Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pressure Points

Martial artists are known for making use of pressure points in a fight. Whether applying a joint lock or pressing a spot on the body with a finger, martial practitioners can inflict pain, at will.

They press a spot on the arm, maybe another behind the ear, and their opponents howl in pain.

For the purpose of this discussion and this martial-arts article only, a pressure point will be any point on the body, other than a vulnerable target, that when pressed with a finger, causes pain. (This modified definition will suit our purpose.)

We could argue that an eyeball or groin is a pressure point. After all, press your finger into someone’s eyeball and you’ll get that yelp of agony.

Still, I am more interested in the almost secret pressure points. These pressure points are great for:

* Striking with a phoenix eye fist (one raised knuckle) at a particular spot, possibly to end the fight in one move.

* Pressing a particular point, to control your opponent more after snapping on a wrist lock. Use the pressure point to move your opponent.

* Either hitting or pressing a point, to cause a reaction. Your opponent retracts his (or her) arm in pain, and BAM! Exactly what you wanted.

Finding Martial Arts Pressure Points
If pressure points are such a secret how is a martial artist to find good pressure points to use in a real fight?

Don’t martial artists closely guard their pressure point secrets?

Here are my suggestions for developing good pressure points for self defense:

* Experiment with spots that you know from past experience hurt. For example the mastoid process is the soft spot behind the ear. Press that indentation lightly to feel the pain. Also, above the inside of the elbow has a good soft spot.

* Join a martial arts class that focuses on self defense. Good classes incorporate pressure points into their curriculum.

* Find Chinese health charts that show meridians and pressure points. Hint -- the pressure points shown near where muscles, ligaments, and tendons are attached often offer some painful pressure points.

* Watch videos of real fights -- or something that has a few aspects of realism, like UFC. If you see someone cause pain by hooking a thumb under the jaw, that should give you a beginning point for experimentation.

* Read more articles on the subject and take notes. For example, here’s a useful article that will take you beyond pressure points in causing pain, Martial Arts -- Beyond Pressure Points

Now, the question is ... will you be able to make use of your pressure points in a real street fight? If you worry about gripping fear in a fight, then read my ebook:

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Keith Pascal has been a full-time martial-arts writer for eight years and a martial-arts teacher for 25 years.

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