Are Pressure Points Real?
What are karate pressure points? These are specific spots on the human body that produce significant pain when hit or touched in a specific manner. You can use pressure points to release your attacker’s grip on your arm or cause spasms by striking their solar plexus.
The most contradicting subject about martial arts pressure points is whether they are real or not. Here’s all you need to know about karate pressure points.
The Different Types of Karate Pressure Points
Martial arts such as Kung Fu and Karate use pressure points. However, the martial art most related to pressure point fighting is Kyusho Jitsu. Pressure points are places on the body where the nerves branch off or end.
Pressure Point Fighting, otherwise known as “knockout pressure points,” is a subject covered in intrigue and mystery. Are pressure points real? It’s not easy to assign a clear definition to Pressure Point Fighting because it has different meanings to different people, more so in martial arts.
You might have heard about the strange and ancient kung fu masters who could effortlessly knock out bigger and stronger opponents with a simple touch of their hand. Or perhaps you have read stories about the Zen master who kills his opponents with the slightest touch of his index finger. (Also known as the death touch)
According to Kyusho Jitsu, the human body has more than 350 pressure points. However, only a small percentage of these points are usable for self-defense. Many pressure points are around joint areas in the body, such as the knees.
The concept of pressure points originated in Asian countries and is not related to modern Western culture. It started with traditional Chinese and Indian medicine but also with martial arts. Here are the different types of pressure points to knock someone out:
You cannot activate these knockout points with a light touch despite the name. Although you don’t need to put much pressure, the best way to activate these pressure points is by pressing them.
All you need to do for these pressure points is rub the point in question well. Basically, these knockout pressure points maintain their literal meaning and don’t require too much force from you.
Strike points come in handy during combat and self-defense. That is why they are the most dangerous moves and need more pressure.
Examples of Karate Pressure Point Targets
If you want to finish a karate fight before it’s even started, you must be able to hit effectively. The best way to do this is by attacking your opponent on pressure points that hurt the most. Here are some moves you can make to stop trouble before it starts during Karate:
- Striking the back of your opponent’s hand. For instance, if your opponent is grabbing your shirt, you can strike your knuckles against the back of your opponent’s grasping hand.
- Strikes to the solar plexus. This strike is not flashy in any way. It is very painful and will stop even an experienced martial arts opponent in his tracks. That’s because they won’t be able to breathe. As they struggle to find their balance, you can strike them a few more times to finish them off.
Pressure Point Fighting
Pressure point combat is a type of combat that mainly utilizes pressure points to defeat the opponent in a fight. A powerful and intentional strike to a human pressure point may cause one of the following physiological responses:
- Extreme pain
- Motor dysfunction
- Stunning effect or sensation
- Loss of balance
- Reflex response
The pressure points fighting style is not just vulnerable to powerful strikes. You may also attack your opponent by compressing their pressure point, e.g., a rear naked choke. What happens when a pressure point is compressed?
Strongly compressing a human pressure point target for a prolonged time may cause some of the below physiological responses:
- Balance disruption
- Motor dysfunction
- Involuntary muscular spasms
- Loss of consciousness
In modern martial arts, pressure point fighting can fall under the below categories:
- Pain-compliant pressure point combat
- Blood flow compliant pressure point combat
- Pressure point fighting that depends on the impact
As you can see, each of the above methods focuses on a unique aspect. Because of this difference, the consequence of each technique is also unique. For example, using techniques that focus on impact can easily cause your opponent to lose their balance.
During pressure point combat, you can impact pressure to a pressure point area by striking it using a natural body weapon. Some common and effective pressure point areas you can target include the femoral nerve, the common peroneal nerve, and the infraorbital.
The Carious Knockout Pressure Points
Karate pressure points knockout is a common term in martial arts, especially in pressure points fighting style. However, the definition of such pressure points is not always clear. The term “knockout pressure points” is vague because it does not literally mean “pressure points to knock your opponent out.”
There are two ways to define knockout pressure points, but neither is completely correct. The difference lies in the intensity of the applied pressure.
According to some martial arts experts, knockout pressure points are targets that cause brief dizziness for the opponent. Other martial artists see knockout pressure points as targets that cause a significant form of dizziness which causes the knees to weaken or buckle.
Unfortunately, using pressure point fighting in combat does not guarantee you will knock out your competitor. Because of this, some martial arts experts consider karate pressure points knockout impractical and inaccurate for real-world self-defense. Fighting techniques that are dependent on “transitory dizziness” are not enough for actual self-defense conditions.
Using Pressure Points for Self-Defense
When under a real attack, time is crucial, and you must employ fighting methods that produce immediate results. To successfully achieve the desired effect, you must be precise, strong, and hit the right spot.
In real-world self-defense, the safest and surest method of pressure point fighting is using techniques that result in immediate and complete loss of consciousness to the invader.
In contemporary fighting arts, knockout pressure points literally mean pressure points that knock your opponent out. Hitting these pressure points with the right pressure will cause an immediate and complete loss of consciousness for the attacker. The keywords are “complete” and “immediate.” To achieve this, you may implement any of the below:
There are two main ways to deliver a knockout pressure point that causes an immediate and complete loss of consciousness. These are blood flow knockout pressure points and impact knockout pressure points. Let’s take a quick look at these two methods.
Impact knockout pressure points are sensitive and vital anatomical targets you can strike with your limbs. For example, you can knock your opponent out with a power punch. You may also strike these combat pressure points using handheld weapons, such as a club or the kubotan stick.
Blood flow knockout pressure points – If you apply deliberate pressure to these targets, your opponent can immediately lose consciousness. However, to successfully make such moves in a real-life situation, you must be well-skilled.
Fighting Pressure Points for Self Defense
While some martial arts experts argue there is no such thing as a “pressure point,” there are plenty of sensitive parts on the body that you can use to your advantage when you’re under attack.
In situations where you must defend yourself, prevent too much injury, or save your life, you must think of a move that works and works fast. Being in the fight for a long time puts your life in danger. In such situations, you must think of a move that will cause maximum damage in the simplest and safest way possible.
Striking a sensitive area on your attacker’s body can turn a fight to your advantage by disarming them, knocking them down, and helping you gain control over them. The best pressure points areas you may target are our eyes, ears, chin, nose, temple, and throat.
Only hit an attacker in the above areas if the situation is life-threatening. That is because kicking or hitting a vulnerable area can result in permanent damage or even death. Below is a list of targets that easily get injured with minimal effort:
The eyes are a rather obvious soft target. The eyes are sensitive organs making them one of the most vulnerable combat pressure points. If they get injured, they can be in a lot of pain and, while in that state, lose their vision. Having a thumb dug into the eye socket or the eyeball scratched with fingernails will immediately set you in panic and too much pain.
When under attack, spread your middle finger and index finger out and quickly strike both of your attacker’s eyes. If they raise their hands to protect the face, use your other hand to move their hands away, hold the back of their head, or strike a different part of their body.
Poking the eyes is a great way to get away from someone when under attack because they can not chase you if they can’t see. Continually applying pressure to your attacker’s eyes after striking damages the optic nerve and can cause permanent blindness.
Striking your attacker’s temple will completely disorient them. The temple is right across the eyebrows, behind, and slightly above the eyes. The temple is one of the softest locations in the head, and striking it causes intense pain.
When under attack, use an open palm or a closed fist to slam against the side of your attacker’s head. The pain will disorient them and give them time to prepare for their next move.
The temple is the point where four different bones in the skull link together. That makes it a very sensitive part. The bone structure here is also weaker than other skull parts and could easily break if hit too hard. Using an open palm will reduce the odds of killing someone when doing this.
We need the windpipes to breathe. Breaking your attacker’s windpipe will disrupt their breathing and cause dizziness. Any small strike to the attacker’s throat can stop the attack, even if just momentarily. While they are still trying to get their balance, you will have time to recoup or even run.
If the attacker is facing the opposite direction, you can strike them on the back of the neck. This area is also sensitive since it contains a lot of glands and neurological structures which play a crucial part in our bodies.
The spinal code and the balance-control center are also in this area. That shows you how dangerous this area is, but also very useful if you find yourself in a life-threatening situation.
A hard slap right on the ear is very painful and can cause the ear to ring. If the blow is too hard, it could rupture the eardrum. The ears help us to maintain our balance, and if hit with too much force, one can lose their balance. Using this move on an attacker will buy you time to prepare for other ways to defend yourself or run to a safer place.
The groin is one of the most sensitive areas of the human body. One good strike to the groin can put your attacker out of commission. They will quickly drop down, buying you time to subdue them or run. They will have trouble standing straight because attacks to the groin cause nausea.
The chin and Jaw area is sensitive and will cause much pain if hit hard. That is because this area connects to the skull, mouth, and teeth, which are sensitive and can cause a lot of pain.
Punching or kicking your attacker’s gut hard will bring them to their knees. Unlike the lungs and other areas, there are no bones to protect the vital organs in this region. That means you can hit as hard without inflicting any pain on yourself.
When targeting this pressure point, use a closed fist to punch the attacker right below the belly button. You may also use a bent foot to strike the invader’s gut if it’s easier. If you miss the target area, hitting the kidneys or bladder will have a similar effect.
Kicking the back side of your attacker’s knee is another great way to defend yourself when under attack. To carry out this move, lift your foot while aiming the heel of your shoe at your attacker’s knee.
Kicking the knee behind the kneecap or from the side will instantly knock the opponent down. This move is a great option if you are grappling with your attacker and your arms are busy.
Targeting the wrist is one move that can instantly save you if your attacker is holding a weapon. In such a situation, you will need to grab the front of the attacker’s hand using your dominant hand and the side of their wrist with your other hand.
Once you grip both sides of their hand, bend the wrist inwards, forcing them to drop the weapon. Pulling their arm behind them while grabbing their wrist will cause a wrist twist, allowing you to completely subdue your opponent.
Pressure points in martial arts are a broad topic with many controversies. While some martial arts experts believe there is no such thing as pressure points, others believe there are places on the human body that, if hit the right way, will give you an edge over the competitor.
Although it is unclear whether pressure point fighting is real in martial arts, there are plenty of sensitive parts of the body that you can use to your advantage when under attack. Striking a sensitive area correctly with the right force can save your life.
Pressure point fighting targets areas that are easily injured using a minimal amount of force. Such targets include the eyes, ears, throat, knees, wrists, and temple. Always remember these targets for purposes of self-defense.