Krav Maga is a method of self-defense that has become a stock feature of many movie fight scenes. But, it looks highly physical, and as we age, we tend to lose strength and mobility. So, it’s natural to wonder whether seniors can do Krav Maga, or is it perhaps beyond the physical limitations brought on by age.
Seniors can do Krav Maga. It doesn’t depend on your physical strength, speed, flexibility, or size. Also, a large part of Krav Maga is mental preparation and awareness. These elements of the method enable you to anticipate and avoid danger.
So, you may feel old and vulnerable, and think that perhaps you’re too far gone to do anything about it. But, you don’t need to feel that way. If you’re interested to learn more about the reasons seniors can do Krav Maga, just take a look at the information we’ve set out below.
What Is Krav Maga?
Let’s start by explaining a bit about Krav Maga. It translates from Hebrew into “contact combat,” and originated in 1930s Czechoslovakia.
In its early form, it was used by young Jews for self-defense in street fights with fascist attackers.
Subsequently, the Israeli army adopted and developed it. Soon, it became a brutal military combat and survival technique. That’s how it’s often depicted in movies.
Despite drawing on elements of combative sports like boxing, wrestling, and martial arts, it’s never been a sport. Any serious practitioner will wince if you call it that. There’s no competition involved, and it’s not entertainment.
Throughout, its purpose was to be an efficient means to neutralize an attacker and escape from harm’s way.
It achieves this by using natural movements and every-day objects to defend yourself. But alongside this, it includes mental preparation and awareness.
So, you won’t need to perform precise and intricate moves set out in some manual. In contrast to typical martial arts where form, fairness, and codes of honor are fundamental, there are no rules in Krav Maga.
As explained in this video, it’s a direct, no-nonsense method of defense and survival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rljAYLOxXE
Why Is Krav Maga Suitable for Seniors?
It’s easy to assume from what you see in the movies that Krav Maga is all about fighting, and brute force.
Of course, Krav Maga does have a physical side. But, there’s a mental side to it as well, and it’s something that all seniors can learn.
So, let’s look at both the mental and physical aspects in more detail.
Krav Maga Teaches You Awareness of Your Surroundings
Learning awareness of your surroundings is a crucial element of Krav Maga, so let’s look at what this means.
Taking Note of What’s Happening Around You
It’s through awareness of what’s going on around you that you can spot signs of trouble. Then, you’re in a position to anticipate, avoid, or diffuse it.
This is something that anyone, no matter their age, can do.
So, Krav Maga teaches you to scan your environment and be aware of who’s around you. Check whether anyone looks out of place or is behaving abnormally. If you’re going into an enclosed environment, you’ll learn to identify your nearest escape routes.
Using those methods, you’ll be able to assess any potential threats and be ready to respond to them.
For example, you could decide on not entering the environment at all. Or, you may do so, but you’d be more vigilant. You might also position yourself as close as possible to one of the identified exit routes. That way, you can get out of harm’s way if trouble were to flare up.
Importantly for seniors, the emphasis of Krav Maga is on staying away from trouble.
As a senior, your advantage over youngsters is that you have life experiences. These can help alert you to the possibility that something isn’t right.
The problem is, your experience may tell you something’s amiss, but you may not always act on it. One focus of Krav Maga is to teach you to trust your gut and react accordingly.
Being Aware of Objects You Might Use to Defend Yourself
The awareness that Krav Maga teaches you will also help if you weren’t able to avoid a violent conflict.
Because awareness includes taking note of the every-day objects in your surroundings, then you can think about how to use whatever is available as a weapon to defend yourself.
This video gives some great examples of what we’re talking about here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEIeDXxMPNE
These are all things you can learn and use, no matter what your age.
Krav Maga Maximizes the Use of Your Physical Capabilities
Unfortunately, there may be times when an attack on you is inevitable. But, with Krav Maga, you learn how to use your body’s natural movements to defend yourself.
Krav Maga Makes Use of the Way Your Body Moves
The great thing is, Krav Maga is adaptable. As you age, the reality is that you may be less mobile, less flexible, slower, and weaker.
While all those things may inhibit or prevent you from doing other things, Krav Maga isn’t one of them.
Because the movements you’ll work on are natural, you don’t have to be super-flexible or even strong, to do them. Krav Maga teaches techniques to get you out of headlocks or grasps that don’t require strength.
This is the advantage of Krav Maga and what makes it suitable for seniors.
And, don’t underestimate the impact of the element of surprise. The last thing someone who attacks a senior will expect is for the intended victim to fight back. Many would-be attackers will expect easy pickings. If you meet them with effective resistance, they’re not likely to hang around for long.
Krav Maga Makes Defense Instinctive and Improves Fitness
As discussed, Krav Maga uses natural movements, but you still need to practice and hone them. The consequent repetition that’s involved will help in two ways.
First, the movements will become instinctive, almost reflexive. You won’t even have to think about them when confronted by danger. You’ll just know what to do and have the confidence to do it.
Second, the practice will build your strength and stamina, leaving you feeling fitter. This is a side effect of the training you’ll put in, rather than a goal in itself. But, it’s another confidence builder.
Krav Maga Teaches You How to Target Your Actions
This goes hand-in-hand with maximizing your body’s physical response capabilities.
Targeting your actions means knowing where to strike your attacker to immobilize them. The aim of Krav Maga is to achieve the greatest effect with the least effort. And that makes it perfect for seniors.
As the saying goes, the best form of defense is attack. And it doesn’t matter what form that defense takes.
That’s why, in Krav Maga, there are no illegal strikes. No part of your attacker’s body is off-limits. In fact, Krav Maga teaches you to strike at the most sensitive parts of your attacker’s body. Yes, that includes hitting below the belt. Remember, it’s survival. It doesn’t need to be pretty.
So, in your senior years, you may lack strength or mobility, but that’s where Krav Maga can help because one well-directed blow may be all that it takes to defend yourself. So, it won’t matter that your attacker is younger, fitter, stronger, or more agile.
Hopefully, you can see why seniors can do Krav Maga.
So much of Krav Maga is mental preparation and awareness. These are things that are easy for seniors to practice and implement.
On the physical side, Krav Maga adapts to your abilities as a senior. So, it works on physical responses within your capabilities.
Its focus on effective and efficient action is well-suited to seniors, as it will enable you to achieve the greatest impact for the least effort. That sounds good at any age.
- Art of Manliness: A Primer on Krav Maga: The Combative System of the Israeli Defense Forces
- Martial Arts Action Movies: 5 Best Films With Krav Maga
- Wikipedia: Krav Maga
- Krav Maga Academy: The Krav Maga Philosophy
- Youtube: Self Defense Academy Teaches Senior Citizens How to Use Krav Maga
- Krav Maga Worldwide: 7 Ways to Improve Your Situational Awareness
- Ft.com: Learning to Fight in my Fifties: Adrenalin and the Art of Self-Defence
- Youtube: Self Defense With Every-day Items
- Your Krav Maga Expert: Krav Maga and Aging