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
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
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
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.
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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