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Self Defense From A Seated Position

Today’s post comes to you from one of FightFast’s most popular videos, Defense in Confined Spaces.  We’ve been getting a lot of questions about self defense from a wheelchair, so we found tips from an instructor who has a lot of great seated position moves to share.  Vladimir Vasiliev’s insight really pertains to anyone in a seated position, so even if you’re not in a wheelchair, you can still use these.

A lot of self defense is shown in a wide open space on a padded mat, and while it’s ideal for getting the point across, you’re most likely not going to be attacked in that kind of space.  Attackers wait around corners, between cars, in your home, etc.  I don’t know about you, but my house doesn’t have a whole lot of wide open spaces unless I move some furniture around.  This whole video is chock-full of these situations in tight spaces.

Vlad has a minimalistic approach to self defense that saves energy while inflicting the most damage.  I think his techniques in this video are perfect for anyone, but I’d really like to focus on what he has to offer regarding the questions from our readers.

Getting Into The Mindset

An aggressive attacker is going to try to make you feel small.  They do this by towering over you and frankly, underestimating your mindset and confidence.  We’ve talked a lot in previous posts about the mindset of self defense.  Here, we need to remain cool and collected, so practice executing these moves in this mindset with an aggressive “attacker” before taking it to the streets.

Think about what you have to work with.  One hand?  Both hands?  Do you have anything in either hand?  A book?  A pen?  A bag of groceries?  What do you have to work with?  You can use pretty much anything against an attacker.

Where are your hands?  Are they above or below your attackers?

Your Attacker Has Already Underestimated You

They are trying to use their height against you, so use that to your advantage.  They HAVE to come down to your level!  When they do, you use their top-heavy weight to get them off-balance.


There are a few initial moves you can use here, depending on abilities and where everybody’s hands are.

  • You can go for the insides of the arms he/she is using to hold his/herself up, chopping inside of the biceps or the elbows.
  • You can take the hands out with a simple hammer-fist to the top, taking away their ability to make a fist.
  • If you’re able to roll back in your chair, and their hand or hands are on the arms, you can roll back and take them off balance while opening up their body for more pressure points.
  • If you have an item in your hand, you can use it to sweep the hand out from under them, then shove it in their face or neck.  (or you can do this with your hands)
  • If they have you by the front of your shirt, you can grab their (for example) right sleeve with your right hand,
  • Or chop any one of the many pressure points in their inner thigh or groin.
  • AND you can use any combination of these!

The next step is to gain physical control by:

  • Twisting the wrist/arm
  • Grabbing the hair
  • Putting the side of you hand under the nose and pulling upwards
  • Twisting the neck
  • Closing the fingers in a drawer
  • Chopping the throat
  • Gauging the eyes

I’m sure there are more.  You can really get creative here!  And again, you can use many different combinations of these.


Things To Remember

The number to call if you suspect or are a victim or elderly abuse is 1-800-677-1116, or go to this website.  If the threat is immediate, call 911.

And have a back-up plan.  Practice these moves.  Get really good at them, and the next time you face your bully, they’ll think twice before abusing you again.

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51 thoughts on “Self Defense From A Seated Position”

  1. Great moves, hope they help Alfredo Delapaz , because neither one of these men are OLD, I am 78 yrs young, and I had enough of bullies in my Junior Schooldays, and I sorted them out whenever they tried it again, and I do NOT put up with it now, I would advise Alfredo Delapaz to go for a chop to the throat, then call for Police + Ambulance, hopefully the Ambulance does not get there in time to save him, at least you did call them, it won’t be your fault they did not get there in time to save him.

  2. Thanks for this info. I have been watching for some things to use and ways to do it. I am also in that condition and this has been very informative. Thanks a million.

  3. very good advice , especially for wheel chair bound !!!!!!!!!! thanks, radred1. I have practiced some of these moves !!!!!!!

  4. I am retired now, however I do not remember to many altercations at the workplace, because that usually involved both parties getting fired no matter who was the instigator.
    However in a tavern or a restaurant, these tactics would work well also.
    I would like to add turning the table over towards your Bully causes them to fall forward striking their chin, head or throat on the edge.

  5. Thanks so much_ going bk to work pt. time_ will practice these mvs and get efficient/effective with them. Heartfelt thanks_ stay safe_ be blessed_ Peace

  6. This is a very good bit of information. I at times have been in a wheel chair. And in the not to distant future I will be again. In these days we all need to have some knowledge to protect ourselves and our family’s. Thank you it is really appreciated by me.

  7. Use a Bic pen, or similar object throuigh the eyes, into the brain. Or, into the neck, severing the jugulars or carotid arteies. How about a straight thrust into the trachea, and follow with a sideways rip, causing a bleed into the airway. Many fun targets in this area. Really ruins their lunch.

  8. I am really grateful for your first even thinking about the disabled in this context,not many do. After having my stroke, being pushed, shoved or even just bumped results in a fall many times. I have never felt more vulnerable even scared in crowds. My balance is not good to say the least. I have carried most my life and resorted back to it, but that doesn’t cover every scenario. The fact that my good hand has been the weaker most uncoordinated side all my life doesn’t help. I am just glad to see any info on disability protection, thanks again.

  9. Thanks so much for this useful information. I pray none of us ever. need to put it to use but considering today’s society, we’d be fools not to expect the unexpected. . Thanks again.

  10. Good subject as taxi driver. That situation is very specific would make a good addendum.
    I carry a knife in a waist pouch driving taxi in case of an arm around my neck. Some potent pepper spray even spritzed on the floor chokes everyone. Though never having used either, got close a couple times with spray. A nice option, though extreme, is driving into a solid object, or small thermo_nuclear device hung from rearview mirror, for nasty drunk females only.

  11. My friend Mark an eigth degree black belt in tae kwon doe told me about using a pen, knife, heel of the hand or I liked knuckles of the fist into the attacker’s Adam’s apple. He’d be struggling to breath, let alone try again. There’s another way, but that’s only if for some reason you want to kill the guy, actually many of these.

  12. Gave this info to my significant other who has to use a wheelchair in a regular basis.
    Thanks for the valuable information.

  13. It never occurred to me that I might be caught in in a seated position and need to protect myself.
    Great info and video.
    Thank you so much!

  14. Great ideals …thanks so much for your helpful videos because I am 61 female caring for 92 mother and I have seen several guys looking at us as if they are about to do something stupid so you r helping me a lot as I don’t have money or time to take classes uptown.
    Thanks again

  15. Very enlightening. I have. An artificial leg and avoid. Any conformations. I can’t run or e ven walk fast.. Reading your pointer is quite enlightening. Thanks

  16. Vladimer is always brilliant. It is good to see that the disabled and elderley are being thought of in the Self Defence arena.

  17. Excellent, since alot of these cowardly bastards will pull their crap on an individual that is in a wheelchair or a woman, seeing women as “the weaker sex”. I’m old, but I’ll use whatever’s on hand and I don’t stop til they aren’t moving anymore. Twice I’ve been attacked and twice I walked away. This video is great because you never know if you’ll be caught sitting down behind a desk or table, thanks so much for your great videos.