Training for Senior Citizens

All of the training videos I’ve viewed lean heavily on self defense for younger people (usually male) that have no problem with mobility or body positions they can get in to best defend themselves or others. Is there anything available for older people (I am 72 and have bad knees and arthritis) that have some mobility problems and/or cannot run like a younger person or get down for cover as easily as a younger, more athletic person? Surely, there are things one can do to compensate for these things, or are we destined to just be defenseless?


@John171 you bring up a valid point. Being slightly less spry then when I was 25 years ago, some of the training is not geared to our limitations I guess because there are not instructors who have similar mobility issues. Now @Zee could have some input for us along this idea of getting trained.


Thanks for the tag @Joe, hi @John171!
Yep it’s a different problem to solve with old knees and a back that doesn’t want to cooperate.

First off… no, you are not defenseless, most definitely not. One tool you’ve got is your mind, and it’s got a lot more experience than the young bucks :grin: … we have to adapt to the changes in our physical capabilities but that shifts the options we choose. Some things go off the table, like outrunning the bad guy. But other things come on, like element of surprise… I look like someone’s grandma, and I’m NOT the picture of “likely to be armed”. There are times I open carry instead of concealed … pretty sure that someone’s grandma, with an open carry 1911 is going to put a wrench in most bad guys OODA loop. :laughing:

Mostly I think its about recognizing the difference in our capabilities and adjusting our training to better use what we have.

New strategies are sometimes called for. Turn and run might not work. But maybe I can be more alert about a bigger threat bubble, since I need more escape time. If i have to fight, since i can’t run, maybe i need to spend more time considering scenarios in the places I usually go… where is my exit, where is cover, where is concealment. If there were a bad guy robbing the clerk, and escape is out, where’s the best place to defend from? Maybe I change my shopping time to when bad guys are less likely to be out.

Anyway, tell me a bit about your challenges and let’s talk :grin:


@Zee. That’s right Zee, that’s exactly how I out maneuvered that young LK gang thug and got the drop on him. By element of surprise and Army training, cool headed and opportunity


I think the best plan is to train with the tools you have. I’m not going to outrun a lot of folks today but I’ve got other traits and skills to avoid an encounter and to defend myself. I am more aware situationally and personally and vigilant in keeping myself out of situations.


Thank you for the info… I am disabled and this helped me see a different picture for myself…


@Luci you’re most welcome :blush:
This is a great community to bring your particular challenges to… there are always things we can do better or differently.

My boss mentioned he saw some video on self defense using a cane… was quite impressed with its effectiveness. (Something new to learn!)

Whatever your circumstances, there’s a way to make the most of it, we just have to ask the questions… what have I got to work with? What can I do better? How can I adapt xx technique to work in my situation? What can I do instead?


A cane is a big stick! If I have a big stick I’ll use a big stick. Sort of like my ASP baton but a little longer.


Thanks for all of the quick responses to my question! My biggest challenges are that I can’t get down low or on my knees very well or very quickly. Once down, I need something to grab to help myself up. Also, I don’t move nearly as fast as I could 15 or 20 years ago, so running for cover or to get away is impossible. Some of your suggestions, especially about being aware of your surroundings and more observant, is definitely a must. I think the main thing is to use my head and be always thinking “what if?”, so I can stay ahead of any danger. It is more of a mind set I guess, because it is easy to get totally complacent. I do not go places that are dangerous very often and our quiet town of 15,000 people is pretty tame. Although, with the increasing frequency of robberies and assaults in nearby big cities, it has spilled over into my town too. We are on a major interstate, so there have been increasing instances of people stopping and making quick robberies of convenience stores and more drug activity. My wife and I do travel across country occasionally too, so I should be training to handle different situations should one come up. It would be great, though, if some training videos could be made with some older instructors that do face many of the challenges that us older, less mobile people have. I’m sure there are a lot of people like me that would welcome the training.


I think that’s a GREAT idea… @dawn? Can you get the team to look at this?

Yes exactly… you have the experience to evaluate things better and to see potential risk. Like everyone, we have to develop the habit of using it.

Yep, and include her in that planning.

What if you’ve got the RV at the gas pump and someone comes to rob you at gun point? Shes in the RV, what should she do? What if shes in the store? What if shes in the store and the robber goes to rob the cashier while you’re still at the pump? Having a plan doesn’t mean the robber will do exactly what you expect, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with and respond to what you have to if you’ve talked these things through in advance.

If you can’t run, then avoiding, hiding, getting to cover, complying, or fighting are a larger part of your option list… think about how to do those better. Practice your clandestine draw. Consider how you carry, is it serving you best? Practice dropping whatever is in your hands so you have them free for balance and assistance… this is harder than you think because it is counter to our startle grip reflex.

Getting down and up again is a challenge for me as well… I can do it, but it hurts, and I need at least one free arm to get off the ground. Its possible that I get off the ground with leg power only, but not in every circumstance. Ok, so you need to know what your parameters are… what IS possible? (you’ll have some adrenaline to help) What is not possible? What alternatives do you have? Maybe you dont need a cane, but perhaps having a walking stick is a good plan anyway so you could use it to help get up… and it is a weapon nobody is going to tell you not to bring into their store. Learn to use it as such.

Think through what you can do with what you’ve got… its probably a lot more than you realize. Then practice.

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please share if you find that video or resource. I’m thinking of getting a walking stick or hiking staff and I’d love to be able to use it for more than walking :slight_smile:


Ok, now I’m gonna go look for it :slight_smile:


@Mark100 here you go:


Welcome to the group!


We are definitely aware of the need - and I know there are some projects in the works. Great resource for the cane defense.

I know my tae kwon do school taught cane defense and short stick/long stick defense as well. That might be worth looking into, @John171.


@Dawn @Zee Interesting a while ago maybe 3-4 years (time flies when you’re retired) it really does, not just my normal self kidding around. There was a Cane Gun on Pawn Stars it was a 12 gauge single shot. I just now googled it and they are still made in the country of Belgium and are for sale the part I don’t know is who distributes this item. As to those who may need a cane for a little steadiness.

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If you find a link for that, share it? Thanks @Robert8

There’s a cane stun gun on!

And here’s some of the history of cane guns for you:

Yes ma’am coming right up

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I can not find any link but if you go to Wikipedia and type in cane guns it drops you in on a picture of the product then a few details of the cane/firearm. (Maybe Hubby would like one because he has an interest in old antique guns and cars right?

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Hello all. I found this forum during a search for resources to assist elderly and disabled individuals with their specific self-defense needs. I’ve been in the health care industry, with a specialty in assisted living for more than 20 yrs. I am a partially disabled Marine veteren who understands the special needs and requirements of these valued members of our society.

My search for information began when I became frustrated with the lack of accomodations at my own fathers home range. He is a paraplegic. A former LEO, AF vet, and retired civil servant. He is forced to practice defensive shooting in a manner which is definitely NOT condusive to the manner in which any self-defense situation would ever present itself. “Practice how you fight” is an age old idiom that many people simply do not have access to training, or facilities with which to gain the necessary practice.

Many ranges across the country have special facilities available which meet the criteria necessary, but they have in common the THOUSANDS of dollar investment necessary to gain access to those special training area’s. You all know them. Set aside for special classes or LEO training. In order to gain access you have to pay big bucks. Most elderly or disabled persons live on a fixed income…frequently at or below poverty level. Gaining access to the necessary facilities is next to impossible.

Beyond my own Dads interest, I now have in my heart a burdon to help others in this issue. I would like to contribute my own time to assist with personalized, one-on-one training for individuals with special needs. I can approach local ranges one at a time…but the lack of accreditation of any kind will not garner me success without jumping through hoops at each individual business. I’ve been an RO before. I could become an RO at any range given time, but what good is that?

Individuals with disabilities all have personalized needs. Someone in a wheelchair cannot shoot from a standing rest, or change the orientation of their body while manipulating a firearm during a malfunction drill. Someone lacking physical strength CAN find a firearm which they can use, but the necessary training breaks all the rules of a standard range…

Any ideas are welcome. These members of our society deserve more consideration than this.