Tag Archives: erik kondo

Just Say No to Curbs

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Nothing goes together worse than curbs and wheelchairs. Well maybe square wheels and wheelchairs, but that’s another blog post entirely. The thing about curbs – they’re everywhere.

They’re a beacon of modern-day society, keeping pedestrians and vehicles safe from one another, but they weren’t exactly created with people in wheelchairs in mind. Some wheelchairs, or rather wheelchair-users, can do a bang up job of popping curbs, but for most wheelchair-users, curbs are as limiting as a 2 foot thick steel door.

There are however several tricks wheelchair-users can learn to no longer let curbs hold them back. Some may be tricky, but they all work. Check out our curb-traversing videos below.

Video #1: Wheelchair up and down curb

Our first video comes from Gaby Bonano, a paraplegic who’s new at putting his hat into the “how-to” disability video world. One of the first videos he made is all about wheelchairs and curbs, and how wheelchairs can overcome them if no curb-cut is around. This how-to is definitely for people with full upper-body control.

Gaby first shows how he gets down a curb, which is the easier trick of the two. The trick for getting down a curb is about mastering the wheelie, and being able to balance yourself as you drop down the curb. It definitely takes some finesse, and of course Gaby makes it look easy.

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He has a stunt double demonstrate the up-curb method because if he wipes out and lands on his back, it can injure his severe scoliosis. This method heavily relies on momentum and getting a head start, then popping a wheelie right before you hit the curb (it is only ideal for cubs 7″ or shorter). Watch his curb-climbing methods

Video #2: Wheelchair Child Rides Her New Trackchair Over the Curb

Our second video shows the beautiful things that can happen when people with kind hearts and a little bit of extra money come together. It shows a young girl receiving her first ever Trackchair, a wheelchair on tank tracks that allows the user to go wherever they want. But the kicker – it’s quite expensive; upwards of $6,000.

In this video, a mysterious stranger donated $5,700 to procure this amazing wheelchair for a young girl with cerebral palsy, and boy is the smile on her face worth watching. You get to watch as she is shown how to drive the Trackchair, and boy does she look happy when she goes over a curb her first time (I want one goshdarnit!). Watch her try out the Trackchair

Video #3: Paraplegic in a Wheelchair Ascends a High Curb

If you live in an older city, there are sometimes going to be curbs you encounter that are archaically high; I’m talking 8 inches or higher.  When dealing with curbs this tall, you have to use a different method vs. the gaining momentum and popping a wheelie method.

Erik Kondo, a paraplegic from Boston, has your best option – the Railing Side Control Method – where he uses anything from a parking meter pole to a bike rack to grab onto and pulls himself up a curb. He’ll even grab onto a small tree if nothing else is available. This method is definitely for the buff wheelchair-users of the world. Watch Erik’s steep curb-climbing video

There are a lot of things in life that limit us as wheelchair-users. It’s nice to know those pesky curbs can be out-smarted, even out-muscled with the right technique or wheelchair. Just remember to be safe. The last thing you want to deal with is an egg on your head and a bruised ego while trying to get somewhere.

What tricks do you use for climbing curbs?

Watch the videos

Gaby shows his tricks for getting his wheelchair up and down a curb

Wheelchair Child Rides Her New Trackchair Over the Curb

Erik shows how to ascend a very high curb

SCI Superstar: Erik Kondo

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No one likes to feel vulnerable, but when you experience life as a person with a spinal cord injury, that’s one of the number one feelings that overwhelms you. Erik Kondo however refused to feel this way. A T4-5 paraplegic from Lexington, Massachusetts, Erik decided to combat this feeling by learning self-defense skills through martial arts, and he is now one of the most talented martial artists with a disability in the world and is now a 3rd degree black belt.

From applying his self-defense knowledge to help to protect women with disabilities online to showing newly injured people how to be independent, read on to learn about the fearless SCI superstar who’s using his talents to help others, Erik Kondo.

Why he’s fearless

Around 27 years ago is when Erik became a member of the disability community.  He was 19 and on his motorcycle when it crashed, and broke his T4-5 vertebrae on impact. Getting injured at this age however is never easy, but Erik, now 48 years old with a wife and three kids, has harnessed his fighter personality like a pro.

When he was 30 years old, after working in real estate for a few years and business and doing a bit of handcycling and skiing, Erik decided to begin practicing martial arts, jujitsu to be specific, in which he now holds a third degree black belt. Erik may have full control of his upper body, but he still has balance problems since he is a T4 paraplegic, so watching him in action is really quite something.

He also has a great video channel on SPINALpedia where you can watch him practice jujitsu and perform a slew of other wheelchair tricks. To date he’s uploaded 40+ videos and they show either a self defense skill, a mobility skill or a workout skill.  Eric is passionate about empowering other people with spinal cord injuries in any way shape or form. Such a great guy! Check out his videos

After he became good at jujitsu, self-defense came naturally. He’s went on to create a site devoted to self-defense called NOT-ME, which shows at-risk individuals what they need to do to really defend themselves if they’re in an altercation, and wheeler-user tips are part of it.  He’s made several videos showing his moves while sitting down, it is really quite something to behold. Erik can totally take an able-bodied guy down to the ground; no questions asked. Watch him here

And his self-defense videos are just a smidge of what he offers via video.  Erik has also made several videos showing his awesome “mobility” skills in an inaccessible world.  From climbing up stairs to going down a hill by doing a wheelie to popping a curb, Erik has no fear and does his tricks seamlessly. Watch him show the best way to climb up stairs in a manual chair

And Erik’s amazing fighter personality has also found a new outlet – helping protect woman with disabilities online. Predators, devotees and lurkers have no chance against Erik, who made it his life’s mission to uncover these people who are known to prey on women with disabilities online. He even created a free online presentation instructing women how to prevent trolls/predators. Watch

What’s next?

Erik’s latest method to spread self-defense knowledge is by teaching self-defense classes whereevrr he can, from camps to seminars . This past spring he taught self-defense classes in Vermont VT. And he’s also a burgeoning writer. As a frequent flier a lot, he has a few travel tips a share and has been writing for wheelchairtraveling.com, penning the occasional wheelchair travel article. Read his article on luggage tips for wheelchair travel

And last but not least, he runs an incredibly cool stair climbing blog, which is as exactly as it sounds – tips galore on climbing stairs if you can’t walk. Check it out

After a spinal cord injury, it can be hard finding you’re niche in the world. What’s great about Erik is that he carved himself out a very specific niche, and has become an expert in his field. People with disabilities need their own personal superman, and Erik Kondo definitely comes close.

Has Erik Kondo helped you learn a life skill?

Erik Kondo’s self-defense site NOT-ME

Watch the videos!

Erik Kondo demonstrates training for basic chokes and holds

Erik Kondo showing a new paraplegic how to get up a stairs in a manual chair

7 signs of a wheelchair pretender from Erik Kondo

Erik Kondo shows the safe way to fall out of a wheelchair