The Truth About Dim Mak or Kyushu-jutsu 急所術

Kyusho-jutsu is a contentious discipline, and many interpretations exist for its effectiveness. Through my practice and teaching I’ve come to understand what works best through personal successes or failures – but everyone’s experience may be unique, and different.

So let’s briefly uncover the age-old martial art of Kyusho-jutsu, also known as Dim Mak – a style that revolves around targeting vulnerable points in the body to gain a combative advantage.

I am not a believer in relying on a single, structured principle the “stand like this and grab me here” method. I believe true fighting is messy and ever-changing. Thus it’s necessary to be flexible with powerful strikes that can adjust in the midst of combat. And always have plan B.

From major nerve clusters to simple reflex reactions, certain pressure points on the body can be a tremendous ally in times of struggle. Whether subduing an attacker or simply controlling aggression, these sensitive areas are often overlooked amidst more traditional tactics but could prove invaluable for those who know how and when to make use of them.

Activating pressure points isn’t always a one-size-fits-all solution, as the process for each can differ depending on its location and desired outcome. Strong pressure or dynamic striking may be necessary to bring the desired results.

Let’s look at three sample targets and methods of application.

1- Striking the brachial plexus nerve located on either side of a person’s neck, can be an effective way to quickly distract and disarm someone with aggressive intentions. Delivering a solid blow using the back or front of your forearm, or even just your hand can cause them to become dazed, unbalanced, and in some cases disoriented enough that they may actually lose consciousness for up to several minutes. Additionally this could also lead to temporary memory loss and lasting nausea.

2- Radial Nerve (forearm)—Strike this point with a hammer fist, using the forearm to strike that of the subject midway up the arm toward the elbow. This technique is effective for when the resistive adversary is holding onto an object or grabbing hold of your wrist. A strike to the radial nerve is likely to cause the opponent to let go of what he or she is holding.

3- Common Peroneal Nerve (side of leg). Strike the attacker on the side of the leg between the hip and the knee with your knee or shin. Striking the common peroneal nerve will not only cause pain, but will also work as a distractor to allow you to initiate a control hold, or a takedown. This strike will often result in the resistive subject losing control of his leg, causing him to go to the ground. If you are under ‘flurry’ attack by an aggressive assailant, you may choose shin kicks to the attacker’s common peroneal, to slow down the barrage.

In conclusion – If you practice martial arts as a hobby and enjoy attending an entertaining seminar on mysterious energy lines, or in contrast, engage in highly combative practice seeking actual ‘life protection skills’ Kyusho-jitsu offers much content for consideration. But never forget that to be successful in any combat situation, you must master four key components: understanding of time and distance (ma-ai) the ability to strike powerfully, gaining control over your adversary (locks and controls) and always having a backup plan.