Written by: Greg Ellifritz


Have you ever considered what you might do if you were attacked while in a seated position?  When most of us train to fight, we do so while standing, but how many hours of the day do we spend sitting down?  There’s a good chance that you may be seated and have to defend yourself.


Read this article about a California resident who was stabbed while sitting at a subway station.  He was sitting in a chair when a man approached and confronted him.  After a few words, the attacker stabbed the seated man and fled.  The victim died from his injuries.  Could you have done any better in this situation?


Red Line stabbing victim was seated during attack


Being seated seriously limits your mobility.  Mobility is a critical aspect of successful fighting.  In general, you don’t want to be sitting down when the fight kicks off.  You will be at a tremendous disadvantage.  When you see any of the tell tale warning signs of a potential attack, you should be working your way to a standing position as quickly as possible.


If you can’t get up quickly, here are a few tips for effective fighting from a seated position:


1) Practice drawing all of your weapons from the seated position.  Depending on carry location and the type of chair in which you are sitting, drawing certain weapons may be very difficult.  Think about a small-of-the-back holster.  Could you draw your gun when seated in a chair?  Even for those of you who carry in the traditional four o’clock behind the hip position, chairs with narrow arms or a curved back may severely limit your drawing abilities.


Most people don’t recognize it, but it may even be difficult to draw a folding knife clipped to your pocket while sitting.  The bent leg position makes your pants fit tighter at the hip and can “lock” a folder in place in your pocket.  Appendix carry or an ankle holster are better options if you are going to be spending a lot of time in a seated position.


2) Hand strikes will lack power when you are seated.  Because you can’t twist your body or drop weight into the strike, your punches are going to be less effective.  You may be better off using your legs.  You can brace yourself against the chair with one or both of your hands and then kick forward with your feet.  The braced position actually adds power to the kick.  Target your attacker’s knees or shins to disable him or drive him backwards.


Chances are, you are seated right now reading this article.  Take a couple seconds and figure out how to generate the most power kicking from your chair.  If you don’t have enough space to kick, you may be better off with an eye gouge or throat ripping hand technique than a punch.


3) Consider alternate target areas.  When most of us fight, we try to target our opponent’s head.  That may not be possible when seated.  In addition to the leg kicks mentioned above, consider striking the groin instead.  It will be at approximately chest level if your attacker is standing in front of you.  Strike with your hands or grab and rip.


4) A special consideration for those of you who rely on pepper spray.  Have you considered what might happen if you were to spray your chemical irritant towards an attacker’s face while you are still sitting?  What comes up must come down.  The spray that doesn’t hit your attacker’s face will fall right back down into yours.  If you are seated and spraying OC, use your off side hand or arm to cover your face/eyes in the event of cross contamination.


We don’t get to decide the time or place that we are attacked.  It’s prudent to practice defending yourself from ALL likely positions.








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