Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

How to Use Your Wheelchair for Self-Defense

Filed under: Living with a disability — by at 1:33 pm on Monday, September 15, 2008

Today’s guest post is courtesy of Judy Brown who is a black belt in the Shotokan style of karate. In her day job, she provides writing and home business consulting services through her business Creative Purrsuits.

Wheelchair Self-Defense Tips

Keep in mind that the main goal in any self-defense situation is to get away from your attacker as quickly as possible. Here are a few ideas for distracting or disabling your assailant:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. When sitting in your chair in public places like airports, or other large open areas, try to sit with your back to a wall. This will give you a clear view of anyone coming toward you and you won’t get attacked from behind.
  2. Develop an aggressive attitude. Just because you are in a wheelchair criminals think you are an easy target. If you look alert and aware you may discourage an attacker. If not, be prepared to use reasonable force to defend yourself. Think about it beforehand, are you willing to physically injure someone to create an opening so you can get away?
  3. Use the attackers own force against him/her. When you are seated in a wheelchair, any opponent will tower over you in their standing position. In order for them to attack you, they have to lean over. When the attacker is in a bent-over position, grabbing you or your clothing, he is off his center of gravity. It won’t take much for you to grab hold of your attacker’s hair or clothing and take a quick push backward. This will cause him to fall forward and while doing so, it is likely that he will let go of you to avoid falling. Get yourself out of there FAST!

Use Your Chair as a Weapon

  1. The biggest weapon on the chair is the footrest. Raking this down the shins is very painful and should discourage most attackers.
  2. Slam the footrest down on the instep; you can break bones if you do it hard and fast.
  3. Pushing the chair back (hard and fast) is effective on attackers who come from behind you. The handles often are just about groin high, so make it count.

I don’t advise that you roll out there looking for trouble just to see if these techniques work, but do practise the techniques at home and give some thought as to how you can adjust your mindset. This sounds easy, but most people have an aversion to actually hurting someone. If you get yourself into thinking about all this BEFORE you have to deal with an attacker, you won’t have to think at all if it happens, you’ll just react instinctively.

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Comment by raincoaster

December 21, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

Wow, this is fascinating. I never thought about it before, but it’s true; people in wheelchairs would be more likely to be targeted by the violent than other people.

Comment by Kazuyuki Sekino

December 19, 2009 @ 1:16 am

Country, and family, and indivisual, need self-defence skill in order to be independent.
Today I learned people with handicaps are no exceptions of this.
I am living in Japan. Public order is relatively good. But your technique is useful in Japan too.

Comment by Mr.Glass

February 10, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

I’ve been in a wheelchair since i was ten years old. i have been repeatedly attacked, chased, swarmed and surrounded from the age of 13 to 25..

I personally have employed several of the methods mentioned here myself and found some to be effective. it really does all depend on the physical challenges you face.

Every chair i’ve gotten since that young age i’ve -always- gone after the largest metal foot plates my chairs could hold and ramming is a good, last ditch move.

with ramming you run the risk of your adversary falling on you so the angle of attack is important depending if you have a structural defect issue effecting you.

if you do, instead of a head on collision,
try to do a single side impact, target only one leg in your hit so the automatic reaction of your adversary is to balance or fall away from you with the good leg.

another important factor in ramming also depends on the strength in your arms and the configuration of your anti-tipper devices if present.

if they are present and depending the height and your skill level you should strongly consider tipping the chair yourself while engaging at maximum speed.. this will raise your angle of attack above the shin to the weaker knee area inflicting more damage to your adversary and making hostile pursuit more difficult.

an additional tip..
(applicable depending chair configuration)

someone grabs the handle bars of your chair,
Use all strength and force -sustained- forward..give it everything you got so your adversary has to use more force to try to hold you where you are, then.. Full reverse full speed.. use there own hold on you as your method of escape..

once your back or back handles impact on the mid region of your adversary you should either
A) Run like hell

(if you feel that your adversary still presents a danger to your safety..)

B) with your adversary theoretically doubled over from the hit, back hand them while he is bent over you from behind.. -then- run like hell.

Thank you Glenda for posting this article,
Wheelchair self defense ~is~ out there but the resources are limited and hard to find.
I think your writing just may help save some lives.

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