Wheelchairs session 2 (long)

There are 5 of us altogether, it’s the young ones who are more interested than the older ones. I’m running it immediately after our normal session to make it as easy as possible for our students to attend (sometimes afterwards they practice anyway) but at the moment we just have a small group. It’s great that our young ones are blazing a trail for our club.

However we made some breakthroughs in our knowledge today, mostly thanks to Master Worsfold’s insights into both martial arts technique and understanding of disability. For example, he pointed out that practising low blocks is not important for someone in a wheelchair compared to higher blocks because it is less likely that someone would attack them at such a low level – they would either hit wheels or have to be lying down to have any kind of impact.

Excuse the pics, I was trying to be artistic and get an idea of angles but failed, however they show a little – or at least where arms and eyes are likely to be focusing on using a wheelchair.

b/w photos of practice

Also that a ready stance will not be appropriate with hands nearer the body, but nearer the front of the wheelchair. I attempted the first poomsae and realised that other blocks don’t work – Master Worsfold suggested that after a punch, the hand does not return to belt / waist but instead lower to be parallel with the wheel on that side. With a small adult – a mid section kick is roughly shoulder or head height for an adult in a wheelchair or chest height for child/young adult. This gives an excellent idea of adult – adult, showing the advantages that a wheelchair user has such as stability and enhanced vision at that height:

In an adapted wheelchair e.g. in wheelchair rugby, you can spin faster which also increases the options for punches / strikes but it’s interesting to note that in the wheelchair taekwondo, the student did not need to move the wheelchair too much either side in order to carry out a strike and push the attacker away.

We also spent a bit of time today looking at space on either side of opponent e.g. in a taekwondo session there are a lot of repeated drills and you don’t realise how close your foot can come to a wheel even when you think you’re doing a series of blocks in a straight line. I was asked whose fault it would be if there was a clash, I replied that it’s kind of both, but the more experienced martial artist should have greater awareness and take responsibility. You could have a least one wheelchair in our club room where we have rows of 4 and manage to avoid clashes.

Looking forward to the final two sessions.

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