Q & A

This section will continue to be updated as new questions arise in other sections.

Q: Is it true that by hitting someone in a .15 millisecond period can cause their heart to stop and the person to die? When has this happened?

A: Yes it is true that striking the chest can cause cardiac arrest. This has been documented in medical literature for over 120 years. This phenomenon is called commotio cordis and it is discussed in great detail in my ebook, The Dim Mak Medical Guide as well as my book, Death Touch The Science Behind the Legend of Dim Mak. In addition, there is a good online article concerning this phenomenon at http://martialarts.about.com/library/weekly/aa033102a.htm. Although the answer is complex, I will give you a brief explanation. Commotio cordis can occur with a relatively mild chest blow if a certain location is attacked during a specific period of the cardiac cycle. The often-quoted .15 ms is not quite accurate because if the blow occurs during another specific period, a different type of cardiac arrest can occur. It is just not ventricular fibrillation. In addition, the timing of this vulnerable period can be altered by using dim mak points to manipulate the autonomic nervous system. The actual mechanism is believed to involve mechano-electric feedback and disruption of Na channels.

Q: I would be very interested to hear any thoughts you might have about "Iron Shirt" or "Golden Bell Cover" training

A: Here are my off the cuff thoughts on iron shirt training. First, most of the dim mak points work by causing pain in the nervous system. Interestingly, the body has a built in mechanism for blocking pain. Medical science has found that stimulating certain areas of spinal cord can actually block the perception of pain. In fact, these pathways are sometimes artificially stimulated to help patients with chronic pain. Not surprisingly, there are many individuals who have learned to consciously block pain by activating these descending spinal pathways. The neurology of this complex but in a nutshell, the body has a mechanism which can be controlled consciously to block pain, which I think is intimately involved in iron shirt training. I actually discuss this extensively in my book.

In addition, many pressure point knockouts are actually vasovagal syncopal episodes (fainting due to a sudden drop in blood pressure and cerebral vasoconstriction). Once again the neurology is complex but put very simply, these points stimulate an area of the brain called the nucleus tractus solitarii, which then causes a sudden drop in blood pressure and syncope (fainting). It is well known that emotions or fear can also cause this type of fainting. Interestingly, this phenomenon works through the same area of the brain: the nucleus tractus solitarii. Thus, these psychologically induced fainting episodes can be explained by the fact that the cortex (the conscious thinking part of the brain) is directly connected to, and can stimulate, the nucleus tractus solitarii. This connection also explains why some people can consciously block a pressure point knockout. However, this only works if the person can anticipate when and where they will be struck.

The third concept that comes to mind involves research concerning the body's ability to absorb impacts. Medical science has found that muscle contraction can actually decrease the trauma from a blunt impact and thereby decrease the likelihood of injury. As many martial artists intuitively know, tightening up just before receiving a blow substantially increases ones ability to absorb an impact. The reason why I mention this is because in the photos on the web page in question, the individuals were obviously contracting muscles at the point of impact. Even the strikes to the throat show very strong contraction of the platysma, sterncleidomastoid, and strap muscles.

Thus, I believe that iron shirt training involves learning to use the body's built in pain blocking mechanism, learning to consciously block the effects of nucleus tractus solitarii stimulation, and training the musculoskeletal system to contract just before impact.

Q: When you a strike a pressure point, there is bound to be some rupture or clot on the nerve fibers/ blood vessel etc., leading to unconsciousness state. Though you revive the person, many doctors state that the long-term effects are not known. What is your comment?

A: It really depends on what point was struck. Some of the points affect blood vessels and nerves, other points affect just nerves. If the point affected a blood vessel, a strike could tear the intima of the vessel leading to artherosclerosis or clot formation. If the clot migrated in the blood stream it would then become an embolus which could lead to severe injuries. As for the long-term effects of repeatedly striking the exposed portions of the nerves, there is little medical research on this as this is not a common occurrence for most people.

Q: Do you see a role in concussion of the medulla oblongata in knockouts? For example, Jokl theorized that the chin knockout and the knockout to the GB 20s were from the energy being transferred through the skull and causing the brain stem to rebound in the skull (This also can explain arm knockouts made popular by Dillman and Oyata). Is his stuff outdated? It seems in your book that you are suggesting (from cursory reading) knockout from the chin and GB 20s more from attacking the cranial nerves and that stimulating the brain.

A: Any strong blow to the head can cause a concussion and/or coup/counter coup injury. Just like medical science has come a long way since the Qing dynasty, it has also come a long way since the 1940's. Pain in the trigeminal, vagus, facial, glossopharyngeal, carotid sinus, and the occipital nerves has been found to cause vasovagal syncope (i.e. fainting). This is a much more plausible explanation because many of the knockouts using dim mak/pressure points do not involve enough force to injure the medulla oblongata or are too far away from the medulla oblongata.

Q: What style of martial art is Dim Mak?

A: Dim mak is not a separate martial art but rather a component of many different martial arts. 

Q: Where does Dim Mak come from?

A: To understand this, one needs to know a little about the history of dim mak. According to legend, dim mak originated with a man named Zhang Sanfeng who was both a martial artist and an acupuncturist. Zhang Sanfeng developed a system of attacking the points after researching the points that were deemed too dangerous to use in acupuncture. Folklore has it that he practiced and experimented on prisoners in order to find the most effective points and combinations. He then combined his most effective techniques into a set of movements, which later became known as Tai Chi, which is believed by some to have influenced many different styles of martial arts.

     Additionally, some believe that Zhang Sanfeng was actually a student of a man named Feng Yiyuan. Ancient acupuncturists had a martial art that consisted of striking certain points that were found to be dangerous when they were needled. These points were named the forbidden points and the ancient acupuncturists would strike these points with fans and needles as a means of self defense. In another theory on dim mak's origin, Feng Yiyuan is believed to have created a martial art that concentrated on attacking thirty-six of the forbidden acupuncture points. Feng Yiyuan's students increased the number of points to seventy-two and later, to one-hundred-eight. Yiyuan's system is believed to have migrated to the Southern Shaolin Temple where it became integrated into many different martial arts. This theory explains why so many of the traditional martial arts have a component of dim mak.  

Q: So what is the link between dim mak and karate?

    The answer to this question can be found in an ancient manuscript called the Bubishi. This ancient text is considered to be the oldest known document on Okinawan karate. Many of the most famous karate masters including Funakoshi, Miyagi, Itosu, and Chibana, had hand written copies of this text. The Bubishi is filled with references to dim mak and the points. There are even sections on the delayed death touch and the seven forbidden points. Many believe that the dim mak techniques discussed in the Bubishi are actually hidden in the traditional Okinawan katas. Thus, the Bubishi contains the hidden link between dim mak and modern karate. Given the fact that karate migrated from Okinawa to Japan, it is clear that this includes both Okinawan and Japanese Karate.

Q: How can I learn Dim Mak?

A: The real key to learning dim mak is to find the dim mak techniques hidden within the traditional martial arts. However, this can be difficult because many of the original katas have been modified. For example, Funakoshi changed some of the Okinawan karate katas when he introduced them to Japan. In his books, he states that he did this to make the katas easier for the Japanese to learn. Perhaps this was also done to encrypt the secrets of kata. Unfortunately, many of his changes blunt the dim mak applications of kata or make them harder to find. Funakoshi even states in his books that his kata changes were not for combat, but for aesthetics. Additionally, Funakoshi did not teach the dim mak applications of the katas.  Anku Itosu was another Okinawan master who created a simpler form of Okinawan karate. He made variations in the katas so that they could be safely taught to school children. This modified version then developed into one of the most popular karate styles in Okinawa. Fortunately, these changes were minor and mostly involved alterations in the striking hand to make it difficult for children to hit the points.  medical explanations for their effects. I realized that that there was an incredible void in the martial arts and that a new approach to the points based on medical science would have a profound effect on the validity of using the points.

















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