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The ultimate defense.

Five of six U.S. residents will be victims of violent crimes at least once in their lifetimes. Wheelchair users are no exception. How can you defend yourself against assailants?

To subdue your opponent without fighting is the ultimate martial art.

STEP-BY-STEP

The following adaptation can protect you if your assailant attacks from the rear:

Self-defense Technique #1: Straight Wrist Lock

Using his left hand, the attacker grabs you around the throat from the rear.

Grab his hand with your left hand by wrapping your fingers around the base of his thumb and placing your thumb across the back of his hand.

Grasp the attacker's hand strongly. Pull his hand off you by rotating it and pulling it to the left. Establish a double-handed grip by also grasping his hand with your right hand, fingers into his palm and thumb on the back of his hand. At this point, the attacker's palm should face the ceiling.

Put torque on the attacker's wrist by rotating his hand until his thumb is toward the floor. Do this as if you have a large valve-wheel in your hands and are turning it to the left. At the same time, push your hands straight out from your left shoulder.

Continue to apply twisting torque to the attacker's wrist. Make a large circular move, as if you are stirring a big pot, until you bring your hands to the top of your thigh. At this point, the attacker's palm should almost face the floor.

While twisting the attacker's wrist with both hands, pull your hands tightly into your hip. This will force him to his knee; then roll him onto his back.

Once the attacker is on his back, shift your left hand to his elbow. Control the attacker by keeping the torquing pressure on his wrist with your right hand and applying downward pressure on his elbow with your left hand.

If an assailant attacks you from the front, you may use the following defense tactic:

Self-defense Technique #2: Reverse Wrist lock

Using his left hand, the attacker grabs your lapel.

Grasp his hand with your right hand by wrapping your fingers around the base of his thumb and placing your thumb across the back of his hand.

Grip the attacker's hand strongly. Pull it by rotating his hand to the right. Establish a double-handed grip by also grabbing his hand with your left hand, fingers into his palm and thumb on the back of his hand. (The palm of his hand should be facing the ceiling.) Note: To form the strongest grip, use the lower three fingers of each hand. Extend the index fingers so they are pointing outward.

Put torque on the attacker's wrist by rotating your hands forward. Do this as if you have faucet knobs in each hand and are turning them forward until your index fingers point to the inside of the attacker's elbow. To be most effective, the assailant's wrist and hand should form a 90 [degrees] angle.

Add additional torque by twisting the attacker's wrist to the right. Do this as if you have a large valve-wheel in your hands and are turning it to the right.

The attacker will feel severe discomfort in his wrist. Trying to relieve the discomfort will force him off balance.

Continue rotating his wrist until you force him to the ground.

The following tactic is also effective for defending yourself from a frontal attack:

Self-defense Technique #3: Straight Wrist Lock

Attacker grabs your lapel with his right hand.

With your right hand, wrap your fingers around the outside of his hand and place your thumb across the back.

Grip the attacker's hand strongly. Pull it off you by rotating his hand and pulling it to the right. Establish a double-handed grip by also grabbing his hand with your right hand, fingers around the base of his thumb and your thumb on the back of his hand. At this point, his arm should be torqued and locked straight with elbow pointing toward the ceiling. Note: To form the strongest grip, use the lower three fingers of each hand. Extend the index fingers to point outward.

Put torque on the attacker's wrist by rotating your hands forward. Do this as if you have a faucet knob in each hand and are turning them forward, until your index fingers point to the inside of his elbow. To be most effective, the attacker's wrist and hand should form a 90 [degrees] angle.

Continue to apply twisting torque to the attacker's wrist. Move your hands down to the top of your right hip. This will force your attacker to his knees.

Support your grip by leaning forward slightly onto the assailant's wrist. To control the attacker, move your left hand to his elbow and apply downward pressure.

Now a contracting officer (CO) at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Kathleen O'Connell lost the use of her legs in March 1984. A one-car rollover on an icy Wisconsin road resulted in her broken back--and a major lifestyle change.

O'Connell sustained a bruised spine in the accident. Cut-off blood supply resulted in incomplete T12-L1 paraplegia. She spent three months in the trauma wing at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, in Appleton, Wis. By 1989, O'Connell earned a degree in business from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; she moved to Colorado Springs the next year.

A CO since 1993, she signs her name to government contracts. "It's a high-pressure job," she says. "As a servant of the taxpayer, I try to be fair to all parties."

Although proficient in using her wheelchair, O'Connell felt vulnerable when getting in and out of her car. She began thinking about self-defense and started looking for a martial-arts instructor.

One day O'Connell signed documents for Gene Hall, who was working on a contract and getting ready to travel. In the course of conversation, they began talking about judo. He told her he was an instructor.

A fourth-degree black belt and jujitsu coach, Hall accepted the challenge of working with O'Connell. Together they developed techniques that work for wheelchair users. Sometimes Hall gets into O'Connell's chair to find the best methods of countering attacks. Hall's jujitsu focuses on disabling and controlling assailants.

A system analyst on aerospace defense programs, Hall spends much of his free time instructing at the National Judo Institute (Colorado Springs). He has studied martial arts since 1967 and began teaching in 1972. During his 24-year career as a U.S. Air Force officer (retiring in 1994), Hall studied martial arts in Europe and the Orient.

Since April 1995, O'Connell has trained twice a week at the U.S. Judo Association National Training Center, in Colorado Springs. She says she's the only student with a disability currently working out there.

Hall and O'Connell have adapted standard jujitsu moves. When executed properly, the techniques described on the previous pages can severely strain or even break an attacker's wrist. When practicing these moves, use caution to avoid injury.

When not busy with work or jujitsu, O'Connell enjoys downhill mono-skiing, gardening (especially caring for perennials), reading, and football (the Green Bay Packers, of course!). She and a cat named Spot share a home. She also has established a business--southwestern crafts--in which she specializes in loom/beadwork and "dream catchers."

O'Connell has earned a third-degree brown belt. To date, she hasn't used this training in real life. But she is confident she can defend herself if necessary.

RELATED ARTICLE: JUDO OR JUJITSU?

People usually begin studying martial arts to learn how to defend themselves. As they progress, their motivation often becomes self-improvement or spiritual health.

Although related, martial arts and self-defense are not the same thing. Martial-arts techniques can be useful in self-defense situations. However, you must understand the difference between practice in a dojo (school) and "combat" in the streets. To win a martial-arts competition, you have to defeat your opponents by executing techniques better than they do. In self-defense, you have to stop your assailant's attack. This does not require you to win.

Jujitsu (the "gentle fighting art") is a 2,000-year-old system of Japanese wrestling. The ancient art is called aiki jujitsu and involves joint locks, throws, strikes, blocks, and chokes. Knowledge of anatomy and principles of leverage helps people use their attackers' weighs and strength against themselves. Jujitsu is based not on strength but on breaking an opponent's balance.

Aiki jujitsu went through changes in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Professor Jigoro Kano removed many of the dangerous techniques to create judo ("the gentle way"). This allowed students to practice resisting opponents but with far fewer injuries. The exercise people now follow throughout the world as judo should be called kodokan judo, which is based on the traditional jujitsu of old Japan.

Before the advent of firearms in Japan, warriors used bows and arrows. For close combat, they also carried swords and spears; occasionally, they had to fight with their bare hands. The more advanced techniques of the latter contributed to the development of jujitsu.

For centuries, Japanese warriors wore two swords--one long and one short--until this custom was banned in 1871 under the Decree Abolishing the Wearing of Swords. This resulted in the need for a special art for self-defense. Methods (hitting, poking or chopping with the hand, fingers, elbow, and fist; kicking with the kneecap, heel, or ball of the foot; or bending and twisting the joints) developed so that unarmed individuals or those who could not reach their weapons could subdue adversaries.

Class distinction between warriors and commoners was rigidly enforced. For self-defense, commoners--who were forbidden to wear swords--also had to learn the art of barehanded fighting. Jujitsu began to take form in the latter half of the sixteenth century; various schools developed during the next 300 years.

The Chinese character ju means "pliable," "submissive," "harmonious," "adaptable," or "yielding." The common translation of ju as "gentle" may suggest a lack of strength. This was not the case with combat jujitsu, where warriors frequently needed great strength to ensure defeating the enemy. Jujitsu techniques are not all gentle. They seek to blend with the enemy's direction of strength, which is then controlled. This "gentleness" is more correctly termed "flexibility," meaning that mind and body adapt to a situation and bring it to the advantage of the operator.

In 1882, Professor Kano, founder of kodakan judo, established his own school, began to teach his exercise, and called it judo instead of jujitsu. In one of his early lectures in 1989, he describes his technique's evolution:

"While studying jujitsu, not only did I find it is interesting but [I] also realized it was most effective for the training of both body and mind. But it was necessary to improve the old jujitsu to a certain degree in order to popularize it, because the old style was not developed or devised for physical education or moral and intellectual training. So by taking together all the good points I had learned of the various schools and adding my own devices and inventions, I founded a new system for physical culture and mental training as well as for winning contests. I called this kodokan judo.

"Why did I call this judo instead of jujitsu? Because what I teach is not simply jutsu or jitsu (art or practice). Of course I teach jutsu, but it is upon do (way or principle) that I wish to lay special stress."

Sources: The Internet, "A Gentle Introduction to the Stanford Self-Defense Class" (Danny Abramovitch, danny@hpidya.hpl.hp.com); and "History of Kodokan Judo" (Daniel Israel, <disrael@Crl.COM>).

RELATED ARTICLE: PERSONAL SAFETY VIDEO

Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) has developed "Your Safety...Your Rights," a personal safety and abuse-prevention program for adults with disabilities. The 17-minute video gives viewers the opportunity to identify and discuss situations that may be unsafe and to learn basic strategies to reduce the risk of becoming victims.

Brief dramatizations by actors with disabilities demonstrate ways of dealing firmly and effectively with potentially dangerous situations in daily activities and relationships.

The video is available with open- or closed-captioning. The purchase price is $145; rental, $50 per day. Shipping is $9. Order number DD-202 from Fanlight Productions, 47 Halifax Street, Boston, MA 02130. (800) 937-4113 / (617) 524-0980.
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Title Annotation:includes related information; self defense for wheelchair users
Publication:PN - Paraplegia News
Date:Apr 1, 1997
Words:2042
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