Self-defense, wheelchair style

Have you seen the episode of Celebrity Death match with the tough (and heavily tattooed) quad rugby player, Mark Zupan? He pretty much kicked Chris Pontius’ butt, and it was awesome.

It’s about time the world saw that wheelchair-users can have mad self defense skills. There are a ton of us out there, and you’ll find us at every level of ability (I still have a ways to go).

We can have great upper-body strength, so hey, shouldn’t be all that surprising right? And the following two videos you’re about to see are the BEST of the best when it comes to wheelchair self-defense.

This first video comes from the enlightened self-defense school in San Diego, Jing Chen Koushu. The founder Greg, may be able-bodied, but holy cow is he one of the best self-defense trainers I’ve ever seen for wc-users.

He’s trained Therese Riedel, (a very buff) C5 quad, some of the most intense wheelchair self-defense moves I’ve ever seen anyone her level of spinal cord injury do. Read this entry

My first putt in 18 years

Check out what I did earlier this week. Oh…I just stood up and took my first putt on the green since 1993 (no big).

So how do I look standing up? (not bad for being paralyzed for 18 years). If you have never seen or heard of the Paramovile before, you can learn all about it in my post on how the day went down (loved it, but my short game needs a lot of work). Read this entry

Dating on Wheels: In Love but Worried

Dear Tiffiny,

I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about five months now.  We met online and, in the beginning, he seemed to be alright with my wheelchair situation, but now I am not so sure.  Things are going pretty well…  I’ve met his parents, friends, except I’m starting to worry that my limitations may be getting on his nerves.

He’s really sweet, and that’s part of the problem. I’m afraid he wouldn’t tell me to what he was really feeling even if I asked him.  What can I do to make sure he’s not starting to get annoyed with my disability (I would hate for it to get the point that he gets so fed up that he just walks away)?  Thanks for taking the time to help me. Read this entry

Push Girls Episode 9 review: Freaky Deaky

In episode 9, get ready for some fun ’cause it’s the dating episode. All four ladies attend an art gallery opening together (and get lots of stares), Tiphany reconnects with an ex-flame (a guy this time!), Angela dates a hunk 12 years her junior and Mia goes kayaking on a first date. The Bachelorette has nothing on this episode.


The episode begins checking in with Tiphany and Angela. Tiphany is on her computer in the living and checking her dating profile. Tiphany says most people assume you have no dating life if you use a chair, but admits that being in a chair can make you more vulnerable. “Trusting people can be tough.”

Angela rolls in asking her if she puts down she uses a wheelchair in her profile (while Tiphany points out an alternative-looking she thinks is hot who has ginormous gauged ears; Angela squirms and asks, “What in the heck is on his ears?” lol). And then Angela brings up one of the most creepy issues you’ll discover after being paralyzed  – wheelchair fetishists (they have an attraction to people in wheelchairs). 

SCI Superstar: Ricky James

One word has been driving Ricky James since he broke his back – perseverance (and he has the entire thing tattooed up his left leg in huge cursive font).

If you know motocross, you probably know who Ricky James is (and maybe knew about him before injury).

He was a rising 15 year old star in the motocross world who started racing at the age of 2 (they called him a “prodigy on two wheels”). He was even home-schooled so he could keep up with his crazy schedule.

Motocross is in Ricky’s blood and always will be. That is why after his accident (he hit a dirt embankment racing Amateurs Nationals in Lake Whitney, Texas), he was the last guy to ever think of wiping his hands clean of the sport he grew up sleeping and breathing.

Are you kidding? “Motocrossers are a different breed,” says Ricky. Read this entry

Could Tiger Woods play like these guys?

By using either good old-fashioned American ingenuity or the very cool stand-up personal mobility device, the Paragolfer (also known as the Paramobile), the only handicap you have to worry about when you’re out on the links is your number of swings, not your paralysis. See with golf, creativity is key.

It’s funny…so many people think golf is off-limits to people in chairs. But as long as you have the right equipment (and an open-minded golf course that doesn’t think wheelchair-users are the equivalent of lawn-wrecking gophers), you can golf. Really!

All you need is some upper-body movement and determination to get out there.

In this first video, Tim, a paraplegic from Illinois, shows how he’s perfected his golf swing from his manual wheelchair (he doesn’t use any fancy mobility devices either).

By simply twisting his torso to his right (and keeping his legs in their usual position), Tim can swing his club quite impressively (it’s no monster drive, but it flies). And he uses a reacher to set his ball on the tee. Genius! Read this (awesome) entry

SCI Superstar: Sabrina Cohen

Sabrina Cohen, a C3-5 quad, saw her whole life change on Halloween in 1992 after she left a party with friends. All it took was being a passenger in a car (that decided to suddenly join in on a drag race) for her life to be completely altered.

The car hit a tree, with Sabrina breaking her C3 through C5 vertebrae. But even though she was only 14, she started honing her advocacy skills from the get-go.

In this video you can see one of the first speeches she gave after injury, where she speaks to fellow high school students on the power they have to say ‘no’ to bad decisions.

Despite always holding out hope she’ll get better one day, Sabrina wasn’t about to let her life go on without her. After high school, she went on to graduate with a degree in Communications from the University of Miami and received a masters in Copywriting from the Miami Ad School.

She also started her own ad agency SabCo Productions in 2003. But despite all of her academic and professional success, something was still missing from Sabrina’s life – advocacy. Read this entry

Push Girls Episode 8 review: Living In The Fast Lane

In this episode, Tiphany returns to her hometown for her 10 year high school reunion, Mia finds a swimming coach that tries to whip her into shape and Auti gives her dog a bathtub scrub-down.


Episode 8 begins with Tiphany and Mia dressed to the nines (at a bar) and pulling up to a white linen table to have a chat.  They get bright pink martinis and Tiphany shares that her 10 year high school reunion is coming up (and that it is on the same day as her injury anniversary. Bad timing!).  Mia tells her she now has to go, if only not to let it be something that holds her back.

But Tiphany is having some doubts because she got injured her senior year of high school, and really doesn’t like how it feels when you come back around past classmates.

Mia also doesn’t like it, saying what they must think when they see her, “Oooh yeah looks like she still isn’t walking.” Mia and Tiphany toast to “full circles.” I love how these women have other women in wheelchairs to push them.

In the next scene, we’re brought to Angela and Tiphany’s house where Tiphany is busy packing for her trip back to Lodi, California for her reunion.