Friday, February 18, 2011

Pressure Point Training

My style of Jiu Jitsu incorporates pressure point training. My Sensei has been studying the internal arts for several decades, and is skilled in acupressure, acupuncture and various forms or hands-on healing.  He has a scary knowledge of the body's pressure points.  We receive the benefit of pressure point training.

There are many naysayers out there. There are lots of videos touting one touch knock outs, paralyzing techniques and the like.  Some say the 'masters' are frauds, doing rehearsed demonstration with students who are just acting.   I used to be a one of these doubters. Now I have no doubt.

I am very much a "prove it" kind of guy. My Sensei has now nearly knocked me out from a pressure point strike, and had temporarily made my legs and my arms useless while doing technique. 

Key Points:

1.  Not everyone reacts the same way.  People with closed off channels and poor Qi are less susceptible to many techniques.  Don't assume a dramatic reaction from anyone.

2.  They can be dangerous.  One night a particularly nasty technique was done on my wrist, between the tendons.  I believe this is the heart channel, or maybe my lung.  If I have this wrong, forgive me, I've learned where the points are but have yet to learn what they're associated to according to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  

Anyway, the pressure sent a shock wave up my arm and my head went all wonky (no other way to describe it).  I recovered and continued on.  In the middle of the night I woke up sitting bolt upright.  I had spasms in my chest and temporarily could not catch my breath.  This was followed by deep coughing.  Within a minute or so it passed (and no, it wasn't a heart attack, I checked)

Now I can't scientifically prove that it was as a direct result of the pressure point manipulation (that particular one isn't supposed to be stimulated after 9 p.m, by the way), but I can't help but think that there's a connection.  Not sure I'd go so far as believing in the old "5 finger, 3 day later exploding heart technique", but there's definitely something to this pressure point stuff.  So proceed with caution and under a qualified practitioner.

3.  They should never be the main focus of the techniques.  I like to think of them as assisting techniques.  This is perhaps most important.  The technique you are executing must be able to work without the addition of pressure point manipulation.  In my training, if I grab a hand to manipulate the wrist, I now try to land on a pressure point when I grip.  If I'm striking the opponent, I try to land it on another point and so on.  Don't ever rely solely on a pressure point. If it doesn't work, you're wide open to an attack.

Adding pressure points into your training can be fun and challenging.  The nice part is eventually it becomes second nature and makes every technique that much better.  It also adds yet another layer to your study.  In my style of Jiu Jitsu, many techniques rely on distraction, re-direction and the application of pain.  Pressure points are a great way to do this.  As with most worthwhile pursuits, I believe it's transferable to a variety of techniques and styles.

Have any of you had any experience with pressure points?  Do you incorporate pressure point work in your training?  

Train safely and with an open mind.


  1. I have attended a few seminars taught by Kyoshi William Hayes. He is a fantastic teacher and very nice man. He teaches applications and explains the pressure points and the cycle of destruction.

  2. Michele,

    I have not had the pleasure of training with Kyoshi Hayes. His book is still on my must read list, I believe partially as a result of your recommendation quite a while back. Reading some articles, I enjoy his take on martial science vs. martial arts. Thanks for the comment.

  3. seems like there are so many points in the human body,is it possible to learn each of them??

    Martial Art Training

  4. It is possible to learn all of them, but it would take years of dedicated study. The nice part is many of them travel on channels, or up and down the same area. It's possible to work down and arm, or neck or leg, finding each one as you go. There are some that have more effect from a martial arts perspective and some that are more for restorative action. I've learned the main 'pain' ones, and now I'm branching out in my study.

    Good luck. I hope you get a chance to use some pressure points in your study.