Thursday, August 23, 2012

Single-Track Training

  I was discussing the use of pressure points recently with someone, and they began the “You can't use them in a confrontation” (argument?). When confronted with this (supposed) “point”, I'm a little bit perplexed.
  First off, the individual (obviously) doesn't know or understand how the points are used, and second, I really don't feel like having to explain it to them.
  There are so many misconceptions about pressure points out there, that the subject is becoming more of a (teaching) liability than a curriculum asset.
  I think most of it comes from the (general) public's need to be “Wowed”. If it (whatever “it” is) isn't in your face, and impressive (enough), then the public (opinion) either doesn't notice, or doesn't care.
  When Taika was still doing “open” seminars (that allowed anyone to attend), I would have to endure listening to some of the most stupid comments/questions that were being made to him (it was no wonder he quit doing those seminars, LOL). Though he made his manner of performing neck-strikes popular, he also sullied the subject, by allowing attendee's to focus on that single application of what he was attempting to illustrate.
  If you've ever endured one of the sales pitch's for the (numerous) gimmick “pressure point” salesmen, then you'd be inclined to believe that these “pressure points” are the answer to any of your own (inability to actually work on your chosen art) requirements and/or deficiency's.
  Pressure points, are no more, or any less, than any other asset in one's collection of applications to utilize (should the situation call for it). As one becomes more familiar with them and their locations (as well as understanding how and when they are most practically applied), they do tend to be utilized with greater frequency.
  What people don't (want to?) understand, is that they are rarely used as a “solo” application. They are most often utilized within a common technique's application (punch, kick, grab etc.). Unless one was (already) aware of the locations significance, it would never be related to even being considered to be a “pressure point” application.
     The majority of the yahoo's that are promoting (“their”) pressure point applications, are only pummeling their (victims) student's on the neck. This is in NO WAY a demonstration of skill or knowledge (much less ability).
   The neck is a very vulnerable area (to any impact). Regardless of how one chooses to strike it, your likely to witness some manner of results (that occur from any impact upon it). They most likely won't be what your expecting (like the eye's rolling-back, and the subject going unconscious), but you will produce some level of an arguably usable result.
  As with most subjects, this one has different uses depending on the knowledge level of the implementer. To achieve a (simplistic) “reaction”, is easy. To achieve the exact reaction (that you want and/or need) requires far more skill/knowledge (than what you'll achieve through these charlatan's).
  I think the greatest disappointment (for the student's of these joker's) is the fact that what they're shown to do, won't work the way they wanted it to. The facts are, that there is no short-cuts, and/or easy way to learn these technique's (and that's all that they are, technique's).
  As long as the student can avoid the TCM nonsense, and approach the technique's as a (yet another) physical application, they are not that difficult to incorporate into one's repertoire.
  We usually have student's begin with gaining an understanding of the limbs ROM (Range Of Motion), as they become more familiar with those, we begin adding (related) locations that can be utilized (in various manners) that will affect the various limb's ROM.
  In addition to the ROM knowledge, a student must understand a limb's interrelationship with rest of the body. Any action perpetrated upon any location upon the body, will produce correlating effects elsewhere (upon the subject's body).
  This is why/how we confirm the proper application of a tuite technique (performed on an uke's wrist). If/when we can see the proper knee reaction, we know the technique has been properly applied (if there is no knee-reaction, the technique was not being properly applied).
  This interrelationship is not based upon some magical voodoo nonsense that depends on the time of day to establish applicability. It's based upon physiological facts (having more to do with balance than with any manner of “Chinese elemental” theory/crap). This interrelationship is demonstrated to student's through a simplistic exercise that we call, the fist pressure demonstration.
  The student will assume a stance, although irrelevant which one, it's easier to illustrate the principle if/when the student assumes a stance where both legs are tensed (like a horse stance). The student then extends a fist to their front (as if performing a punch), while tensing the muscles in their entire body (remember, this is only being done for testing/illustration purposes, not to evaluate someone's punching manner/technique).
  While the student's fist is extended, the other person will apply pressure (usually with only the fingertips) against the (either/any) side of the student's extended fist/arm. In addition to the (obvious) pressure applied against the hand/arm, the student should (additionally) note the muscular reaction being created (because of the applied pressure) to other locations upon the entire body.
  This is most obvious within the leg muscles of the individual. As pressure is varied (between top, bottom and either side), the corresponding (muscular) reactions change to match those (directional) differences. Though most easily detected within the leg muscles, similar reactions occur throughout the entire body. It's those reactions, that the student will begin to correlate to locations for their striking techniques.
  This (simplistic) illustration of the human body's (limb's) anatomical interrelationship, is only another one of the learning model's that are provided for a student's understanding of the taught principles. Regardless if the student is using “pressure points” (or not), understanding that nothing on or within the human body operates independently, without the interaction of (usually several) other aspects of the individual's anatomy is essential to learning how to control, manipulate and/or debilitate an aggressor. 


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