I would suggest that you expand & continue your search for a MA that fits you. You will have to make some compromises with what the local area has to offer in terms of MA schools. In my experience, most schools/instructors should be willing to work with your physical limitations & help you find a way to work with it. After all, we’re all human.
Repetition is part of any MA format as it builds muscle strength & memory.
Self defense is a very stressful situation that encompasses a very broad spectrum. The muscle memory learned through repetitive movement comes into play when your brain is still trying to cope with the event.
Every martial system requires a whole lot of repetition in the training. There is nothing about wing chun that would be any different, and my own experience with wing chun would make me caution you against it simply because you have stated a couple times that you are concerned about your arthritis. There are a lot of small wrist and finger movements, and while every school will be somewhat different, where I had trained it we did a lot of those movements with some tension. I imagine that could seriously aggravate your arthritis.
A good teacher of any system ought to be able to modify the training to accommodate (within reason) any age or health or arthritis issues. You simply need to find a good instructor who is willing to work with you on what is possible and reasonable.
Just a couple of points.Thank You Deaf Dud. I have a little arthritis, it is osteoarthritis and not disabling. Being older and having a little arthritis is something that does need to be considered, but is not at the level of a disability. I still lift, walk, do steps. Was lucky enough to be born with a high tho normal level of flexibility, which I still have. I simply do less, but still aim to a good level of fitness for where I am at. I simply wish to feel more confidence in my ability to defend myself and that is why I am doing this. My first self-defense move will be to run. As I have said, I am rural and karate is the only thing here. I can't change that. I have posted in the thread if anyone teaches in the area, please let me know. Basically, I wish to learn to fight in self defense, if there is no other choice. I would like to get into the ways of doing that with the least amt. of prelim. I understand that learning to fight takes preparation. I disagree with statements that all styles have the same amount of preparation, respectfully. Thanks for everybody's input.