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Self Defense for Old Decrepit Guys

I wouldn’t actually call myself decrepit but I have really bad arthritic knees and very poor flexibility. Other than that, at age 67, 5’9" 184 lbs I’ve been lifting since I was young, albeit with some layoffs, and I’m in very good shape for my age muscle and strength-wise and conditioning-wise also. I can do 2 hour workouts and can still bench 225 for sets of 5. Anyway, I’m thinking with boxing or maybe even something like krav maga one might be able to get by with a little less flexibility then some of the other disciplines? Yes, no or something else?

A CHL and carry a .357 revolver.

Learn to use it and practice.


Ha ha…nah, don’t like guns. Just thought some h2h might be kinda fun and interesting. I just couldn’t kick much higher than waist high :^ )

Start with bjj and see how it goes.

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Major props for still getting after it.

IMO you should consider separating your priorities. You can absolutely train a variety of martial arts and get an awful lot out of it.

I’m probably coming up on my combative downswing at age 40, which is part of why bouncing isn’t as as much fun as it once was. That and the global pandemic, of course.

Reliability whooping ass against young and fit 20 somethings is certainly possible in theory. Give me an able bodied 40 year mat veteran and I’m sure he’d be a handful into his 60s.

If you find yourself in your sixties without any martial arts background wondering how you might be able to protect yourself, follow the advice you got in the first reply. Be real.

If these are your real priorities, I recommend boxing training (with little to no live sparring) or jiu-jitsu in the gi if you’re not averse to wrestling.

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If it’s just for fun and light on the joints, I’d do Aikido. It’s usefulness is really pretty dubious, but there’s bound to be a handful of things you can get from it.


My BJJ instructor has an Aikido black belt (or whatever the equivalent is). According to him, Aikido is mostly useless aside from getting good at falling until he learned BJJ, where Aikido stuff started showing up that he could do against a resisting opponent.

In my experience sparring with him this takes the shape of unexpected wrist and arm locks I wasn’t expecting and that other BJJ guys don’t try. On the feet this doesn’t get him the submission, but it puts me into a spot where I have to respect the lock threat, which means I need to hit the ground somehow or give him my back.

I know he’s doing Aikido shit when he wispers “Nikyo” or some other Japanese word when he’s got me in a crappy spot.

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Yeah, it seems like something supplemental. I’ve heard “gimmick” used as well. Could probably develop some kinesthetic awareness.

Crash course in some kinda self defense program would be adequate I think

Have you pondered on or studied the mental side? (Situational awareness, when you go and where you go)
You can lower the chance of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and become less of a potential victim. How you walk, how you talk, where you park, etc
I’m 54 and still a good sized guy (6’3", 310lb or so) with a martial arts background, but after the opiod crisis hit, I won’t go anywhere unarmed.


I am wondering if you could give a reiteration of what types of walking and talking send which message.

If I wear twill slacks and a golf shirt, and seem like a person who doesn’t know what to do with a physical person, is that what you mean?

If I dress like someone who maybe is a material handler at work, had a greater chance of having a contact sports background and can muster a mean streak when needed, is this type less of a target?

I don’t think how you dress has anything to do with it.

I’ve lived/worked in rough areas in NYC, DC, and Philly wearing golf shirts, dress pants, and weighing 130-150lbs and never had any issues. My only close call was somebody lunging in my direction to make me flinch, and kept walking when I didn’t. Although that could have ended badly for me if it were for real. My friend at this time told me I never had issues because I had dark stubble and a bump on the bridge of my nose made it look like I knew how to fight.

When I was younger, my martial arts teacher taught us about non-confrontational eye contact. Just enough so that if they’re up to no good, they know you could pull them out of a line up or give an accurate description to the police. Some nervous people would look down or avoid looking at them. But also, not staring so hard that it provokes them.

More that when you walk and talk, you make eye contact with those around you so they are aware that you see them. Don’t walk staring at the cell phone, etc. Everyone has watched animal shows where even the most badass predator picks the easiest prey. It increases there chance of winning and lessens their chance of injury. Same thing with thugs. Same thing with rapists.
Same concept as exterior lights. 10 houses in a row, the thief will pick the one he can get into and out of without being caught.
The next time you get a chance, people watch in a busy parking lot. 90% of the people have no idea who or what is around them. You should make a visual scan as you pull in and park at the safest place, not necessarily the closest.

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Like Arnold! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzcdPA6qYAU

A biker friend of mine used to only carry a pistol when he went to the bar. I said " If you think your going to need a gun there, why are you going?"

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For Dragon1952,
i’m not so smart so i am confused by your question. When i saw your post title i thought you were interested in self-defense. But from what you have actual written it sounds like you would like to try a combat sport for fun. Two VERY VERY different things. I use to box and now i train amateur kids to help get them off the street. I’m 60 and still love to put on the headgear and spar with them. BUT, when i leave the gym, which ain’t exactly in the nicest part of town, i have a .380 in an ankle holster and a G30 (45 caliber Glock) in a waistband holster. Who am i kidding, i’m 5’11" 170 lbs. But my G30, even if i miss your chest from adrenaline, and clip your arm instead, it will take that arm clean off. Oh yeah, and Jewbacca is right “Learn to use it”. Just because you own a guitar don’t make you a musican. Thankfully i’ve only had to pull it twice and the folks at the wrong end were smart enough to go the other way before the trigger was pulled. I’d take ALL of bighdx’s advice to heart as well. But hey, if your just interested in sport, i love boxing and Muay Thai. Weights are OK, but when you get tired what do you do? You just put them down. In the ring when you get tired…you get hit in the face. Makes things a lot more…lively. Glock, it’s my MasterCard…don’t leave home without it.


Yeah, probably more for sport/fun but I figured I could also pick up a few tricks. I live in a relatively safe city and in one of the safest, more isolated areas but you do hear about shit happening in the neighborhoods down below us, like shady people knocking on doors at night, checking/breaking into cars, stealing packages, etc. I’m already in a lot better shape than I look, meaning gray hair and old-ish looking, but fairly buff and strong so if I could add a few tricks to that it could be an advantage esp. if I was dismissed as not being much of a threat (surprise factor).
Not really worried about getting mugged or anything like that would be pretty remote I think.

I think as long as you’re being real about your training priorities you will get the most out of it, no matter what your training priorities are.

With martial arts I think it helps to have realistic expectations going in. Hand-to-hand martial arts are great exercise, tons of fun and yes, you will become more capable. You won’t know if you’re more capable than the guy who wants to start trouble until you guys cross paths, but you can still train and improve.

For men and women of any age and any size, studying ranged weapon martial arts will be a MUCH faster path to gaining real abilities do defend one’s self.

That’s my $0.02 anyway.

I pratice combat training / Krav, what is your goal? Beat somebody or for lifestyle?