One topic that I have been thinking about lately is the fact that different people may face different threats during their life and should train accordingly. I have been thinking about this due to the fact that I have been teaching different groups of people lately, ranging from 4 to 5 year old children, to adults to senior citizens. One would not expect a pedophile to use MMA type techniques on young, vulnerable children. On the other hand, adults up to the 40’s/50’s should think about preparing for someone who may want to use MMA techniques or knife attacks. Due to the fact that senior citizens are more likely to face property crimes than others (at least according to the latest statistics), they have a different set of needs/threats to prepare for.
Just as the medical needs of person changes during the course of a lifetime, so too does their self defense needs, at least in terms of physical threats. What should never change over the course of a lifetime is the overriding need for environmental and situational awareness coupled with common sense and good judgment.
To expect a 4 to 5 year child to be able to stand toe to toe with an adult and prevail is sheer fantasy and a waste of time. Better to focus on stranger danger, conflict avoidance, escape techniques and awareness until they attain the physical maturity to hurt someone in self defense situations.
Likewise, I believe that it’s probably foolhardy (as an extreme example) to try to turn a senior citizen into an Olympic style Tae Kwon Do kicker. Again, a waste of time. However, barring any major physical disabilities, seniors can train in and use a wide variety of techniques to defend themselves. Again, conflict avoidance, environmental and situational awareness, common sense and good judgment is of paramount importance.
A good instructor should take this factor into account when teaching their students. Likewise, students should assess the most likely threat and accordingly focus on training to meet those potential threat scenarios.