Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Application of Kyusho and Atemi Locations for Defensive Tactics

 For the student of defensive tactics, acquiring usable knowledge about the location, and the manner of using the locations of weak points (commonly referred to as Kyusho and/or Atemi points) has historically been difficult. Though many claim to teach such locations, they often prove to be previously recognized and/or invalid locations (for numerous reasons).
 This isn't to disparage (all of) those shown/taught locations, only that they aren't necessarily unknown by the student. Many of those shown are commonly realized by anyone who has ever banged their arm/leg and experienced the accompanying pain from doing so. The type of points that we are attempting to teach to student's, are those that are not generally known/realized and utilized in one's Life Protection methods. Aside from (only) causing/creating a pain reaction, these locations can/will often cause specific physical responses (that can then be utilized against an aggressor).
 Simply stating locations and providing the direction of those points utilization would not provide student's with the ability to utilize what is being shown. To be able to fully incorporate these locations into one's defensive repertoire, there are additional factors that need to be understood by the student. Those factors begin with the following subjects:
       Understanding the “Finger Pressure” Example
       Cross-Crawl Theory
       Limbs Range-of-Motion
       Nerve paths/locations throughout the human body
       Muscle Locations and functions
       Recognition of the natural motions made in response to stimuli.

The “Finger Pressure” Example
 The student's study begins with the “Finger Pressure” Example. This example has the student extend their arm with the hand formed into a fist, to the front of their body. Another person, then applies light pressure to one of the 5 available sides (top, bottom, front and either side). As this pressure is applied, the recipient should make note of the reactions created upon the rest of their body. In addition to the muscular responses created on the arm itself, there will be additional responses in the legs and body as well as upon the opposite arm.

  Depending upon the side of the hand being pressured, those reactions will vary upon the positioning of the other limbs. By becoming aware of these additional reactions, the student can begin to understand the purpose of additional motions that are taught during the instruction of various applications, though they do not (directly) cause/create pain or any noticeable responses, they are an important piece of the applications (and become extremely relevant in regards to kyusho/atemi application).
The “Cross-Crawl” Theory
 This theory is based upon the body's natural counter-balancing actions. The most obvious example of this is the motions made when someone is walking. The person's arms motion forward and back as their legs alternate forward and back. These motions are done in opposite alternating moves. As the person's right leg moves forward, their left arm moves forward, as their left leg moves forward, the right arm motions forward.
 This alternation is done to maintain a balanced and erect posture. Maintaining an erect posture is one of the most prominent traits that people will naturally attempt to maintain. This alternating action is part of the contra-lateral controlling traits of the brain.
 On the basic level, the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and vise-verse. This interactive connection extends further, in that motions and reactions made by or upon the right arm are (indirectly) correlated to the left leg, as the left arm is similarly associated to the right leg. This essentially translates as when either arm/leg is struck, the contra-lateral limb will sustain an near-equivalent reaction as well. There is a corresponding lateral response as well, when a limb (arm or leg) is struck. That doesn't mean injury, only response.
Limbs Range-of-Motion
  Knowledge of the bodies natural range-of-motion (ROM) assists the student in understanding the natural weaknesses of the limbs.
Nerve paths/locations throughout the human body
 Knowing the locations of nerves that are susceptible to external manipulation will assist the student in exploiting those weaknesses, in either strikes and/or when manipulating associated limb motion.
Muscle Locations and functions
 Having knowledge of the individual muscle's locations, points of attachment (tendons) and function will assist the student in knowing the weaknesses of those muscle's (and their associated limb function).
Recognition of the natural motions made in response to stimuli.
 Recognizing and knowing the natural motions (including reflexes) made in response to occurring events, will assist the student in knowing what can generally be expected to result from their own applied action.
 The described areas of study, are intended to assist the student in the utilization and discovery of known and (previously) unknown atemi/kyusho point locations. We provide a number of these locations for the student's initial knowledge. These introductory locations are intended to provide the student with applicable points to utilize, and become familiar with these types of striking/manipulation points and locations.
 The greatest misconception about these points, is that it is commonly (and mistakenly) believed that ALL points cause/create pain. It needs to be understood, that Kyusho means vital point. There's no implication of Pain being made by this designation. Many of these points are only applicable in certain (often positional) situations.
 Taika has stated that kyusho points, have the potential to cause serious injury with their use. Atemi points, include almost any physical action done to aid the user in protecting themselves, including distractions. This makes it difficult to specifically identify any point as being one or the other (or even both, depending upon the purpose for their being utilized).
 That being stated, many of these points can cause serious injury when used in conjunction with certain motions/techniques. Knowledge of these points, is used in unison with the student's (already) practiced techniques. This could be Tuite (The grappling/manipulation), Atemi (strikes) and/or in combinations thereof.
  The use of many of these points is additionally dependent upon the direction of the recipient’s (uke's) movement, supplemental to the direction of the tori's motion.
 Simply listing these subjects (as done here) is hardly an instructional method. It's only an informational statement. Student's are required to familiarize themselves (through provided materials and class experience) with each of them for rank advancement. 
 For many, this would go against the "poke this spot" mentality of instruction (oh well). I suppose there are situations where that would be sufficient, but for our classes, we strive for a little more cerebral ability from our student's.

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