self-defense, no sparring or fighting

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self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby everything on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:04 am

Suppose you are helping someone, let's say it's your senior citizen mother, enroll in some self-defense training. She isn't interested in being a "fighter", getting in a ring, or doing any sparring. Maybe she isn't fit, has arthritis, an old injury, etc. so that really doesn't make much sense.

I would want her to learn some amount of breakfall skill (to whatever extent possible) since falling is the main risk for "violent" injury for older people. Let's say she learns that and a little more stuff such as grab escapes, basic punch/kick defense, basic groundwork. But she still isn't going to be a "fighter". So don't worry about that for this scenario at all.

What is an "intermediate" level of skill you would encourage her to get to? Something between CPR and becoming an emergency room nurse or doctor. On this board we want everyone in every hypothetical thread topic to become a "doctor" but what about people who just aren't going to do that for various good reasons.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby RobP3 on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:26 am

Certainly learn how to fall, it is a vital skill, but not breakfalls. You can't kick/punch etc without fighting so I'm not sure where that leaves us. Basic breakaway is fine for some situations, awareness and soft skills are also important. Self defence courseS, typically, are not worth a great deal the way a lot of them are run - ie easy answers to difficult questions.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby charles on Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:55 am

everything wrote:Suppose you are helping someone, let's say it's your senior citizen mother, enroll in some self-defense training. She isn't interested in being a "fighter", getting in a ring, or doing any sparring. Maybe she isn't fit, has arthritis, an old injury, etc. so that really doesn't make much sense.

I would want her to learn some amount of breakfall skill (to whatever extent possible) since falling is the main risk for "violent" injury for older people. Let's say she learns that and a little more stuff such as grab escapes, basic punch/kick defense, basic groundwork. But she still isn't going to be a "fighter".


My mother is a senior citizen in her 80's. She isn't fit, has arthritis and old injuries. She has poor balance, can't walk far and doesn't hear well. Talking about her developing some sort of physical "self defense" skills - such as learning to fall - is absolutely absurd.

Much of the time, she is oblivious to what is going on around her and often doesn't use the best judgement.

The most realistic "self defence" skills for her would be to learn to be more aware of her surroundings and learn to avoid negative situations, be they an icy sidewalk, or mean-lookin' dudes. That and avoiding computer and phone scams. The rest of what you suggest is so unrealistic as to be silly.

Perhaps your senior citizen mother, who isn't fit and has arthritis, is different.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Bill on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:03 am

If they live in the U.S. then a small caliber revolver is ideal.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Appledog on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:11 am

Hello! Originally I wanted to have a "cool post count" of 108, or something like that (something associated with Tai Chi) but that does not seem possible here. Therefore I am editing this post to point out that users here cannot delete their own posts. I do not understand why users have the ability to edit their posts but not to delete their posts.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Steve James on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:28 am

Imo, people miss the point. There are always people who can't fight, for whatever reason. Martial artists are the ones who are supposed to defend them, not to fight themselves. Sure, it helps when a child, weak, infirm, or elderly person can defend him or herself, but it's not always practical.

Yep, weapons are an option. Still, not for everyone, especially children or the elderly.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby windwalker on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:31 am

The best self defense that I have seen is what many Chinese seniors do everyday in the park. They practice movements called, taiji socialize and help each other with day today activities and events in their lives.

At their level of practice and interest the movments help to promote greater range of movement understanding and improving balance and coordination of moment that can be used in everyday activities.


For the op, it might be good to help your mom enroll ln a senior program that features movement practice known as taiji to facilitate her life into old age and day-to-day activities. It might also help to improve any illnesses and maybe even help her to sharpen her mind.

Best of luck, we all get old.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Steve James on Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:31 am

Oh, I do agree that learning to fall properly is definitely worthwhile. But, the elderly fall because of loss of balance. So, working on balance will pay even more benefits. Learning how to prevent falls will also be invaluable. For the elderly, the world and ordinary life can be a war zone.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Fubo on Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:05 am

Interesting question, and lots of valid points and suggestions. I think it depends on the person. Even within the elderly there will be people with varying degrees of physicality, mental alertness, mental toughness etc... an old dude who's been through war time and is mentally tough can be surprisingly capable of defending himself. Of course this is obviously not the rule with everyone. I think it's hard to prescribe any particular solution in this case as the variables can differ greatly. If we're talking about the old man or lady at a nursing home who can barely walk without a cane, perhaps the best self defense would be to drill senarios of reaching an emergency button when they feel threatened, and and education about recognizing a potentially threatening situation (cause not everyone knows, especially older folks who are not all there, until it's too late). Some people are just not capable of realisticly defending themselves, or surviving without help, which is why they're in a nursing home to begin with.

Helio Gracie made a good point about teachers when he said good teachers teach the student what the teacher knows. Great teachers teach the student what he needs to know. I think this especially applies here as with younger people in good health and decent shape can generally get away with learning a set program of physical and mental training to develop self defense skills, but there are so many variables with the elderly that it's hard to prescribe any single solution. Are we talking about an over weight woman in her mid 70s with bad knees, but a sharp mind? An 80 year old ex war veteran that's physically tough by mentally not all there? A guy in his mid 60s with a sharp mind but wheelchair bound. An 70 old lady in good shape, small, but scared of life and doesn't know how to be confident and assertive? You could teach someone how to punch and kick or grapple, and that maybe ok some some elderly (people have started grappling in their 60s and 70s), but some people might have such weak bones that they punch something and the hand breaks (it happens to even the healthy)... so I wounding want to discount or recommend anything thing until knowing more about the person.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Steve James on Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:14 am

I'd say that the best thing the elderly could do would start with simply standing on two feet, and working up to standing on one. Simple falling techniques are not difficult, but younger people don't have any idea of the fear that older people feel about falling.

It's true that it depends on the person's capabilities. But, that just means that one starts from where one is. There is definitely an advantage to having studied self-defense while young, and maintaining practice as one ages. So, 80 year-old sokes and sifus are great role models, but how many people will devote most of their lives to their practice? Yeah, we can all be like Dan Inosanto or Willie Nelson --maybe ... at 80, but life can throw in a lot of "ifs" along the way.

Anyway, getting an elderly person out of her chair will definitely extend her life. That said, teaching an elderly person to fall in a way that is least likely to cause injury is a useful skill to learn. But, it might be harder trying to get some to practice, especially if they've never fallen voluntarily before. Apart from the methods aimed at the geriatric community, there are techniques advanced by sports rehab specialists. I.e., how to fall if you're already injured.

Again, imo, all these methods are self-defense techniques :).
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby everything on Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:30 am

hmm yeah great answers! this is a hypothetical question, especially in the case of the senior citizen mom. my mom does the exercise every morning thing and she works on her balance including the golden rooster stands on one leg posture. She could use better awareness, but revolvers and breakfalls are not going to work.

But what if this person is a lot younger? Let's say it's your fit daughter who is going off to college or the world. so she has time and ability to learn whatever, but no interest. you're not going to force her to want to be a "fighter". it's just not possible. but certainly you can teach her some CPR level stuff.

I think there's probably some "intermediate" level --- like knowing CPR plus lifeguard skills --- but I don't really know what it is, necessarily. Seems like that level would be good to target for those of you who teach and want to award recognition. The path doesn't have to be linear and culminate in "top fighter" at a high "art" level. Not everyone can become a "doctor" but you will have a larger quantity of students who may want to know basics and a little bit beyond. Why not serve this level instead.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Steve James on Sat Jul 08, 2017 1:43 pm

I think there's probably some "intermediate" level --- like knowing CPR plus lifeguard skills


Knowing how to save lives is high level, imo. It's easy to teach someone how to hurt someone else.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby everything on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:39 pm

very, very good point. I was making an analogy only. CPR to ER doctor.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby Bao on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:52 pm

I don't understand what use this falling practice could have. Women especially lose a lot of the skeleton mass when they get old, making their bones very weak. Usually they don't break a bone because they fall to the ground. Mostly they step wrong, the bone breaks on the spot. And then they fall. Or they trip and the bone breaks before they hit the ground. Practice balance to not fall or trip is a good practice though, but just as much for daily life.

A few years ago, my father was threatened by a man with a knife. My father hit the guy hard on the head with his crutch. So understanding how to use everyday tools might be a good idea for a self-defence class. Having pepper-spray is fine. Some chinese carry a bottle or jar with chili powder or chili oil with them. Keys attached to a long chain is also something that could be used.
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Re: self-defense, no sparring or fighting

Postby BruceP on Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:54 pm

FINALLY! Someone (everything) asking the right questions. And getting some great answers as well.

I've alwys asked myself; "What can I give this person now, today, that they can apply as soon as they walk out the door?"

The answer(s) have always been different because everyone's Personal Combat is unique to them. Age, socio-economic and lifestyle circumstances are the first, and most important aspects of one's Personal Combat which need to be explored.

Perceptual issues are also extremely important when exploring different types and levels of conflict. I've worked up some fairly generic drills which allow one to self-assess that plane of their awareness. The drills are not conflict oriented or even aggressive in nature. They allow the trainee to create/choose the energy they will naturally express when they confront any kind of power-struggle, be it in dialogue, body-language, direct and indirect action, etc.

Awareness, as mentioned, is important. it can be explored and strengthened quite easily, though. We have drills for that which I think I talked about in the Extrasensory thread.

Balance goes with the territory when a sound physical regimen is followed with even half-hearted dedication.

Don't have a lot of time right now, but wanted to chime in on my favorite topic. Thanks for giving the paid it deserves, everything, and everyone else :)

-edit-
Almost forgot to acknowledge what windwalker wrote about people creating a network of support and offering resources within a community of folks who share the same concerns and interests.
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