View Full Version : wheelchairs

7th May 2002, 21:02
How would you teach a student who wished to learn as much martial arts as they could absorb if they were confined to a wheelchair.

For the sake of arguement, let us say that this person is in excellent shape from the waist up, but lacks the ability to use their legs.

I personally would teach them what I can, but also refer them to a good FMA school or a handgun instructor if they were mostly interested in self defense.

Has anyone ever been in this sort of situation?

7th May 2002, 23:52
I attended a Tournament in Vegas (99' I think) where there was a category set aside just for folks in wheel chairs. I was very impressed. some of these guys I wouldn't want to mess with. They were able to use their wheel chair as a weapon in some cases. I also saw self defense performed by someone with crutches. Again in some cases the crutches were an aid to the techniques.

Ron Rompen
8th May 2002, 00:11
I agree completely with Onmitsu. The first tournament I ever attended (about 30 yrs ago) had as a featured attraction a double leg amputee (Vietnam vet) who was a black belt (can't recall what his dan ranking or style was, unfortunately).

His demonstration of physical strength in his arms, wrists and trunk was phenomenal, and his self-defense applications were, to say the very least, terrifying. (I should know, I was voloun-told to be uke).

Short version: From about 10 ft away, he slapped down on the arms of his chair, launching through the air. Ran to me on his hands, grabbed hold of my leg and climbed up my body. Locked his stumps around my neck REALLY tight, and proceeded to beat the living s**t out of me, then climbed down the other side.

For obvious reasons, traditional kata were ruled out, but he had created several wheelchair kata that seemed to combine all the requisite elements (doing a wheelie to strike with the footrest for example). He had also modified the armrests to do weapons kata (the arms pulled out to reveal two spearpoints on each...VERY sneaky and nasty).

Since that, I have never EVER assumed that a person confined to a wheelchair (or with any other kind of handicap) was any less capable than me.

8th May 2002, 09:24
I too have seen someone perform martial arts while being confined to a wheelchair. Was excellent, and I had the same impression as others. For self defense, I might refer them to some weapons training, but the fact is, most people with disabilities don't pursue martial arts for self defense alone. They usually understand that weapons are their better bet, but they want to pursue a martial art for something more. You would want to be careful how you refer them to weapons training, as a lot of times that might not be what they are looking for, and they could see that as an insult, kinda like "well, you can't handle real karate, so here's a good gun club..." :eek:

Budoka 34
8th May 2002, 14:58
A local Combat Hapkido club offers wheelchair self defense classes.
I don't know much about the organization, but you might find them if you web search "selfdefence america" or "combat hapkido". Its one of John Pelligrine's organizations. I'll see if I can find more and post it later.

8th May 2002, 16:05
My reasoning for mentioning the weapons is that a TA I had in college was in a wheelchair, but also carried two canemasters canes with him. He would use them to stand when necessary, but was also quite skilled in their martial uses.

Being a pro-gun person myself (another can of worms not worth opening upon this forum) I would suggest it to anyone interested in self-defense. Whether or not they pursue it is their own matter, IMHO.

I too have seen some impressive demonstrations, but what I was trying to get at was more, how would YOU teach them? Would you buy a wheelchair to test the techniques yourself? How would you integrate motion, balance, etc?

I too believe that they would be just as capable as any other potential student, but I think I would learn just as much teaching them.

9th May 2002, 09:29
Originally posted by TomMarker
I too believe that they would be just as capable as any other potential student, but I think I would learn just as much teaching them.

Agreed. Actually, I would probably learn more. They would be adapting an already existing lifestyle. I would be learning it from scratch.

I would potentially try the techniques myself, but what I really think I would do is look up one of the persons who trains in a wheelchair currently, and hopefully have a seminar or two with them before undertaking it myself. I would hate to pass on something as the "right way" when honestly I am not qualified. I would at bare minimum seek to become qualified, or if there was someone more qualified in my area, seek to send the student to them for seminars, or full time if possible, to be sure they get proper training.

Joseph Svinth
10th May 2002, 08:14
If you're actually faced with this issue, you might check with the folks at http://www.defenseability.com . I know nothing about these folks except what appears on their website, but hey, if nothing else, they should be able to point you toward local resources.

Veronica Ryan
17th May 2002, 06:42
I honestly do not know much about self defense in a wheel chair, but I have practiced self defense sitting in a chair or sitting on the ground. If you have not done these two things I highly recommend it.

Basically there are two main issues when confined to a chair or sitting down. The most obvious one is lack of range of motion with the legs. The other biggy is that you can not lower your center. You end up moving your center in all directions, but down and using a LOT of kazushi to move your uke in the direction you want.

I'm guessing that doing these two excercizes would be a great way to figure out self defense for people in wheel chairs who have use of their upper bodies.