I have had such training. Trust me, it lasts. Training is repeated over and over so it goes into 'muscle memory', so when your life if threatened, you don't even have to consciously think about it...you just do it.
The gangster, seemed to disagree with his boss on the phone, arguing that attending to his wife's funeral was a solid excuse. This would cause a sense of empathy from the gangster, and despite being a tough guy, he is not a robot, but human. Empathy causes hesitation. Hesitation in combat is a bad thing.
We don't know how the conflict went down...You seem to envision that the gangster got off the phone drew his gun and shot a 90 year old man in broad daylight like 'The Terminator'. More likely is that they tried to knock him unconscious to be carried to a nearby van or car. The old man played possum and quickly dispatched the two as they approached to pick him up.
I also think it is highly likely that he did have a gun, he supported the VFW, most people would not give to 25K the VFW if they were not proud vets. Most military vets keep their guns throughout their lifetime. I envision him having an old Colt automatic in the small of his back,the gangsters cursory search missed it.
Perhaps with the release of the DVD that scene will be added in, and a plausible combat scenario would be shown to your satisfaction.
I did martial arts for 20 years. I'm sixty now. Yeah, I remember most of the moves, but I don't move anywhere as fast or hit as hard as I did when I was younger.
I cannot imagine in another three freaking decades being able to take out someone 60 years younger than me, even if I surprised them.
You must know some tough AF SENIOR senior citizens.
I just re-watched the scene. He comes out of the washroom, the thugs grab push him against the wall face first and frisk him back and front. No hidden guns.
The cops hear the convo on the phone as they are on the way. Knowing he's about to be executed, they call in a helicopter and lock on to the phone's GPS co-ords. Scene cuts back to Clint and he's already bloody and in the truck on the road, nowhere near the gas station. So whatever happened, happened within the space of perhaps 10 or 15 minutes.
As I said... I can't say you're wrong. Literally every scene to this point though made it clear that he was pretty frail and slow-moving.
On the other hand, he DID have not one but two threesomes so maybe Earl was a lot more spry than I gave him credit for... Plus that scene where he uses his Ben Gay to throw off the drug sniffing dog shows that he was pretty quick thinking.
I'm still gonna chalk it up to a shaky plot point... ;)
I'm with you on that.