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Self Defence Strategies For Seniors

Self defence training gives you the tools and skills you need to confidently assess a dangerous situation and navigate it effectively. There is nothing more empowering and reassuring than that. Self defence techniques offer a fun and powerful way to train the body, burn calories, and improve physical health and mental well being.

Age and physical limitations do not have to prevent you from learning how to protect yourself. Whether you learn basic self-defence techniques or pursue advanced martial arts training, knowing that you're capable of defending yourself can be a great confidence booster.

Judo, Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu, Wing Chun, Krav Maga, Cane Fu and Tai Chi are some popular self defence disciplines amongst seniors. Taking a formal self-defence class offers plenty of advantages. For one thing, being part of a group can help you stay motivated. It's also easier to practice your techniques on real live people. Plus, you can get help from the instructor or your fellow students if you find that you're having difficulty.

Locate classes by contacting your local senior centre, YMCA, public library, or police department. In addition, check out martial arts schools in your area. Most offer self-defence classes (especially for women), and a growing number of them are gearing such classes toward the specific needs of seniors.

It's often said that tai chi is the best martial art for beginners because it involves slow, gentle movements with low impact. Most tai chi classes for seniors focus on health and meditation as opposed to self-defence, but they can show you how to move your body and can act as a good bridge to other disciplines.

When considering any class, think about the following:

  • Can the techniques be adapted to your physical challenges?

  • How long is the training? Most martial arts programs are meant to be ongoing, but self-defence courses cover the basics in a couple of weeks

  • Consider the cost (some organizations offer classes to seniors for free)

  • See if you can observe a class before signing up for one

If you think learning a self-defence discipline is not for you, here are some basic techniques to fend off an attack:

Prevention should always be your primary objective. After all, the best way to stay safe is to not get into difficult situations in the first place.

- If a thief demands your money or valuable, especially if he or she is wielding a weapon, give it to them. Nothing you possess is worth more than your life.

- Shout, blow a whistle, or activate a personal alarm. Emergency alarms that fit in your pocket or attach to your keychain can be effective ways of scaring off attackers.

- Throw dirt in the attacker's eyes if possible. Consider carrying pepper spray with you.

Self defence for seniors can take many forms. Whether you choose to take up martial arts, learn cane fu, or take a basic self defence class, you'll be better prepared to protect yourself.

If you need help choosing a self defence course for yourself, at in4MED, we can connect you to local resources and support systems. As always, feel free to connect with me or leave a comment. Nikita Healthcare Consultant, in4MED

The author of this blog post is a Physician with over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare system as a clinician, researcher and educator. She is passionate about healthcare for older adults and strives to be a resourceful inspiration to caregivers. *No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional.

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