Not defenceless even in a wheelchair

Following a positive reception to the first, Sifu Stefan Schmaltz arranged a second self-assertion course for young people with various disabilities at the Theodor-Schäfer vocational college in Husum. The local newspaper once again reported on the event.

The second course, during which the roughly 15 participants are taught self-assertion using gestures and facial expression on six evenings, is now under way. The course also includes exercises for loosening up the joints, something particularly important for wheelchair users. There are also exercises with focus-mitts, a leather pad worn as a glove which the young people are able to whale away at without feeling self-conscious.
Particularly for wheelchair users, it is important to realise that they do not need to feel at a disadvantage from the start, just because they are in a sitting position. Schmaltz explains that the important thing is to keep aggressive people at a distance by using loud and forceful speech and gestures, while not appearing to be provocative.
If this is not successful, the aim of WingTsun is to redirect the energy of an attacker’s assault in the right direction, then create respect by means of an aimed blow to a sensitive area of the body.
Naturally it cannot be the aim to let the whole situation degenerate into a brawl, however a self-confident and loud verbal approach often takes the initial sting out of the situation. And if it should become necessary to defend against an attack, a successful first strike at least gains a certain amount of time – time for help to arrive or to make oneself scarce.
Initially the participants were very reticent when asked to loudly and masterfully say or even shout things like “Hands off!“ or “Have you got a problem or something?” when confronted. This shows that practice is certainly required for this approach, and this can of course also be gained in the privacy of one’s own four walls. The self-defence sequences also require a measure of self-confidence that is only instilled by several training sessions.
At any rate the level of acceptance at TSBW shows that Schmaltz is on the right track in making his knowledge and experience available to these young people.

Text + photos: Jürgen Müller-Belzer