Dead Arm Method
For the first time ever, the mystery of striking vital points will be revealed to you the reader. The much-coveted Dead Arm Method (I call it a method because there are many techniques contained in it) is now made clear to all who wish to understand this specialized method of striking vital points.
There have been many pressure point striking books marketed around the world. Many of you have found that reading about pressure points did not give you the ability to successfully strike those points. Some of those readers went to all parts of the globe to see Masters perform pressure point strikes but that did little to help them other than confirm that it works. I can go on and on about money spent on books, work shops, seminars as well as video tapes. The long and the short of it is that reading about pressure points and seeing someone striking them, probably won’t help you much. Unless someone teaches you the methods and or techniques used to strike those pressure points that you studied about in those books and traveled to see demonstrated, as those author s well know, you will never be able to perform these strikes in a combat situation. Even if it helped to learn one or two points at a seminar, which can end up being very costly as some of you already know, to get a simple understanding of striking vital points has cost some people thousands of dollars, for all of the above products. So save your money and read this article. Please take your time read and reread this article on the Dead Arm Method, till you understand it. You may find it to be the key factor to understand and comprehend the knowledge that those very masters recognize and use, but would not tell you in their books and at their seminars. When you combine the Dead Arm Method with a good understanding of the vital points of the human body, point striking will start to become usable in combat.
Starting to understand.
In the martial arts there are many secondary methods, that are a part of a primary technique, such as techniques used along with, blocks, strikes, stances, postures, side steps, jumps and so on. They may be better described as advanced methods that may be given to advanced students of a system. These skills would cause a technique to have more of a dynamic potential or may add some power or more speed or increase damage potential. Some of these you already know about like dynamic tension. Maybe you’ve heard of some additional special movements of the body for the feet and or legs even the torso and hips that maybe added to a technique or are shown in a Kata. One of these advanced techniques is called the Dead Arm Method. It is a combination of many techniques performed all at one time. Its use is to access the body’s pressure points, and or veins, arteries, nerves even the organs, of the human body, by driving a strike or block-strike technique, deep below the surface of the skin.
I witnessed this very technique, for the first time when one of my Shorin Ryu master instructors, I will call him M.R.G. who, to a large degree, understood this method given to him by his master O.S.H.S. and his top student M.F.K. who, really understood it well. It was shown to me by M.R.G. and at my request it was described to me. I carefully studied this method till it became a skill. Therefore I have earned the right to describe it to you my students. And the diligent student will achieve success in learning it. With out learning the Dead Arm Technique, there is little hope that any student will consistently strike any of the known pressure points. Fore the Dead Arm Method incorporates all the techniques that makes pressure point striking work!
Penetration is key.
The dead arm technique is primarily a penetration technique. When striking a pressure point, it is not enough just to hit the target surface nor is it enough to strike at a pressure point area as hard as you can. In fact striking as hard as possible may in fact give little to no response from most pressure points. It is not enough to focus through a vital point.
Penetration is one of the highest qualities in a successful vital point strike or for that matter any strike weather it’s a block, kick or punch. Penetration means, the infiltration of muscle mass to the place where the vital point exists. This penetration is provided by the Dead Arm Method and not just by the head of the weapon (fist, arm, foot) that you are using. One may argue that I am simply describing focus. well no I am not! The method I am about to illustrate is more than focus, although focus is a technique that must be highly developed to step up to the Dead Arm Method which is not just focus, but incorporates real focus.
Your incentive for developing the Dead Arm Method is, all points of the human body consisting of vital points that happen to be very deep inside the body, covered by a lot of well developed layers of muscle. In these cases, it would not only be necessary to have your weapon (primarily hands & feet) strong and hardened by training them. You would also need the ability to drive your chosen weapon deep enough into that muscle mass to reach the targeted vital point, be it a nerve, artery, vein, or point on a meridian. The Dead Arm Method is what true traditional Okinawa Kara Te, as well as all hard and soft styles used to propel the hardened weapon deep into the body to hit the target area. In China it is called Jing but the dead arm technique is the Japanese equivalent of Jing. Although the Dead Arm Method is not the same thing as Jing, both have the same purpose. Jing will be discussed in another article.
The Dead Arm Method is a technique that will be hard to verbalize. The reason is, I can discuss the techniques involved in this method with you all day long, that, in itself, will not give you the ability to perform the Dead Arm Technique. Even if I demonstrate the technique a thousand times, that in itself, will not give you the ability to perform it. But maybe with my explanation and quit a bit of thinking and trying on your part and lots of time and hard work, you may come to discover this method for yourselves, (which is the Okinawa Masters way). The reason I write any instructional material on my web site is so that you the student will have a partial stepping-stone type of understanding of terms and techniques. If you are the one in ten thousand who wishes to learn real Kara Te practiced in ancient times, and will work hard to develop these techniques to a single skill, you will know a hidden mystery. But you will work for it I promise you!
Many techniques become one method.
The focus of this section is to help you understand that there are many individual techniques involved in this method. Here we will line them up in their respective categories for your inspection, in hopes that my writing may be understandable to you.
Lets start the description of the Dead Arm Method by describing first the techniques that are involved with in the Dead Arm Method. These techniques must be in place first before you can achieve success in the Dead Arm Method.
First lets define relaxation. The Funk & Wagnall, in its sixth explanation of the state of being relaxed states, that it is the act of becoming less stringent or severe. For example, when you were a white belt the instructor may have ordered the class to fall into a right front stance and perform a left middle reverse punch. You may have found yourself, on your first days of class, to be nervous which caused you to be rigid and possibly finding it very difficult to perform. You may have looked and felt like a pig on roller skates! But after ten thousand such executions of that same reverse punch the tightness left you and you started to become more and more relaxed. That bad feeling of performing this technique left you. This would be a prerequisite to learning the Dead Arm Method. Absolute relaxation is the reason the Okinawa Masters named this technique Dead Arm, meaning relaxed arm, when applied to the arm. It is when relaxation of mobility and spirit, the shen or the mind produce easy moving and relaxed QI flow that, 1) protects the body 2) brings protective QI to the striking weapon 3) with special training can shot QI into the enemy or suck QI out of his body.
The second would be to focus on the true target or real focus target. The word focus could be defined as: 1. Optics, The point to which a system of light rays converges after passage through a lens or other optical arrangement, or after reflection from a mirror. 2. The point from which such rays appear to diverge 3. The place where a visual image is clearly formed as in the eye of a camera, the point of convergence of the rays is called real focus;
Understanding how the use of eye glasses work, can help use understand the term real focus, better. The human eye that is physically impaired may not be able to identify what the eye thinks it sees or has targeted with out the use of a glass lens in front of it. The lens may clarify the targeted image. For example, if a man who is not wearing his glasses is looking down a road he may truly believe he sees a tree but then putting on his glasses he finds that it is not a tree but a man instead. The lens brings the image closer or magnifies the image. So it was the putting a lens between his eyes and the target (the man) that causes the image to become clear. This would be called true focus or real focus.
Now lets change the picture a little bit. In the martial arts, the real focus point is the hidden vital point hidden under the surface of the skin. It becomes clear that an understanding of the point to be hit and an ability to visualize the targeted vital point called (real focus) is imperative when striking a point. Without understanding the target vital point all the additional techniques in the world will become useless. It is imperative that you use your imagination to visualize the target pressure point before striking the target. You must apply relaxation of the arm and visualization of the target vital point or use real focus.
The third addition is thrust. Thrust is defined as the driving force exerted by certain propulsive devices for instance, in a jet plane, it is the engine of a jet that gives it thrust. There are many ways to gain more thrust when using an appendage to strike a human target. Many of these ways are a part of all basic martial arts. Some of them are reserved for the advanced student some depending on the style, are not. These advanced thrusting techniques are used to create more thrust by means of twisting and coiling. For example, pre twisting the upper torso, when delivering a strike, is very similar to the twisting of the body a batter would use in the sport of Baseball or a golfer uses to drive a ball across the fairway.
In the case of striking a vital point it is necessary to apply dynamic thrust to the target. Depending on the type of strike, you would use a twisting or coiling technique as a propellant to produce thrust.
At the instance of firing your appendage the hip that has been pre twisted, maybe snapped forwards which propels your weapon in the proper direction at greater speed giving your weapon more thrust. Another is to add to your forward foot a prearranged turn in the direction of the strike or block-strike. This also will create additional thrust to your weapons thrust potential. Dropping your center of gravity suddenly will give you the ability to move faster which can add thrust. Thrust is a major component to penetration so to your relaxation you would add thrust aimed at the real focus point. I must add that relaxation and thrust are difficult to combine but the key to accomplishing this is to find a suitable balance between the two factors.
The fourth technique is to be added to the intended weapon a quality of heaviness, This is the second reason the Masters named this technique DEAD ARM.
Question… have you ever fallen asleep and on awakening your arm has fallen dead asleep? Doesn’t it feel extremely heavy? Or have you ever picked up a sleeping baby, isn’t it exceptionally heavy? These are but two of many examples of dead weight in human form. It is the same type of dead weight that is the basis of the dead arm method. An explanation of this is, the average arm weight is about twenty pounds or so, and it is when we use that weight as dead weight in the process of delivering a strike or block-strike at a target with greater penetration, to a vital point. Remembering that penetration is applied to the real focus point, throwing this twenty-pounds of dead weight (which is like throwing fifty pounds) in the form of a weapon into the sub surface vital point rather than at the surface of the entire mass. Also remember that, super relaxation of your weapon, is the key to bringing about the state of dead weight. When you start to experiment with this, start with a simple blocking technique first. Try to imagine that your arm has fallen asleep in the shape of the block you wish to execute. Practice with a heavy bag or some other type of soft target. As you move to strike the target, remember that on contact wake the arm up or bring it back to normal to about 75 percent awake. Try that a few times then add thrust to it. In the case of practice on a heavy bag, the bag will move a little but the bag will have a huge dent in it. And incorrect strike moves the bag greatly and the there will be little to no dent. The denting of the bag will show you the amount of penetration that you are achieving. This is a very good indicator on the depth and or penetration you might reach when striking a human target.
When striking a vital point. You must remember that real Kara Te is not the art of Boxing. Boxing is striking general targets, the jaw, the area of the heart, under the rib cage and so on. Kara Te is the art of striking vital points, an example is, the tip of the short rib, which is below the surface of the skin as well as the muscle involved, the center and the lower front area of the temple. The strike sends a vibration into the frontal lob of the brain, almost all strikes on the CV meridian are 3 to 5 inches beneath the surface of the skin. Penetration is a key factor and this fact can not be stressed enough.
Kara Te uses penetration. Sports like modern boxing, can’t because it is a gloved art and Kara Te, was not founded with the use of gloves. It is an un gloved art. Boxing uses power as Kara Te uses penetration. Unfortunately many styles of modern martial arts teach that Kara Te as well as Gong Fu, strikes are the same as modern Boxing strikes and for this reason it is impossible for those schools to utilize vital points at all.
In the Practice of Sparring, which is used in Modern Kara Te today, this practice is a non Kara Te practice, which has installed the use of sparring gear for protection of the students and insurance purposes. A gloved hand is used in striking a general target in the same way as boxing. That’s all it can do. Sorry to all instructors using this gloved method, This is not Kara Te or any martial art. Its boxing.
Although sparring has its good points, Jiyu Kumite, which never used gloves, combined with kata, is Kara Te and pressure points can and will become second nature to a student studying in these old ways. I will add, gear should be used to protect the arms, legs, and the body of the student practicing Jiyu Kumite today. The hands should be un gloved, in the higher ranks. The lower ranks should not practice Jiyu Kumite at all until they have soaked there hand in a salt solution for a period of one year first. This and other hand hardening techniques will be explained in another article.
This is a formula, which you can learn for the Dead Arm Method that you may incorporate into a blocking technique to start off with. Lets start with a inside double bone block for example. To the form of the arm (which is a double bone block), apply heaviness by means of ultra relaxation of the arm within its movements, backed up with ultra thrust by means of twisting of the torso. When making contact use “real focus” and visualize the vital point target(as if his arm has become transparent). Again, add relaxation or heaviness to your thrust aimed at the target or “real focus” for the purpose of penetration which is incorporated into the dead arm method so that it is possible to penetrate through the surface of the target being hit to the place underneath the surface below the muscle and in certain instances when striking to the body, to an organ were pressure points are to be found. After a Dead arm strike has been accomplished, additional techniques may be added to complete a strike depending on the vital point.
The fifth technique, may be described in this way. When the dead weight of the arm, is used as a weapon it is delivered with a high-speed or trust using a whip like action toward a sub dermal pressure point. It would also have a quality of ultra relaxation of the arm without loss of form as if lifeless. The muscular systems of the arm used would keep the intended shape of the block or punch throughout its movement until penetration of the surface started to occur, and becomes increasingly tense until the target point is hit. It is relaxation that creates a whip like action to the block, punch or kick. What you may find difficult is to slowly bring tension into the picture as you make contact with the surface of the target point. Wo truly understand “whip like action” we need to know, what makes a whip work? What makes it crack? What makes it cut? These answers are in the wrist of the operator of the whip, With the proper flicking or snapping of the wrist the whip can take its proper form as it is aimed towards the intended target. A whip cannot be forced to travel. It is directed by the wrist of the operator. The operator must be relaxed so that relaxation can travel down the whip itself. This gives it the ability to bend. A master of the whip also knows the length of his whip and therefore knows how much thrust to apply, so that the speed and power increases as it travels down the shaft of the whip. When that whip strikes its target, the small strip of leather at the front end of the whip is traveling at ever-greater speeds and what ever crosses its path will be cut automatically, traveling below the surface of the target area.
When I demonstrate a basic block-strike technique using the Dead Arm Method the form of the block will always remain basically the same but in a ultra relaxed state. For example, in the execution of a strong block, at the start of the initial movement, the hand will loosen or relax slightly upon starting its movement. My torso begins to coil. As the strong block moves its total heaviness, the whipping motion causes the strong block to gain greater and greater speed. At the same time I drop my center of gravity, which roots me into the ground, and I can gain even greater thrust. By the time it hits the target it has such incredible speed, penetration is not a problem what so ever. In fact the power is accelerated so greatly that bone breaking is possible. For this reason with practice you can start to gage the amount of power that will be needed to trigger the pressure point by striking at the right depth.
A side note. Don’t forget your breathing. Breathing is a lost art in today’s schools for the most part. But that’s another subject for another day.
These techniques involved in performing the Dead Arm Method, may at first seem complicated. Don’t give up. With a step by step study of the method, along with your in-depth study of the pressure points, and of course your basic traditional style of Kara Te, the world of pressure point striking will become an open door, Enjoy.
If you have any questions about The Dead Arm Method, feel free to e-mail me L.P.Lambert, Listed on web site.