Pressure Point Strikes In Kenpo

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by MJS, Feb 11, 2007.

  1. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I thought that we could discuss the use of pressure point strikes in Kenpo. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on it. Is this something that you focus on when doing a technique? The pros/cons of it?

    I came across this article by Mr. Sumner and felt that it was relevent to the discussion.

    IMO, I feel that this is a big plus if these targets can be hit. I personally don't know every spot on the body, but there are some that I manage to hit with pretty good success.

    Mike
     
  2. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Good topic, MJS. My opinion, in short, is that nerve centers are great to hit, squeeze, dig, etc., but I don't teach them as routine elements of self defense because of the precision required. And we know in the adrenaline-pumping, body-sweating, jerky-moving chaos which is the reality for most in the heat of battle, it's hard to be that precise.

    But...as you said, a great plus to know them and if an opening presents itself, then go for it.

    As a sort of qualifier on what I said about not teaching them: I do put some stress on the more exposed pressure points (as philtrum, radial nerve, etc.--about 30 total), which are also more likely to be open, and also can be hit using the large body movements implanted in muscle memory (no phoenix fist required, etc.). This is especially true as students gain experience and fighting 'slows down' for them. But for the 100+(?) pressure points, no I don't teach it as a system to live by.

    Doesn't mean I don't believe it couldn't be done as a complete system, just would take longer to become effective than I believe my students would have the patience to wait.
     
  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hi Mike,

    As I recently began studying with Mr. Sumner, I have defintely noticed that he has been discussing the appropriate nerve targets integrated into the SD techs. From day one, he has been pointing these out, and demonstrating them on me with sufficient authority to leave little doubt in my mind. While I have been aware of many of them from my prior training, I have a feeling they will be brought to a higher level of clarity thru my training with Mr. Sumner. I am very much looking forward to it. I'll share any hot tidbits that seem especially good.

    As a side note, Mr. Sumner has expressed that we should keep in mind that much of what we do in kenpo can still be highly effective, even if we don't manage to "get" it 100%. This would be true, I believe, for the nerve strikes as well. If the nerve isn't hit properly, the trauma caused by the strike itself can still have a very strong effect. Hitting the nerve is extra insurance.
     
  4. 14 Kempo

    14 Kempo Grandmaster

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    Yes, I agree, good topic ... I, too, believe that pressure point attacks are too precise for a lot of people in a street war. In the beginning, soft targets seem to be more economical. On the other hand, as a person moves forward in thier martial arts training, they should become more and more aware of pressure points. Pressure points can be leveraged in many self-defense situations such as grabs and definately used to better arm and joint locks. Pressure points are also a great equalizer. Pressure point accentuate pain.
    It can be assumed, bullies or street thugs work on fear, they want to feel they can dominate. So, with that in mind, most attakers will be larger beings, rarely will a smaller person be the attacker, unless a weapon is involved. So, hitting soft targets, hitting and manipulating pressure points may be crucial to survival. Pressure points may also lessen the damage invoked upon another person, and, although I will do what it takes to survive, I would like to think a could control a situation without maming another ...
     
  5. jdinca

    jdinca Master Black Belt

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    Pressure points/nerve centers make for great targets but, as others have already said, they can be tough to hit because of size. That said, if you hit somebody in the solar plexus, you're hitting a big nerve target. A chop to the side of the neck is hitting a nerve target. Another good one is the front of the shoulder, right on the rotator cuff. Easy to hit and can definitely cause a "dead arm". Another good target but harder to hit is the brachial plexus in the arm pit. A middle knuckle strike up into that target works very nicely. These are all fairly easy to hit. It's the little guys that take more time and skill to strike.

    Great topic.
     
  6. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    OK, here are my choices for a top 30 list of ‘intermediate’ level pressure points as I alluded to in earlier post. jdinca also mentioned some of these and their value. My list is not meant to be scientific, viz., some of these technically may not be nerve centers at all, just places that hurt more than others when struck or pressured. Acid test if you’re in doubt about one of these: knead/hit yourself (or have a friend do it) in these places, and see if it hurts (e.g., knead the philtrum with your second knuckles). If it doesn't hurt, don’t use it. If so, you’ve added a tool. For me, that’s enough to be called a pressure point.

    I classify them as intermediate because they’re not that difficult to locate (don’t need to pinpoint) and as Flying Crane said, you don't usually need 100% accuracy. I don’t teach these analytically, i.e. from a list, or in any order (except that the first dozen or so, I emphasize to women's/elementary kids self-defense students). Instead, I teach them organically, as they come up in the course of a class. So, some may get more attention, some less. But somewhere around, say, green or brown belt, I would expect a student to know the value of these targets for striking, kneading, twisting, squeezing, ripping, scratching, biting, and as leverage for a takedown. All can do severe damage. Some are very dangerous to the opponent, and can cause severe injury or death. If you haven’t used any of these before, please proceed with caution as you teach, and use them only in emergency situations (and to the nay Sayers and the jaded, let me say up front that, yes, I have personally been to funerals where a routine fistfight turned deadly when one person accidentally hit a pressure point and got way more bang for his buck than either side bargained for; I have also seen the effect in the training hall, for example: an open tiger’s mouth/web hand actually delivered to the Adam’s apple—by accident/carelessness; or, a backhand to the ear. Neither was anywhere near full power or speed, yet delivered significant pain and stopped the ‘opponent’ dead).

    They are listed here in no particular order, beyond the caveat above. BTW, I’ve even given the list a name in case anyone wanted to use it. Better yet, please make suggestions and let’s improve it.

    The Dirty Thirty


    1. Groin
    2. Shin (front)
    3. Inside of thigh (kick, hit, pinch)
    4. Inside of knee
    5. Philtrum (just under nose)
    6. Adam’s apple (can be fatal)
    7. Eyes (can maim)
    8. Carotid artery (about midway between side/front of neck—can cause stroke)
    9. Inside of shin (especially on planted leg)
    10. Side of neck
    11. Feet
    12. Ear (cuff/boxer slap)
    13. Ankle
    14. Clavicle (strike: knife hands work well; pressure/takedown: drive fingers down behind clavicle)
    15. Temple
    16. Base of skull
    17. Lower abdomen (between belly button and pubic bone)
    18. Outside of knee
    19. Solar plexus
    20. Brachial nerve (top, inside of forearm, about 6-8 inches above wrist)
    21. Vastus externus (middle/back of thigh, about halfway around between side and back).
    22. Floating ribs (especially sharp, glancing blows; or, can act as spring from direct blow)
    23. Front of armpit
    24. Point of chin
    25. Jaw hinge (can seriously injure/do long-term damage)
    26. Underside of upper arm (1/3 up between elbow and shoulder, or 1/3 down from shoulder)
    27. Wrist (top/underside)
    28. Small of back (can cause spinal damage, paralysis)
    29. Back/hollow of knee
    30. Coccyx (Tailbone: can seriously injure)
    31. Achilles tendon
    32. Upper back (between shoulder blades: can cause paralysis)

    OK, so I couldn’t cut it down to an even 30. :) Nothing stuck out to me as not fitting for this level of training (through about brown belt, or maybe 2 ½-3 ½ years of training in non-belted arts).

    (NOTE: the MT encyclopedia has an excellent reference to human anatomy, with great graphics, where these could be easily pictured).

    Responses?
     
  7. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Glad you like the topic!:ultracool We're pretty much on the same page. My instructor doesn't focus on them as in depth as some, but does have some knowledge of them from his Arnis background. Just last week I was running through some techs. with him and managed to target one on the inside of his arm with my block. Do I know which one it was? Not a clue, but I do know that he commented that my block had something 'extra' packed in it. :)
     
  8. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey Mike! Yes, I do recall you saying that you began training again. I'd certainly be interested in hearing anything else you'd like to share during training with Mr. Sumner! :)

    Agreed!
     
  9. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes, I agree with the grabs. IMO, that is a situation where things may be a bit more stationary, so targetting them could be a bit easier. Also like you said about the joint locks. Nothing like adding in a little extra pain in addition to the lock!
     
  10. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Great list! Thanks for posting!!:ultracool Its really amazing, how many of these targets we hit everytime we run thru a technique. I recall looking thru Ed Parkers book 4, which lists a number of targets, the best tool to strike them with and the effect/result that hitting them will have. Good stuff!!
     
  11. DavidCC

    DavidCC Master of Arts

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    Since my teacher started training under Jim Corn and Evan Pantazzi in Kyusho International, we have been adjusting the targeting in our techniques. Small adjustments really...

    in Ki they have progressive levels, starting with revivals but then:
    arm points
    head points
    body points
    leg points
    points used in grappling
    kyusho vs weapon attacks
    (a couple more levels... not sure what they are)
     
  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Hey Mike,

    I suspect you are familiar with Headlock, from Tracy's Orange Belt curriculum? We worked that last night and I had the opportunity to relearn the tech. Big eye opener. Just from last night, my understanding of this tech is so much better than it had been before.

    In the "A" version of the tech, with the headlock administered from the side. Mr. Sumner commented on the double hammerfists, to the groin and kidneys simultaneously. This not only compacts the force into the torso, but actually compacts a complete bodily system. The kidneys are at the beginning of the urinary system, and the groin, of course, is at the end. The fact that this compaction is on a bodily system, gives the double strike a greater potential for real damage, rather than just compressing a random body part between two hammerfists.

    When peeling the bad guy off you, I had always just reached up to grab the hair and yank back and down, while pivoting to a bow and driving a palm heel under his chin. Sure, it works, but Mr. Sumner had us do it by reaching around from behind all the way to the face, and laying a finger (doesn't really matter which one) under his nose. You then use that as a nerve point to drive his head back and peel him off you. The thing is, you need to lift your hand up so it is not resting on his cheek, just the finger under the nose, or you loose a lot of the effect.

    But if he turns his head away and you can't get under his nose, you can drive a finger behind his ear, or under the line of his jawbone, or under his cheek bone. I had been aware of the one behind the ear, and under the jawbone, but the cheek was one I was only dimly aware of, and I hadn't put it into the context of a tech like this one.

    Years ago, I accidentally kicked a classmate in capoeira, in the cheek. I must have hit that nerve, because I basically knocked her out. She rolled away, and just lay there, and when she came to, she said she could hear everyone around her, but couldn't respond. And she said that the teeth on the top of her mouth, on that side of her face, felt like they were on fire, very very painful. I must have hit that cheek nerve that serves those teeth, and it had a tremendous effect. I felt terrible, but learned something, but wasn't sure exactly how to duplicate that.

    I think in class last night, Mr. Sumner pointed out that same one, if you dig around under the cheek bone, it is really sensitive and you can drive someone off you with this.

    So this is the kind of thing he is teaching, as this stuff is integrated right in the SD techs we do. It's a real learning experience, I feel like I am learning so much that I missed the first time around.

    Lovin' it!
     
  13. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    I like this one too. Actually learned it in Kung Fu San Soo, and have found it works from behind opponent, from in front, etc. (and especially since so many guys are wearing very short hair these days). From in front, I've found the thumb sometimes feels more natural.

    Good ones! Another, similar move that takes less technique (which I usually have--less technique, that is :) ), is to reach around the arm he's holding me with and over his shoulder (as I think you're describing here), and use knife hand to push into top of throat (and peel him backwards). In headlock escape, I teach students to stand on near foot while peeling, ensuring a takedown.
    This knifehand/swordhand/swordarm also works as a simple strike from any position. (OT: Carl Cestari has a series of DVDs based on this strike. Hard to find, tho).

    Wasn't aware of this one. Thanks for sharing its location and effectiveness. Now if I can only find it, and learn to use it....
     
  14. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well, after the Capoeira incident, I checked my old Anatomy text from college, and there is a nerve feeding the teeth and perhaps other parts of the face, and it comes out from behind the bone somewhere on the cheek. It serves the teeth on the top of the mouth, so I believe I must have struck that one. I don't remember the name of that nerve.

    However, if you go to the outside corner of your eye, and follow straight down your cheek, over the cheekbone to the underside of the cheekbone, and dig your thumb up and under the bone, you will feel it can be quite sensitive. I don't know if this is part of the same nerve I struck, but that is where Mr. Sumner was instructing us to drive in a finger to force back the bad guy.
     
  15. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Yep, found it. Thanks.
     
  16. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    This thread had gotten my intellectual juices flowing. I've often wondered what I might pick up, if I made a concentrated effort to understand the effects of nerve strikes. Problem was, in the past it was always sort of knowledge in a vacuum and I wasn't sure how to apply it.

    I think with my current training, I can augment it with a systematic study of the old college texts. Instead of trying to study the nervous system as a whole, perhaps it makes more sense to consult the texts on a case-by-case basis, as it comes up in the context of my training. As we work on a tech, explore the nerve attacks built in, I could reinforce the information by looking up those particular nerves in the books, see exactly where they go and what they do, etc., and hopefully solidify my understanding of the whole thing.

    Thanks for this thread, Mike, good topic!
     
  17. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Now if we could just talk you into shaing all that applied research with the rest of us. :uhyeah:
     
  18. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Ok, guess it's time I bought that series. Since my training is Shaolin (influenced strongly by Kung Fu San Soo), and not Ed Parker's American Kenpo, never got around to it...till now. Thanks for the tip.
     
  19. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    i'll see what i can do...
     
  20. kidswarrior

    kidswarrior Senior Master

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    Looking back over this thread, see that I neglected to say something important. Printed out and have been underlining and rereading Mr. Sumner's article. Three things jump off the page: why the muscles fail with nerve strikes; why knockouts occur (as for example with the technique some call a combat slap); and the ability to apply sliding scale force without striking when dealing with over-the-line friends (or that drunk bro-in-law). Have had these thoughts, but really helped to see them articluated this clearly. Good link, Mike. :ultracool123
     

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