Pressure Point Fighting or “knockout pressure points” is a subject that is shrouded in mystery and intrigue. However, assigning a clear cut definition to the term Pressure Point Fighting is not such an easy task because it will have different meanings to different people, especially martial artists.
Depending on the martial arts style or system, pressure point fighting can range from being functional and pragmatic to downright ridiculous. In my reality based self defense system, Contemporary Fighting Arts, our pressure point fighting techniques differ drastically from most martial arts pressure points by focusing exclusively on real world self defense applications. This means our pressure point fighting methodology is efficient, effective and safe which means that you will stand the best chances of success when faced with a self defense encounter.
Pressure Point Fighting Myths
I’m sure at one point of another you have heard about the mysterious and ancient kung fu masters who can effortlessly knockout a larger and stronger foes with a simple touch of their hand. Or perhaps you have heard about the Zen master who can kill with just the slightest touch of his index finger – known as the death touch or “dim mak.”
I am a martial arts innovator with over 30 years of training in reality based self defense and I can assure you that such old school martial arts pressure point stories are nothing more than fairy tales, absolute nonsense that deserves the very same credibility as Santa Claus and the Golden Goose. Sadly enough, there are droves of gullible people who will actually believe such rubbish and actually devote a good portion of their lives to pursue and study it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible to kill a man with one strategically placed blow, but it has absolutely nothing to do with mysterious martial arts pressure points, ancient masters or esoteric teachings.
“Pressure point fighting for real world conditions has nothing to do with ancient martial arts masters or esoteric teachings.”
Pressure Point Fighting Defined
So exactly what is the definition of human pressure points as it relates to fighting? In several of my books, I mentioned the characteristics of pressure points used in combat situations. I wrote, “a pressure point is a specific area on the human body where a nerve lies close to its surface and is supported by bone or a muscle mass. Direct pressure to a pressure point area is applied by striking it with a natural body weapon. Some effective pressure point areas include: common peroneal nerve, femoral nerve and the infra orbital.”
What Happens When a Pressure Point is Struck?
A powerful and deliberate strike to a human pressure point target may cause some of the following physiological responses to occur:
- Extreme pain
- Stunning effect or sensation
- Motor dysfunction
- Balance disruption
- Reflex response
What Happens When a Pressure Point is Compressed?
Pressure points targets are not just vulnerable to strikes, they can also be compressed such as a rear naked choke technique. A strong and prolonged compression to a human pressure point target may cause some of the following physiological responses to occur:
- Motor dysfunction
- Balance disruption
- Involuntary muscular spasms
- Loss of consciousness
If we take it one step further, we can divide pressure point fighting into one of three possible categories:
Three Types of Pressure Point Fighting
- Pain compliance pressure point fighting
- Blood flow pressure point fighting
- Impact pressure point fighting
What are Knockout Pressure Points?
The term “knockout pressure points” is vague and paradoxical and does not always literally mean “pressure points to knock someone out”. This is because the words “knock out” often means different things to different people, especially martial artists. For example, according to some practitioners of karate, knockout pressure points are those targets which cause brief dizziness for the adversary while other martial artists see it as targets that create a significant form of dizziness that causes your knees to weaken or buckle.
“Unfortunately, pressure point fighting does not always mean that you will knockout your opponent.”
The truth is both definitions of knockout pressure points are inaccurate and certainly impractical for real world self defense applications. Pressure point fighting techniques that simply promote “transitory dizziness” are inadequate for real world self defense conditions. In many cases, they will not work on psychotics, drunks or drugged assailants as well as many other real world conditions. Consider the dangers of applying one of those dubious martial arts pressure points or what I like to call “dizzying techniques” on an enraged attacker high on PCP.
By now you should have concluded that pain compliance pressure point fighting cannot be considered as a knockout pressure point. While pain compliance techniques do have its purpose in some self defense situations, it should never be associated with words like “knock out.” As you would have guessed, there are only two types of pressure point fighting that can literally be used to knock someone out! They are blood flow and impact pressure point fighting.
“Blood flow and impact pressure points are the only two forms of pressure point fighting that will allow you to knockout your opponent.”
Knockout Pressure Points in Real World Self-Defense
In real world self defense, time is a critical factor and you must employ street fighting techniques that produce immediate results. Therefore, the only safe and sure-fire method of pressure point fighting are those techniques that produce an immediate and complete loss of consciousness for the adversary.
In Contemporary Fighting Arts, when we say knockout pressure points, we literally mean pressure points that knock someone out. And since we only focus on real world self defense applications we define knockout pressure points as those targets that cause a complete and immediate loss of consciousness for the adversary. The operative words are “complete” and “immediate”.
“In real world self defense, time is of essence. You must employ pressure point techniques that produce immediate and complete loss of consciousness for the adversary.”
Essentially, there are only two ways to deliver a knockout pressure point that leads to a complete and immediate loss of consciousness. They are: impact knockout pressure points and blood flow knockout pressure points. Lets take a quick look at each one.
- Impact knockout pressure points – these are vital and sensitive anatomical targets that can be struck with your limbs. For example, knocking someone out with a power punch. Impact knockout pressure points can also be struck with various hand held weapons, such as the kubotan stick, or club.
- Blood flow knockout pressure points – when deliberate pressure is applied to these life sustaining targets, almost immediate unconsciousness can occur. See Choke Out: Mastering the Rear Naked Choke to learn more about blood flow knockouts.
Pressure Point Fighting Targets
I could write several more articles addressing different pressure point targets as they relate to self defense and personal protection, but for the purposes of this article I just want to focus on impact knockout pressure point targets. Essentially, when I say, impact knockout pressure point targets, I’m talking about exclusively striking the assailant’s head, or what I call “head hunting.” Therefore, the pressure point fighting targets for real world self-defense include:
- Back of Neck
Unfortunately, time doesn’t allow me to go into the specific body mechanics of pressure point fighting, but if you’d like to learn more, see our instructional DVD Pressure Points: The Science of Striking Vital Targets.
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