as well as some useful tactics to keep in mind when confronted with one.
Benefits of Self Defense for Seniors
Self-defense tactics are not just some showoff but also offer a lot of benefits to seniors such as:
- It helps boost self-confidence
- Your chance of being a victim is decreased.
- It helps you defend yourself whenever criminal attacks you
- It keeps you aware of potential robbers or criminals
- It helps improve balance, coordination, flexibility, and overall physical health
Tips and Precautions To Avoid Being Targeted
You don’t have to wait until a criminal victimizes you. Prevent yourself from being a good target by criminals through the tips listed below:
Be Alert To Your Surroundings
Every time you go out, it’s crucial to always be alert and aware of your surroundings. In this way, you can spot suspicious individuals who are potential threats to your safety.
Avoid Walking In Dark And Remote Areas, Especially At Night
Criminals usually hide in these kinds of places. If you can’t avoid walking through dark alleys, it’s always good to bring someone with you. Experts also advise you to keep a pocket flashlight, knife, or whistle whenever you walk in dark, remote areas.
Maintain Good Posture
Poor posture might make you look like you’re vulnerable and fearful, and that is what criminals always look for in their victims. That’s why it’s important to always keep your chin up and your shoulders back to make you look more confident and strong. This will help dissuade possible attackers.
Walk Smoothly And Confidently
Just as maintaining good posture, walking straight and smoothly will make you look strong. It’s also best if you keep up with the pedestrians’ walking pace. In this way, attackers may think that you’re not an easy target.
Make Brief Eye Contact With People
As you remain alert while you walk in the streets, you might observe potential attackers. In this case, making brief contact with people around you may discourage attackers as they become aware that you have already seen their faces. It’s also one way to show alertness and focus on your surroundings.
Stay Focused On Where You’re Walking
Before going out, make sure you know where you are going and what route will you be taking so that you can stay focused and alert on your way. Also, don’t stare down at your phone or on your map while you are walking as it might seem to attackers that you are lost. You may even possibly end up losing your guard when this happens.
Don’t Let A Possible Attacker Distract You
Some attackers start victimizing you by asking questions or directions to distract you. If you encounter a suspicious stranger doing this, make sure to secure your bag in front of you. Also, when they ask for directions, make sure you have them in your line of sight throughout the conversation. After all, being alert is one of the crucial practices whenever you’re in this situation.
Don’t Wear Or Bring Valuables That Are Attractive To Attackers
Wearing a lot of jewelry and exposing expensive valuables makes you a good target for robbers. You might as well limit wearing flashy jewelry especially if you’re going to walk in densely populated areas. Keeping your purse close to you and keeping valuables well-hidden is also a good practice to keep you safe from victimization.
Self-Defense Tactics You Should Know
If you do encounter an attack from a criminal, you must know the following self-defense tactics for seniors:
One of the best ways to get help or scare off attackers is to make noise as much as possible. You can either shout, blow your whistle, or turn on your emergency alarm if you have one so that you can alert bystanders. Experts also advise you to keep a personal alarm or whistle with you whenever you go outside or when you’re alone at home.
Utilize anything that can be used as a weapon
Whether it’s a bag of can goods or sharp objects, grabbing anything that you can use as a weapon can slow down an attacker and even scare them away. There are also several weapons you can put in your bag whenever you’re outdoors such as pepper spray, or stun guns. In the case of stun guns, you might do some paperwork before you are allowed to get one, though this depends on the state you live in.
Target the attacker’s vulnerable areas
Even for a big, bulky attacker, there will always be vulnerable areas you can target such as the eyes, groin, neck, nose, and knees.
Attack these areas depending on your proximity to the attacker and the areas accessible to you. For example, if s/he is in close proximity, you can target the eyes by poking them, throwing dirt, or using pepper spray. You can also target the groin if the attacker is holding you. If you have a cane, whacking it on the attacker’s legs can lose his/her balance giving you a chance to escape.
Learn martial arts
Learning one or two martial arts is also the best way of defending yourself from potential attackers. While choosing the most appropriate type of martial art can be hard, what you can do is assess your physical capabilities first and also consider existing conditions if you have any. Talking to a martial arts instructor can be helpful in choosing the self-defense system suitable for you.
To help you choose, let’s take a closer look at each of the best martial arts known across countries.
- Aikido: Originating from Japan, this type of martial art is known for its self-defense system that involves pinning, locking, and throwing techniques. It even includes using the opponent’s movements against him/herself. This is suitable for seniors with or without disabilities.
- Judo: This is usually defined as unarmed combat. It has similarities with Aikido involving techniques of holding and pinning the opponent. It is also a very useful tactic for making the enemy lose his/her balance.
- Jiu-Jitsu: This is another type of martial art that is described as “gentle” but effective. It focuses on balance manipulation rather than counterattacks. It also involves techniques in locking and pinning the opponent efficiently despite how bigger s/he is. With its smooth movements, seniors will not get too overwhelmed by this type of self-defense.
- Krav Maga: This is a modern type of combat system more referred to as military self-defense rather than a martial art. The whole focus of this system is surviving an attack using practical efficient techniques that involve kicking the groin or poking the eyes. Krav Maga is simpler than other types of combat systems, and it’s very suitable for any age and physical ability.
- Wing Chun: This is another type of martial art that is more concept-based than other types of self-defense systems. It’s also considered low-impact self-defense which makes it good training for seniors.
- Cane Self-Defense/Cane Fu: Cane fu is a trending self-defense tactic for seniors. This is the most suitable self-defense for seniors if you ask me. They only have to use their cane as a tool for self-defense. As you get introduced to cane fu, your instructor will teach you how to overpower an aggressor either by swinging the cane in circles, striking the knee, throat, or nose, and hooking the attacker’s foot or neck.
Learning different tactics in self-defense will help you avoid being victimized by criminals both inside and outside the home. Additionally, it’s crucial to know precautions to avoid encountering potential attackers. I hope this article helped in adding your knowledge on self-defense for seniors.