The vigil I attended on December 3rd hosted by People First made me reflect on the violence that many in the disability community are vulnerable to. I found this great article that outlines some practical advice for people looking to protect themselves and assert self-defence skills.
1. Be vigilant,
2. Project confidence,
3. Be assertive and set boundaries,
4. Avoid physical confrontation,
5. Take a class and increase your confidence,
6. Sound the alarm, and
7. Find help and healing if you are attacked.
Each of these points is discussed in more detail in the article using the practical advice of Erik Kondo founder of Not-Me! and associates from Kidpower, Sirota’s Alchymy, and the International Disabled Self-Defense Association. The latter has an extensive online library of video tutorials available for those unable to find a local class. The Not-Me! E-book is available to download for free from the Erik’s blog here.
Kondo and other self-defence instructors champion that greater knowledge and confidence can go a long way in protecting a person from violence. Most people in wheelchairs or using canes do not have the physical strength to physically challenge an assailant. Deflecting violent negative attention is a skill that can be practiced. Even a strong “No!” can have a positive impact. Learning about how to defuse and deter these situations is a powerful tool in the independent person’s toolkit. The instructor’s caution the effectiveness of wheelchair karate as demonstrated on Youtube. Violence is not a creed preached by the martial arts; self-empowerment, physical discipline, and fellowship are!
This is not to say that people affected by disabilities are not capable of winning a contest of violence when extraordinary circumstances demand it of them. This brave Vancouver man came to the rescue of a shop clerk back in 2010. He subdued the assailant from his wheelchair and kept him immobilized until the police arrived on scene. See the full footage here.
What are your thoughts on self defense and disability? Any resources to add to the one’s I discussed? Add links in your comments and stay safe this holiday season!
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