How can I learn combat pressure point striking? Part 3
So far, we’ve looked, at many of the books and manuals, and also the pressure point web sites that appear on the world wide web. We’ve found that, we may pick up a scrap or two of information here and there, and if you read all the books and manuals and search through all the websites that we can find, that they may describe where pressure points are located and sometimes gives a scrap of method and or philosophy. Some books describe a possible reaction when pressure points are activated. In most cases, all the books, magazines, manuals, and web sites are incomplete as far as totally teaching the full art of striking any point. All the printed materials have left out many special techniques and training methods needed to use each individual pressure point found on the human anatomy. Iin the early days of printed materials, poor art work appears in those books and manuals and were also badly translated from the Asian languages to English.
Today’s books and web sites have pierced the language barrier but again many training methods and techniques are not shown. For instance, what hand form (or hand or foot weapon) should be used for any given point. If a twisting motion is used, is it a clockwise or counter cloakwise? Is an individual point hit straight in upon reaching the right depth, applies an up wards or down wards turn? These techniques have been left out for various reasons. I can only assume that they don’t really know! And it would be very dangerous to try it with out knowing. Now that the reality of using the printed options has been exposed, they do not truly teach you the art of striking the points, even if you studied all the printed material on planet earth, they will at best only give a partial viewing. The outcome from trying to learn from printed materials alone could only be total confusion! Instead of answering questions, they create hundreds of other questions! Now the only question that remains to be answered is, if we can not totally learn the pressure point striking arts from printed materials, manuals, book, magazines or web sites, (web sites being the poorer), can we learn from tapes and DVD’s?
Can I learn about pressure point striking from a tape or DVD?
The first media that we will consider is the 35mm films which came here from Asia and the Philippi’s which are distributed by vendors in almost any style, or system. From the 20th century on, Many legendary masters demonstrated their art on 35 mm films to record their journey down the martial arts road. These 35 mm films recorded the history of the masters and document the original Kata they practiced and some training practices that were present in there day in countries like Okinawa, Japan and China. I personally own about a 1,000 hours of 35 mm film footage and have viewed many more. I can tell you that I had a pleasurable time learning from these old masters. I found these films to be inspirational, witnessing for myself, the early martial artists practices which I am calling flow power. Some of you may call it Chi or Jing, all these old time masters have one thing in common, they all move from one technique to another with great speed and power which for the most part has all but vanished in modern martial arts today. Although these films had no sound and were not really an instructional film, they demonstrate to us what the masters believed to be the core of their art, and in turn, that there is a marked difference between the Masters then and now.
This will be my first point, I can not name many masters that flow from one technique to an other in kata that also have speed and power. Because kata is the only way to learn it, jf it is not found in a master, chances are that he hasn’t achieved it! That is why you will see students doing kata on modern DVD’s and tapes. All the pressure point understanding in the world, is of no use. All the technique analysis can’t help you if you haven’t acquired flow power. And the way to get this necessary factor in pressure point striking is to practice kata daily, coupled with studying films of the old masters doing kata.
The bulk of these 35 mm films from 1935 to 1966 were brought back from the war torn countries of Asia by GI’s that were stationed on bases in and around the orient. GI’s would learn from these masters, and captured them on film as they performed the very things they were learning, which had mystified them so often. The things they captured on film were mostly Kata and an occasional drill or two man set. Some of them capture feats of incredible skill. For instance, I have footage of a Chinese Tai Chi master in a horse stance (standing only on his toes) for 2 hours and twenty minutes with out quivering. This stance was adopted later by the white crane system to teach balance and is also used in pressure point kicking. It also strengthens the toes. I have film footage of a old Shaolin monk, probably in his 80’s, doing a one finger (index finger) hand stand having his feet against a wall, which lasts 20 minutes. Again with out quivering! This would be boring for most people to watch but this monk was demonstrating a training method used for single finger pressure point striking. Imagine getting hit with that finger! Another film which shows a Chinese Chi Kung master, breaking a granite rock (9 by 5 inches) with his hand, using a shuto, also useful for striking multiple points. These mystifying feats are historical training demonstrations, on film, taken by GI’s to wow there family and friends back home. And it did! But they do not tell the sequence of training methods that brought them to there seemingly super natural ability’s. Bruce Lee demonstrated a two finger push up. Which he learned in his Wing Chung training which at the highest level uses pressure point strikes. In the Chinese arts one or two fingers are primarily used for single pressure point strikes.
Side note. Vietnam was the war that created today’s modern martial arts. Many of the returning combat Vet’s came back home with films, either of themselves or their instructors in training practice which would later become the standard for training. They accrued these back in the Japanese and Okinawa DoJo’s and is now gently practiced in the U.S today. Most if not all GI’s earned there green or brown belts by the time they came home. Very few GI’s came back to the U.S with the rank of Sho-Dan. That is the reason for the martial art incompleteness of training methods in many American martial arts schools and the reason little to no teaching of the pressure point arts today. These GI’s would come back to America after the Vietnam conflict, and found the general population unwilling to provide jobs for them. Some of them started karate school simple because it was the only thing they knew something about. So they became instructors. These combat Vet’s trained many students which started the industry of martial arts that you practice today! Again few of the Vet’s came back with any rank statues. In sort although they heard about pressure points, they never achieved enough rank to be shown how pressure point strikes work and it was never instituted in the Do Jo system. Instead hand to hand combat which was learned in boot camp was the standard that replaced pressure point arts. This is slowly changing.
What can be learned from the old 35 mm films that can’t be learned by today’s tapes and DVD’s? There is a powerful flow demonstrated on these tapes that is rarely seen in today’s martial art schools. And that this powerful flow-motion can only be obtained by hours of daily practice, and some special training on inner energy breathing. These old masters practiced every day. Much of today’s Kata, looks either slow, choppy or has no power, in other words lacks dynamic flowing power. There is a type of flowing power that these old 35 mm films show use, that most all systems have lost to time. The key to this kind of flowing power is first to see it done by these old master who practiced kata daily, then to try and copy it, in the same way that they did it in those mystifying feats of strength. These old films are very valuable for that very reason. A tape that I would recommend is a video tape by Master Tadashi Yamashita named Dynamic Fighting system Vol, 1 &2, which demonstrates this necessary quality for your pressure point fighting arts training. This film is modern and will motivate you higher. This master is fast and powerful, so fast that in slow motion, it is still to fast to see well!
The people schooled in Okinawa by a renowned Master, new about flow motion, but the schools teaching in modern times rarely reflected this principle in their teachings, not being schooled over seas. So although there is great value in the old 35mm tapes brought here from over seas, they have little instructional value but great demonstrational value. What of today’s DVD’s and tapes, are they instructional? Do today’s tapes and DVD’s truly teach you the buyer how to develop skill needed for pressure point fighting, useful in combat?????
We will cover that in the next and last article in this series.