NEW YORK (CBS 2) — When it comes to personal safety, senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable segments of the population. Their age has made them slower, weaker, and an easy target for crime.
However, there are simple self-defense techniques that can help make the difference between becoming a crime statistic or a survivor, reports CBS 2′s Chris Wragge.
Brutal crimes against the elderly are unthinkable, but are also a cruel reality.
Now, though, many seniors are taking matters into their own hands. Using common items including canes and newspapers, and even trying out basic fighting techniques, they’re learning how to defend themselves – and even defeat a potential attacker.
“I’ve had some incidents happen recently that have given me some alarm,” 65-year-old Colin Lively said.
“They see white hair, and they don’t know what condition you’re in or what age you are,” said 84-year-old Lillian Engel.
“I try to give them what I feel would be the most important things for them to learn,” Dan Anderson, of the Anderson Martial Arts Academy, said.
They’re learning techniques like transforming a cane into a weapon to fend off an attacker.
“You’re looking for one that’s a little easier, with a handle like this,” Anderson said.
The seniors are even being taught how to turn a rolled up newspaper or magazine into a viable self-defense tool.
“I’m impressed with how much damage one can do with a rolled up New York Times, frankly,” Anthony Hayden said.
Physical moves are taught to be directed at the face, designed to do the most damage without throwing a senior off-balance.
“I think that is something that was easy to do, especially the way to take the thumbs across the eyes,” Lively said.
Other skills include using a pen for protection and even confidence-building, while common sense precautions are stressed throughout.
“However fit you think you are, there’s always someone with a gun or a knife,” Hayden said.
Being armed with a makeshift weapon and some basic self-defense, however, improves the odds of fighting their way out of a dire situation.
“You almost have to fight back – you’re being attacked, and no one there is going to help you but yourself,” Anderson said.
Anderson stresses that even the act of fighting back against an attacker can tip the odds in a senior’s favor, because it’s never expected.
Anderson Martial Arts Academy offers free self-defense classes several times each month. For more information, click here.