Friday, 13 April 2012

Self Defense From a Chair

Choy Li Fut's traditional horse bench


ractitioners of Choy Li Fut Kung Fu are trained to use everything as a weapon – with the exception perhaps of the proverbial  “kitchen sink”.

The horse bench is one such weapon. This bench isn’t the kind you would find at the side of a basketball court, long and heavy. The horse bench is smaller. It’s big enough for one person to sit on.

In China, horse benches were often seen in rural areas. Some of them were small and light enough to be portable. If you were a traveler, you might rest for a while on a horse bench at a small country inn in 19th Century China.

Thrust kick from a chair

Shift in time from that inn at the side of a dusty road to a chair in a motel restaurant at the side of a modern highway. The self defense question still remains the same: “What if someone attacks me right now while I’m enjoying this meal?”

The main strategy in any self defense from either a bench or a chair is…mobility. The same emphasis on mobility that figured into my recent post on defending against 2 attackers.   

1.  If you have the chance, get up from the chair. Remaining seated, turns you into a stationary target, easier to hit, easier to control.

2.  If you can’t get off the chair in time, shift your legs and torso as much as possible to help deflect or neutralize an attack. Cover your head and face while shifting.

Swing across to the front, targeting the attacker's legs

3.  A standing attacker will strike downward on your head or straight forward into your face. Very few are sophisticated or trained enough to attack your legs or groin.

4.  Strike straight ahead at any target that’s available…usually the groin, sometimes the knee.

5.  “Fight your way” out of a chair. Claw and kick…while moving sideways off the chair. Try not to move straight ahead into the attack.

Thrust low at the attacker with the legs of the chair

Much like Choy Li Fut’s horse bench, you can use a chair to block an attack. Plus you can counter-attack using a chair. Unless you’re a trained martial artists please swing or thrust the chair only at the height of your abdomen or waist. Anything higher takes too much time and strength. At chest height, it’s easier for an attacker to block or take the chair out of your hands.

Primary targets on the attacker’s body are the groin and legs, especially the knees. If you can manage the chair’s weight, thrust forward with the legs of the chair or slice sideways across the front, cutting at the attacker’s legs.

Chairs, car keys, the tip of a pen…”everyday weapons” are powerful instruments of self defense. As long as you defend aggressively with a lot of repetition using every technique and target available!

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