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Kurumaisu Jutsu:
Wheelchair Techniques

Part 3- Attacks From The Side (Continued)

By Ronald van de Sandt

Defense Technique 5: If someone tries to choke you from the side (here the right), immediately counter with a punch or crane head strike (back of wrist) to the solar plexus or groin. This will accentuate the attacker's bent-forward position. Then reach behind his head with your right hand and grab his hair (or head if he's bald or has short hair) and pull his face into your left elbow strike (this is not shown). After the elbow strike you can continue to pull your opponent forword in front of you with your right hand behind his neck (your left elbow hand can also grasp his uniform and pull) until he falls to the ground.

Defense Technique 6: This technique is taken from one of the Naihanchi katas: Assume the attack comes from the right side (reverse hands if from the left). Perform a palm up right ridge hand or spear hand to the solar plexus if you can reach, to the groin or stomach (here shown) if you can't. As he bends, reach behind his head with your right hand and grab his hair (or head if he is bald or has short hair) and pull his face into your left elbow strike. Then take your left hand and grab behind the head, pulling him toward you - simultaneously slipping your right hand to his groin. Lift up with the right hand HARD and yank down hard with the left, squeezing the testicles as you lift for extra effect.

Your opponent will probably fly right over the chair, but if not he will land right across your lap - face down, at your mercy. He may, on the way down, try to escape by stepping sideways. But if he does, he usually will get caught on the chair's arm rests or on the foot rests.

Note that this technique comes from Naihanchi Sho in particular, but really can be found in any of the versions of Naihanchi katas or Seisan. In fact, most of the techniques from the Naihanchi katas can be adapted to work from the chair, including the side strike/blocks to the sides. Just remember that because of your height while in the chair, you usually cannot reach the throat or head effectively. This means that you must usually force the opponent to bend to you first by striking or pulling targets from the solar plexus down. The old Okinawan principle of "if you want to kick someone in the face, take out his kneecaps first" really applies to a wheeler.

Defense Technique 7: As in the technique above, assume the attack comes from the right side (reverse hands if from the left). Execute a palm up ridge hand or spearhand to the throat if you can reach that target, or if you can't, strike the solar plexus or groin. As he bends reach behind his head with your left hand and grab his hair (or head if bald), and grab his chin with the palm of your right hand. Push up on the chin while pulling down on the back of the head. (This last technique is similar to one in Part II of this series illustrating a defense against an attack from the front.)

As you are doing the push-pull, pull him (with both hands) toward your left and he will be forced to lie on his back across your lap. If you do the push-pull with a snap (very quickly), you could snap the neck, so if you practice this technique with a friend, be extremely careful and practice it slowly. After the opponent has been laid across your lap, there is a myriad of follow up strikes and techniques that can be done. This technique is also from one of the Naihanchi katas.

Defense Technique 8: One of the simplest techniques against someone coming toward you is a wheeler version of a wheel kick or sweep. Simply spin the chair toward the attacker by pushing on one wheel, pulling on the other, so the foot rests slams into the attacker's ankles. The faster the spin, the harder the kick. Remember that the footrest is made of steel -- usually much harder than flesh and bone.

I've seen this technique actually sweep someone off his feet. I even once saw one wheeler who was skilled enough with his chair,(or foolhardy enough) to do this technique as he popped a wheelie with the chair. It caught the opponent at the knees very efficiently.

I do not recommend using wheelies, however, with any wheelchair self-defense technique since the balance is too delicate while on two wheels. Instead, by simply moving toward the opponent, it is possible to intimidate them by "chasing" them with your footrests, especially since it is so awkward for them to get to you without moving out of the way of the footrests. Keep your footrests aimed at their ankles while you continually "charge" them, moving as they do. After their ankle contacts the footrests once, you'll be surprised how hard they will try to stay away from them.

The Kurumaisu Jutsu described in these series of three articles are only a small sample of what a wheelchair person can do in the way of self-defense. But these are also techniques that everyone else can do as well with modification.

I would recommend studying these techniques from a regular chair, or while sitting on the floor. Then you can see how many ways you can modify them for differing situations. Perhaps these techniques will lead you to discover the many other applications found hidden in the katas of each of our styles, and will help increase your understanding of body mechanics as it did mine.

It is my experience that most people called disabled really are not disabled at all. Instead they just have to learn to modify their methods of mobility in order to accomplish the same things everyone else does. It is my sincere hope that this series of articles helps people stop looking on those called disabled or handicapped as helpless victims, but rather look on them as courageous martial artists riding on rolling weapons, and practicing a martial art form called Kurumaisu Jutsu.

Acknowledgment:

My thanks to Mr. Tim Schutte, a Dan ranked Shorin Ryu "wheeler" who I've had the great privilege to trade many wheelchair techniques with, and who provided some of the techniques described in this article. I would also like to thank Christopher Caile for his editing of this article and Sara Aoyama who helped me with the Japanese of the title and who encouraged me to write the article.


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About The Author:

Ron van de Sandt has been in the martial arts since 1972 and has studied American Kempo, Shorin Kempo and Sholin Karate - a blend of Shorinji Ryu and Shorin Ryu Karate. Mr. van de Sandt currently holds a Dan rank in Sholin Karate, and runs the Sholin Karate Club, at the Fairborn YMCA, Fairborn, Ohio.


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