For the Disabled
Instructors from right to left:
Roan Morand, Kilian Forclaz*, Richard Emery*, Michel Barras, Evan Pantazi
Course Designers Kilian Forclaz and Richard Emery
Photographed by: Linda Emery
Kyusho is perfectly suited for people with all ranges of disability, in fact it is far better suited than most Martial Arts out there as it uses far less power, speed and especially agility. It also has greater effect on the assailant as the weaker anatomical structures are targeted as opposed to general areas.
What needs to be realized by all those not disabled, is the limitations on mobility and agility as they are often constrained by the individuals disability. One of the more difficult disabilities is in the mobility lost during confinement in a wheelchair. You do not have a stable base from which to issue a powerful technique or counter. You are always at risk of tipping over, or rolling away or into the attack. The strikes if power based, propel the chair backward which could be devastating if there were a curb, pothole or some other terrain difficulty. If the individual in the wheelchair is grabbed, or grabs the assailant, they also lose control of their position, mobility, direction, base and are even more at risk and endangered.
Individuals confined to a wheelchair develop very strong grips from constantly wheeling themselves about. Their arms and upper chest and shoulders also increase in strength as are their actions for that purpose. This enables the Seizing methods on the muscles, tendons, nerves and joints cause severe pain and dysfunction on the assailant.
Since the wrists are strong and developed as are the arms, the strikes of the hands to vital structures also carry great dysfunctional possibility. This is in part enabled by the snap in the wrist that helps penetrate to the inner vital anatomical structures, to cause an over stimulation of the nerve system of the opponent upon impact.
So yes a disabled individual has fewer possibilities in tools, but what they do maintain, gets stronger and can be transformed easily into very destructive weapons.
Before the disabled individual can learn specific targets or methods to attack them, they must first use strategic maneuvers to disrupt the attack, unbalance the opponent to weaken them and learn to spot the vulnerabilities in the affected opponent. Reaching out to block or grab an incoming attack leaves the disabled practitioner unable to stabilize or control the chair (and their) motions, this could lead to tipping or turning to make them even more vulnerable. As we worked the Kyusho with knife, and hand to hand, we always stressed that moving into the attack worked far better for the use of Kyusho as well as protecting the practitioner… it is no different for the Disabled if they learn to use their chair for such entering attacks.
As example a on guard position for Boxers, Grapplers or any Martial Artist, is to put the hands up to protect the head, neck and upper body. For a Disabled individual in a wheelchair, this is not sound advice. It is far better to have their hands on the wheels for fast inward, rearward, lateral or spinning motion. Using the chair as the first attack on the opponents ankles and or legs, will weaken as well as surprise for the would be attacker.
The foot rests of the typical wheelchair, are around the same height from the ground as are the more vulnerable nerves, tendons and blood vessels of the opponents ankles. Slamming the chair into the ankles will cause intense pain and dysfunction of the opponent. This in turn will cause weakening of the attack as well as their balance and power base.
Also with the hands on wheels for the guard position, the assailant must reach in further for a strike, grab or push. This makes them lean in a bit more so that countering is easier for the Disabled individual to grab. If the Disabled person were to attempt a strike as the first action they would find the strike weak as the chair would roll and offset the power base… so one hand must be latched on to the chair or opponent for stabilization and power issuance into the vital targets.
So it must be trained to hold the wheels until moving the chair, then stabilizing the chair so that the free hand is able to strike or grab the opponent. The grab will most often be to the assailants hand or arm, or even the shoulder or neck depending upon the unbalanced position the chair attack placed the opponent in. The next action is to bring the grabbing hand down to form a base on the lap or chair placing the force downward into the lap of the Disabled. This will bring the force downward to the most stable and strong base of the wheelchair.
The Disabled Kyusho Practitioner must then train in Seizing of the arm nerves as well as the neck and shoulders. All actions must bring the attacker down into the strong base for a follow up attack so as to gain physical base for the penetrating follow-up counter.
These are the targets that will be most easily accessible and functional for the counter. The opponents body will be folding from either the ankle ram or the seizing of the arm nerves, even with seizing the head or neck targets. So study on the body should be much later in the study for the disabled, as should the leg targets.
Once the Disabled Practitioner gains skill and spontaneity with their protection methods, they can then learn the more sophisticated joint attacks (utilizing the nerves). The Disabled Practitioners strengthened grip will then become a very useful tool on the opponent, with the ability to control or damage.
The use of Tuite will be profound if the practitioner can employ them as they affect the opponents balance and nerve system to a higher degree. That will make any subsequent strikes to head or neck far more powerful and effective.
The idea for this program was initiated by Richard Emery and Kilian Forclaz of Valais, Switzerland, several years ago. They brought the idea to me more recently to validate and assist in launching for the public domain and Martial Arts Instructors from all around the world. I was honored to lend a hand to this incredibly important focus of study. But beyond that it helped me fine tune my own training methods to a higher level… You can learn from everyone and everything if you allow yourself to.
Now I had worked with Disabled individuals before, but not on a constant basis and not for many years, save a few attending seminars. Michel (pictured above, has disability with legs, hips and lower torso) had just started his Kyusho Journey with Richard Emery and during the filming, he did a remarkable job trying to assimilate the ideas that were not yet in his level of expertise. As we continue to work with disabled people, we gain so many insights… this is an invaluable program for any Martial Arts Instructor… and especially for those with disabilities.
Kyusho is the Equalizer
Kyusho has been prized for centuries by the Masters of Old as they fully kept their prowess even in advanced years. The understanding of the human anatomy, physiology and functionality, need not be kept private for selected family members, favored students or inheritors of the style. This is vital inform
ation and skill development for all ages… and aging. It is the equalizer that the Martial Arts were intended to be.
Read the article in Budo International