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Self defense from a wheelchair

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    Self defense from a wheelchair

    I'd like to know if anyone is familiar with self defense training from a wheelchair?

    Has anyone worked with an individual that was in a wheelchair?

    I have recently been relagated to life with a wheelchair. I still have some good leg functions, though I have lost the use of my feet. I have a condition called foot-drop. I am a martial artist from years back, and have an excellent base knowledge of the fighting arts. I also admire and respect, the philosophies of the late, but great, Bruce Lee.

    I am interested in developing a self defense method for people in a wheelchair or a walker, or a cane. I would very much be interested in anyone's ideas on how you would protect yourself if you were in a wheelchair with limited body control.

    Are we talking weapons only? Or something else?

    Please, all comments are welcome.

    :car10: This was the only cool icon I could find. I was hoping to find a guy in a wheelchair flipping the bird. That would be cool.

    If you are in a wheelchair, it will be hard to generate power with punches and kicks. If an attacker dumped you, do you think that you could wrestle if you had to? It all depends on how much control you have and what you can do.

    However I think the best defense would be handgun training and a conceal carry permit. That would be the most effective training you could do. If you are more of a pacifist then there are some good, but expensive, tasers on the market.
    Last edited by Olorin; 5/01/2006 7:47pm, .


      I'm no expert on weapons, but I second Olorin's proposal.


        In the '80s I used to have a self defense student who was paralyzed from his mid-abdomen down, and we developed a pretty good system designed for his needs and abilities. His lifestyle was such that he really needed some form of self defense. The defensive techniques were drawn mostly from boxing and wrestling, with some nasty tricks pulled in from ko-ryu jujitsu.

        His major advantages were that sitting in the wheelchair he had a very low center of gravity, and he had exceptionally strong hands and arms from the exercise of wheeling himself around all the time. The biggest disadvantage was that although he was strong in the upper body, he could not perform any techniques that required him to lean forward beyond a certain point, as his lower adbomen had no strength and he would collapse.

        It was difficult for him to initiate attacks other than lunging the foot-rest of the chair into the attacker's shins, so the system was based on counter-attacks against grabs and strikes from the front, side and rear. His position in the chair gave him a strategic advantage in that many standard "attacks" (leg dives, many kicks and throws, etc.) just could not be applied against him - the chair itself acted as a shield and limited the attacker's options. Also, the attacker almost always had to lean forwards and down to be able to reach him with either a grab or a strike.

        We developed a forearm shielding technique based on a boxing cover, and a number of specific hold-breaking techniques, transitioning in to tie-up skills similar to freestyle wrestling. As there was no point in him "trading punches" with an attacker, the main tactic was to defend, control the attacker's balance with a head/neck twist, and then do enough damage that the attacker was no longer a threat. Because quick escape wasn't an option for him, the damage moves were extreme.

        We never got into weapons but I know that many people in wheelchairs do carry various "implements" at times.

        I'd be very happy to help with your project - shoot me a PM if you're interested.
        Last edited by DdlR; 5/01/2006 8:10pm, .
        Check out the Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.

        Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)



          Here's a couple of old threads I remembered reading.
          You're probably going to get a lot of similar advice, so I figured i'd save everyone some time....

          Hope it all works out for you.
          My humble advice: Carry a cleaver to remove the testicles of any asshole that decides to fuck with you.


            Boom, headshot.

            Number of bottles of beer downed by me and my girlfriend within a half hour while playing the Channel 7 "how many times will they say 'snow' game" during the "Blizzard of '06": 3.5 each.


              weapons are great, but there is definately "something else" you can work with. For one thing, any attacker is not likely to expect much so you have the advantage of suprise.

              I have never trained with anybody in a wheel chair but I have spent a lot of time with people who depend on wheelchairs and I always have something to say.

              a couple suggestions:

              1. be honest with yourself and explore the strengths and weaknesses of what you have.
              1a. the chair. there are all kinds of corners, sharp spots, and hard edges you can take advantage of. I think it would be relatively easy to use the chair to break fingers, hands, and cause suprising and distressing pain.
              1b. whatever positions you naturally find yourself in when you are not in the chair.
              2. find somebody who will work honestly with you in this exploration
              3. have fun with knives and other suprising & wicked close quarter implements
              4. smile when under threat or inflicting damage. this causes FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) in an opponent. Seriously, because of your circumstances you must be mentally tougher than your attacker. Use everything to your advantage starting with this fact.

              not to re-state the obvious, but if your interest is purely in self defense you can't beat a gun and a knife. However, it sounds to me like you want a richer physical and mental challenge than that offers. Find somebody who will work honestly with you, explore and have fun.

              pm-ing DdlR sounds like a good start.

              respect and best wishes to you.
              Last edited by EricH; 5/02/2006 12:39am, .


                There was a kid who came to my wrestling practices at school who had no legs. So I think this will help you alot. He had no legs but was an amputee not paralyzed. Anyway he was realy good and was able to controll guys and pin.

                Anyways I would say grappling is your only option. Any striking art is pointless as your base because you cant move much. Also think what would happen if you were thrown/fell out of ur chair. BJJ does not stress takedowns which you dont need. Learn movements that let you drag an oponent down or climb him. I know it seems wierd but the kid I mentioned did that. Learn to apply subs from side mount and underneath an opponnent. I dont know how good a mount or gaurd will do you considering you have limited leg movement. Ill try and think of other things this kid did though to.
                Port Jefferson Martial Arts - My Gym
                Port Jefferson Martial Arts - My Blog


                  I recomend the Glock .40 sub-compact


                    In my opinion the most important thing you can learn is how to breakfall. That was my suggestion when we had a young man in a wheelchair join our class. Chances of you getting into a fight? Not that high most likley. Chances of you getting knocked out of your wheelchair? It is likley going to happen. Knowing how to breakfall / or roll could save your life.
                    "a martial art that has no rules is nothing but violence" - Kenji Tomiki


                      Thanks for all the great advice. I know I have limitations and have to learn how to work within them. But as Bruce said, "Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation."


                        I wouldn't rule out striking. You can learn to strike with suprising effectiveness from a chair and from the ground by using "whiplike" motions. Experiment!


                          As long as you don't have one of those sissy-girl electric wheelchairs then you're gonna have arm strength like a gorilla. This means it's grappling time! BJJ sounds like an obvious choice, as judo has a bit too much in the way of standing throws, etc.

                          But really, defending yourself with anything but a gun/tazer when you're in a wheelchair is going to be a desperate measure.

                          Retractable blades at the front and sides of the wheelchair. Or what would be even cooler is if you could electrify the frame at the push of a button. Obviously you'd be insulated. Is this possible?
                          Mr Politically Correct GIJoe6186:
                          Fat people disgust me in every way imaginable. I was at Freindly's with my girl tonight and saw a bunch of fat fuckers. I felt sorry for the pavement they were killing and the people who had to see them. .


                            When I was faced with the proposition of a liftime of limited mobility and cane usage, I immediately went out and started refining my handgun technique and attended a CC class.
                            I think it was two ninjas taped together, to make one GIANT NINJA!!!!


                              Like I said before, the guy was an amputee and still wrestled and was pretty freakin good. BJJ with a focus on the sidemount, north south and back should be your main focus( I would think). It wuldnt be a desperate measure as Matsufubu said. Yea a disadvantage but if you grapple with other guys who have no limitations youll get your ass handed to you alot. Then over time youll develop your own game and be able to defend and maybe catch a few subs. After a few months get a guy who has no training and im sure you could submit him.

                              Also in the wheel chair I think youd be most vulnerable. You cant move and you cant get away. Fucking when a guy comes close lush urself outa the chair onto him and grag him down and then submit. You ever try walking like a seal? Get on the floor and use your hands like legs to drag urself. The amputee wrestler did just that. Then like I said draged u down and pinned/submit.
                              Port Jefferson Martial Arts - My Gym
                              Port Jefferson Martial Arts - My Blog



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