For the aging preppers, self-defense becomes a carefully planned activity since they won’t always be able to use a firearm. While the martial arts and hand to hand combat are ideal tools for self-defense, the age of the practitioner plays an important role in how to train.
Aging is usually associated with declining competence in sports. Very few professional athletes compete in sports like baseball or football once past their thirties. Skill in the martial arts, however, often improves with age, and it is quite common to find practitioners in their sixties, or even seventies, who are better today than ever.
Aging preppers and former glory
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Jackie Chan, Yun-Fat Chow, and Chuck Norris, come to mind as examples of older martial artists who could handle themselves well in any self-defense situation.
What makes this so? One explanation is that being a martial artist is something intrinsic, a part of the personality, and, therefore, as long as one continues to train, one is a martial artist and will remain so till death. Skill in some sport, on the other hand, is extrinsic to the personality, and consequently, its influence on self-image is short-lived, existing primarily during one’s playing days.
An ex-college athlete may talk of former glories, “what a great quarter-back I was back then,” but he is signally aware that he is talking of the past, not the present. The martial artist, however, carries his prowess with him regardless of his age. He is always a martial artist, and what he can do now is what counts. Since his art is part of what he is, he tends to hone it and improve it over time. It is this continual refining process that compensates for the physical slowdown that accompanies aging.
All aging preppers have a story from their younger days that would make a good book, or at least an entertaining topic for parties. However, a prepper remains a prepper till the day he dies, and even though time may take a toll on the body, the mind remains sharp. All aging preppers learn to adapt and make life easier for themselves with what resources are available.
When it comes to self-defense, nothing can replace a firearm, and it’s the only guard dog some of us ever need. However, our “dogs” are not allowed to accompany us everywhere, and oftentimes, hand to hand combat is the only alternative that will make sure you will be making it back home.
The word “martial” comes from Mars, the god of war, so it is natural for a martial artist to be interested in every type of war-like skill that relates to self-defense. Because he may be called on to defend himself at any age, his training should be geared to the long haul.
Mandatory precautions for the aging preppers
Any techniques which harm the body and thus hasten the aging process should be studiously avoided. Hard falls, high kicks and heavy-bag workouts are examples of techniques to be shunned as one ages.
Those who do continue to practice as they age are a select few. Most martial artists practice their art only while they are young and drop out completely once their tournament-competition days tire over. Those who do remain usually become teachers, and teaching affords them plenty of opportunities to work out with partners or with the group.
What about those who don’t teach but still want to practice on their own?
Any training regimen they select should meet the following criteria:
- It can be practiced alone;
- It does not damage or wear-out the body;
- It offers a high level of self-defense skill throughout one’s life span.
Throwing and grappling arts like judo and jujitsu require a partner for effective training, so they don’t fit the bill. High-kicking eventually wears out knee, hip, and sacroiliac joints, so any Karate or Kung-Fu system, which is based on high-kicking, is unsuitable for life-long training for aging preppers.
The training regimen that meets all three criteria is one based on simple hand-striking techniques. Since arms weigh less than a third as much as legs, it is easy to maintain hand-striking speed over the years without wearing out elbow or shoulder joints Impact equals mass times speed squared, so when it comes to striking power, speed is the critical ingredient.
High-speed hand-strikes, then, offer the power needed for effective self-defense. As an added bonus, hands are more accurate than feet and are closer to key targets in the head and neck.
Among the most effective hand techniques are the following:
- Heel Palm
- Leopard Palm
A few finger, elbow, and knee strikes plus three low kicks are added to the six hand techniques to round out the regiment.
Important NOTE: Perform all of these strikes from a boxer’s stance.
Open the hand, curl the fingers slightly, cock the thumb, bend hand back towards the wrist. The striking surface is the meaty section at the bottom of the palm and adjacent wrist bone.
DO NOT use the side of the hand as the striking surface, as it will “give” upon impact and thus diminish the force of the blow.
To chop to the right side, the right leg is forward. If chopping to the left, the left leg leads. Hold the hand palm up near your rib cage, then swing it forward and around in a circular motion, turning the palm down just before impact.
Think of cutting right through the target and let the hand swing back-ward as far as it can go. Power comes from the circular movement of the hand, pulled by the shoulders and back and augmented by turning the waist. Move the body center towards the direction of the chop.
To chop downward, bring the hand back, tip, and down, completing a full circle. Power comes from the shoulder and back as well as the body center, which drops just as the hand hits the target. Start with wide chops to develop the muscle structure, then work short chops with elbow bent.
Targets are the larynx, vagus nerve on either side of the neck, cervical vertebrae, and brain stem at the back of the neck.
Complementary info for aging preppers: Vital Head Points To Exploit In Self Defense
Curl fingers and bend hand back toward the wrist. The striking area is the base of the palm Chamber, the hand near your shoulder, then thrust it forward, getting power from the shoulder and back. Move the body center forward simultaneously.
Be sure the strike is straight, with no “fishtailing” effect. Unlike the fist, which pivots on two axes and must, therefore, be perfectly aligned to prevent “give,” the Heel Palm allows no “give,” so all of the blow’s force is transferred to the target.
Targets are the base of nose, jaw, eye-socket and forehead between eyes.
Curl fingers and bend hand back. The striking surface is the base of the palm. This strike is like the chop, only in reverse. Power comes from the circular movement of the hand, pulled by the shoulder and back and augmented by turning the waist and moving the body center down, in conjunction with the strike.
The hand loops up, over and down, smashing right through the target. An interesting note: This is the same strike as Rocky Marciano’s looping right, which was responsible for most of his K.O.s. He normally hit the skull or jawbone and occasionally broke his thumb because, as a boxer, he hit with a clenched fist.
Targets are the bridge of the nose, temple and upper skull.
Fist strikes include the jab, cross and side-fist. Hands should be chambered close to face Snap the left jab in and out, getting power from the shoulder. Step in with the left foot simultaneously and the body center’s movement forward will greatly increase the jab’s force. All aging preppers can throw a fist, but when they do so, the fist should hit the proper target.
The right cross gets its power from torque as the waist, back, and shoulder turn into the blow. The striking surface for both jab and cross is the first two knuckles and the fist should be turned before impact.
Targets for jab and cross are the face, head, and ribs.
The side-fist uses the middle knuckle as the striking surface. Power comes from driving the hand forward like a battering ram, using force from the shoulder forward as you hit. Holding the fist sideways instead of turning it down keeps the elbow tucked-in, thus maintaining alignment of fist, wrist, and forearm with the shoulder.
This causes the pile-driver effect, which makes this strike far more powerful than the cross. It is known as the “heart-stop” punch and can easily break the sternum, its primary target.
This strike is similar to the jab or cross, except the striking surface is the second joint of the four fingers. Sole target is the throat, especially the Adam’s apple.
The striking surface is the middle knuckle, so be sure to bend the hand back on the wrist before impact to avoid breaking bones on the top of the hand. Power comes from the shoulder as the hand moves forward, up and back to its starting position, completing a full circle.
Moving the body center up simultaneously with the strike adds to the power. This strike is very fast and has twice the force of a boxer’s uppercut.
Targets are the jawbone or face if bent forward.
Finger strikes include the finger whip, eye pokes, and eagle’s claw.
The finger whip gets power from the arm, wrist and hand as the tips of the fingers are whipped forward to strike the eyeballs. Poke with the thumb, index finger, or two fingers.
When using thumb or index finger strikes, be sure to support these weapons with the other fingers to avoid injuring them. Practice fast, short straight strikes, then work circular strikes with the five fingers held like a tiger’s claw. Practice opening and closing the fingers held like a tiger’s claw. Practice opening and closing the fingers and hand to develop grabbing strength.
The eagle’s claw is formed by thumb and index finger. Strike forward like a snake and grab the back of the larynx, behind the thyroid cartilage. Squeeze the two fingers together to control and immobilize. Maintaining the tight squeeze and then pulling back rapidly can cause death. Develop squeeze power by opening and closing thumb and fingers, using great tension, at least 200 times a day.
Elbow strikes include upward elbow to ribs or jaw, forward elbow to ribs or skull, and backward elbows to face or ribs. The elbow is the body’s second most powerful natural weapon (after the knee). The forward, looping elbow strike moves forward, up, over and down, driving right through the upper skull or jawbone.
The power comes from the elbow’s circular movement, augmented by the shoulder, back, and waist turn. To gain more power, drop the body center down and in the same direction as the elbow. This blow can easily knock out the largest opponent.
Knee strikes include stationary and jumping strikes. Practice driving the knee up as fast as possible, then practice driving it up and forward. Keep the calf and thigh as close together as possible to get maximum weight behind the knee. Targets are the groin and pubic bones.
Read next: Body Targets To Exploit In Self-Defense
The “jumping” knee is an offensive tactic that has tremendous force. Jump forward on one foot and smash the opposite knee straight into the pubic bones. The entire body weight moving forward adds greatly to the power. The knee is the body’s heaviest weapon and can easily break the weak pubic bones at their juncture or rupture the bladder.
Three low kicks used to round out the training regimen are the thrust kick to hip joint, the Thai kick to the thigh bone, and the stomp/smash to knee joint. The rear leg is used in both thrust and Thai kicks. Their main purpose is to close the gap to hand-strike range. The stomp/smash is performed with the lead leg and its purpose is to immobilize.
All aging preppers cand defend themselves by following these easy to learn guidelines. It takes patience and the proper will to learn them and train yourself. Aging preppers can learn martial arts as long as they follow a strict routine and avoid injuring themselves by practicing complicated moves.
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