Rolling With the Punches: Self-Defense for Wheelchair Users

By Deborah Rubin Fields: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Imagine you’re hanging out by the pool in your wheelchair with a friend, and a group of thugs emerges from the bushes, knocks out your friend and rushes your chair. What do you do? 

Double amputee Ted Vollrath found himself in exactly this situation and he didn’t hesitate. He knocked down the closest attacker with two quick punches, grabbed a ninja star from his spokes and zipped it across the pool, right into the jugular of another assailant who was reaching for a gun. Vollrath then finished off the remaining thugs with an array of punches and body attacks, eventually dragging two of them into the pool and subduing them. 

If that sounds slightly (or extremely) fanciful, rest assured, Vollrath — reportedly the first wheelchair user to receive a black belt in karate — did do all these things … but he did them as the eponymous title character in the 1978 grindhouse classic opens in a new windowMr. No Legs. Without the benefit of Hollywood magic, however, the prospect of defending yourself as a wheelchair user can be quite daunting. What are the best tactics to protect yourself? Can a wheelchair user actually stave off attackers? And if so, how?

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