Pressure Point Self Defense

There are many myths, half-truths and falsehoods about pressure points floating around the martial arts community. Please take the time to read why understanding how to use pressure points can make you a better martial artist and safer citizen.

First let's explain what pressure points are. Pressure points are areas of the body where energy is most efficiently transferred into the central nervous system. They are located typically where a nerve ends, crosses or Y's and can be accessed between muscles, tendons, ligaments and visceral tissue.
Although strength is not a requirement, accuracy and skill are crucial components of successful activation. We use standard accupunture nomenclature. This allows practitioners the ability to resource reference charts, books, etc to explore a more indepth study of the art of kyusho jitsu (pressure point fighting).

Here are some beliefs held about pressure points.

  • Pressure Points don’t work. Well, pressure points like many things work on a bell curve. The general population will have a predictable response as follows. 80% of people will have a good response to pressure point activation. 10% will have a hyper response while the other 10% will have a minimal response. So right away we have a study that is 90% effective. Chip away at the other 10% with principle based knowledge and you have an art form that is 95% effective. Ask any scientist if a subject matter that has this high a success rate is worthy of study.
  • You can’t use them in a “real” situation. Pressure points are the keystone of effective self defense skills. The icing on the cake. If you were to strike someone, why not aim specifically. What do you have to lose? Miss the point and you still get to hit them.
  • There are too many to learn. There are over 360 pressure point on the human body with another 300 plus extraordinary points. While the sheer numbers can be quite intimidating, many pressure point experts focus on just a handful of points. A practical approach would be to learn 2 points per arm, leg, torso and head/neck. Learn them inside and out so that you can activate them under stress in any given situation.

Pressure point study (kyusho jitsu) is a universal body of knowledge that is a constant in all self protection arts, regardless of style. Why not use them? They are there anyway. You have nothing to lose and with proper training they can dramatically increase the likelihood of a positive outcome in a self defense encounter. As Master Mark Gridley, the developer of "Anatomical Targeting Strategies" for Combat Hapkido likes to say......... "AIM SMALL, MISS SMALL"