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pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 5:52 am
by budomaster
Dr Glasheen,
I thought I filled in my name when I signed up for this forum. In addition, I thought that I was supposed to make up a name like an email.

I do understand your point of view and I respect what you are doing for the martial arts. Although I don't know you personally, I suspect that you are a stand up guy. As for my last post, I was being sarcastic and joking as I thought that with your reputation and wit most would see that "you having a chip on your shoulders" is totally ridiculous. Like I said, this sort of communication makes it difficult to joke at times. Maybe I should have used a smile face or something. My apologies if I offended you or anyone else. It was just a poor joke.

I have not seen dr kelly post on this forum. I searched and did not see his name anywhere. Where did he post? I would be interested in reading what he has to say. Maybe he should have a chance to explain himself. Should I send him an email and invite him? His email address is on his site.I wonder if his collegue will let him know about this thread.

I guess this thread really conjured up some strong emotions and opinions. I respect the fact that opinions can be stated in such a candid manner.

I started reading the book and I get the impression that Dr Kelly was looking for a more scientific approach to dim mak/kyusho. Perhaps he is also of the Missouri school. Either way, I like the book so far. I will let you know more as I go along.

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 6:53 pm
by jorvik

How would you define a nerve strike? By that I mean there are a lot of places you can hit someone which will cause pain, these are widly known by just about everyone, the solar plexus,the testicles, dead leg to the thigh.
I think definition is important, as an example the one second knockout, how do you define that? by boxing rules you could say it was not rising to the count of 10.Medically, would you even use the term "knockout" perhaps "loss of consciousness" would be more appropriate.All sciences use their own languages and definitions.
Some time ago a karate man was killed at a tournement in my country by a very light blow.Everyone waited to see what the pathologist attributed as the cause of death.
He said that it was "vagal inhibition" ( I am not a medical man myself) apparently if you are just recovering from a heavy cold or influenza, and you recieve a heavy blow it can kill you.I relate this out of interest and also your point about about striking the carotid synus, were you mentioned that the whole body can become a pressure point.

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 7:33 pm
by student
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jorvik:
I think definition is important....All sciences use their own languages and definitions.


Jorvik, you have just pushed an important professional button on me as an attorney, on Bill as a scientist, on J.D. as a medical curmudgeon ( Image "That's a JOKE, son! HUMOR, I say.... Image), et alia: what precisely are we talking about? We may be using the same words with totally different meanings.

As has been said about we Americans and you Brits, we may be two people separated by a common language.

Oh, by the way: for the Brits and Canadians, that's HUMOUR....

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 7:45 pm
by Bill Glasheen
The expression "whole body is a pressure point" is a bit of a joke. Basically what that means is that you hit someone so hard that it really doesn't matter where you hit them.

One common criticism I've heard of pressure point fighting is that so many "points" are on the neck and head. Hit someone hard enough at any of those locations and you are rattling their brain. One can speak of specific pressure points on the jaw, but hitting it hard enough will cause the brain to bounce off the back of the skull (called contrecoup). This has nothing to do with a pressure point per se.

Rather than argue the point, the best thing to do is to take advantage of it. Vince Morris speaks of not relying on pressure points to get the job done, but rather thinking of it as the poison on the end of a spear that will kill you anyway. If you hit someone hard enough, the pressure point is an afterthought. But every little factor on your side will help. Bottom line is never to forget the fundamentals. Everyone is always looking for magic bullets, and the truth is that there really aren't any. All of it is hard work.

I'm eager to see what our guest has to write about Dim Mak. However Bruce Siddle's explanations for many of the delayed death touch phenomena turn out to be both believable and quite mundane. No magic...just the complications that result from various trauma injuries left untreated by modern medicine.

Many modern explanations about pressure point strikes are related to the function of the autonomic nervous system. This is where the vagal nerve comes in to play. Artificial vagal stimulation in the laboratory can cause heart rate and blood pressure to dramatically decrease. It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to go from a Grass nerve stimulator to physical trauma and expecting similar responses (even if muted in comparison). The term "vasovagal" is often used in medicine to describe a phenomenon where someone passes out. Death is another story. Generally the heart ultimately escapes extreme vagal input, and marches to its own internal beat. Just like the kid that holds his breath, the worst thing that happens to him is that he passes out, and then starts to breathe again automatically. I don't know if I can buy a death caused by "vagal inhibition."

There is one phenomenon that I mentioned earlier, called commotio cordis, that can result in death if the heart isn't jump-started again. As the heart goes through its cardiac cycle, there is a period of time post contraction where an electrical or mechanical trigger will not cause another contraction. Eventually, cell by cell, the heart comes out of this. There is a tiny, tiny window of time where some cells have recovered and others haven't. If you stimulate the heart (electrically or mechanically) in the right place at the right window of time, some cells will fire and others won't. Once it gets out of synchrony like that, you basically have a heart attack of electrical origin. Only defibrillation will get it back on track. Young kids are especially vulnerable to this, as their chest walls are so thin. It's possible for even an errant pitch to hit a kid on the chest and cause a heart attack. But as I mentioned earlier, actually trying to cause something like that is almost dumb luck. It just happens to be VERY bad luck for the poor person that has it happen to him. It's rare, but it does happen.

I will offer that a person on the tail end of a bad illness may have electrolyte imbalances that might make the heart electrically unstable. Drugs (like cocaine) can also cause situations like this, as in the death of Len Bias. That and genetics can cause a "Q-T" interval situations that can make the heart fibrillate as in the situation mentioned above. But again, these situations are rare. And they certainly are difficult to conclusively prove on autopsy.

- Bill

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 8:17 pm
by Bill Glasheen
Earlier today I had a meeting with the case management group of our health insurance company. Here a team of physicians, nurses, and myself (the mathematical modeling guy) review cases of people that need extra attention because my models predict that they will end up (next year) in the one percent of the population that burns up a third of the total health care dollars. Some of these people of working age will end up dead, particularly if there is no aggressive intervention.

I'm not going to give any company trade secrets away, but I was having an interesting discussion with one of the physicians there about what combination of variables measured caused the models to predict that someone was going to go sour. Sometimes my models (statistical in origin, and automatically generated by sophisticated software) end up being extremely complex. This particular model however was elegantly simple. When a physician sees it, he smiles. Image It makes sense.

One of the physicans there talked about this kind of patient when they came across one. They called them people with "bad protoplasm." The expression made me laugh. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
All sciences use their own languages and definitions.

Bad protoplasm.

Bad kharma

Bad chi.

A rose is a rose by any other name.

- Bill

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 9:18 pm
by budomaster
I looked up vagal arrest on medline and came up with a number of different articles discussing this as a mechanism of death. I thought you might find this interesting as you seem to be unfamiliar with this subject.

Unexplained asystole during thoracotomy irrigation: a case report.

J Clin Anesth 2002 Feb;14(1):52-6
Common mechanisms and strategies for prevention and treatment of cardiac arrest during epidural anesthesia.

Clin Auton Res 1999 Jun;9(3):135-8
A case of sinus arrest and vagal overactivity during REM sleep.

Aviat Space Environ Med 1996 Jun;67(6):572-5
Sinus node arrest and asystole from vaso-vagal phenomena during lower body negative pressure in a healthy pilot.

Ann Acad Med Singapore 1996 Mar;25(2):283-5
Asystole following laryngoscopy and endotracheal intubation: a case report.

Forensic Sci Int 1995 Mar 31;72(2):117-23
Cardiac arrest after traffic accident induced through vagal reflex in a case with bilateral stenosis of vertebral arteries.

J Electrocardiol 1995 Jan;28(1):59-61
Atrioventricular asystole as a manifestation of hiccups.

Obstet Gynecol 1992 May;79(5 ( Pt 2)):840-1
Asystolic cardiac arrest: a rare complication of laparoscopy.

South Med J 1990 Aug;83(8):955-6
Bronchoscopy-induced fatal asystole in tetanus: the result of combined carotid-body chemoreceptor and vasovagal reflexes.

Ann Ophthalmol 1988 Dec;20(12):473-5, 477
Asystole due to the oculocardiac reflex during strabismus surgery: a report of two cases.

Am J Psychiatry 1981 Dec;138(12):1616-7
A fatality during haloperidol treatment: mechanism of sudden death

Rev Paul Med 1973 Feb;81(2):85-8
[Sudden death by reflex vagal inhibition. Aspects of a case]

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 9:52 pm
by Bill Glasheen
OK... This makes MUCH more sense.

I was confused with the terminology. When I saw vagal inhibition, I was thinking inhibition OF the vagus (didn't make sense to me), rather than BY the vagus (MUCH more sense).

Yes... A rare phenomenon, no? Not something one can reproduce very easily. I still remember my old laboratory experiment where my physiology teacher (Francoise Attinger) demonstrated the phenomenon of vagal escape with the dog.

- Bill

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 10:26 pm
by jorvik
hey, student


Oh, by the way: for the Brits and Canadians, that's HUMOUR....

im a Brit, and no it aint.

Mr. glasheen, I read that in a newspaper, vagal inhibition , I really couldnt comment, I dont have any medical or scientific knowledge, whatsoever, but I thought it was interesting.Student brought up a good point though, I sometimes wonder-on these forums- wether i'm inadvertantly offending people- I have the same language, but a different culture, in many ways the same, but in subtle ways very different. Couple that with talk on complex problems and your bound to run into difficulties.Hope i havent offended anyone.

pressure points

PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2002 10:38 pm
by Bill Glasheen

Don't worry - you aren't offending anyone. Miscommunication happens all the bloody time on this forum.

Between my earlier explanations about the influence of the vagus on the heart and the list of publications that budomaster just spit out (quite impressive I might add for such a short interval), I believe the explanation for the diagnosis is here. I still contend it's a rare phenomenon (I'm thinking budomaster will agree) and I don't think there's any way that a pathologist can prove this diagnosis (even though they just slap one on the autopsy report anyhow). But basically what the pathologist said was that the nerve that goes to the heart and tells it to speed up or slow down caused the heart to slow down so much that it stopped. Usually the heart stops listening to the vagus past a point and escapes to its own internal pacemaker. But stuff happens - particularly when your electrolytes are out of whack, you are experiencing acidosis (respiratory from being out of breath and/or metabolic from illness), etc. What should self correct doesn't always, and extreme conditions - in rare cases - can cause bad things to happen. A cardiologist would see these kinds of things happening all the time in the CCU, but then these people are sick to start with. A healthy person may black out from being "vasovagal" (overstimulated by parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system), but death is very rare.

Am I right, budomaster?


There's a dialogue I want to get into on this subject. We'll probably have to do it over a few days since it's difficult to do a back and forth online. But I have some leading questions that I'd like to take you (and/or your friends) through to make a point that I think you support along the lines of the whole safety issue here.

- Bill

pressure points

PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2002 5:19 am
by Bill Glasheen
Thanks for the input, Rich.

I've been observing and "tinkering" with this for some time. I have a kind of loose, "running hypothesis" that I will present at this time. Only time will tell how close I am to the real truth.

A bit of background...

The beauty of the 5-element theory approach is that it is a theory that attempts to describe observed phenomena based on the collective wisdom of the time. The importance of this cannot be discounted. It is as powerful as Freud's contribution to the field of psychology/psychiatry. Until then, folks that suffered from mental illness had no hope for improvement. Right or wrong, good or bad, Freud created a model for human behavior that gave the clinician a tool to attack the diseases of the mind. It was the first of its kind.

How close was Freud's work to reality? My son just got finished studying Greek Mythology, and did a major project where he identified all the gods, their ancestors, there history, and their roles in the world. It was a model for the world around then that allowed the Greeks to deal with the uncertainty of both today and the afterlife. These days we still enjoy reading about the Greek and Roman gods, and use their names and their stories as metaphor for our lives. But that's it. The same goes for Freud. I can playfully kid a woman about having penis envy, and we can talk about excessive toilet training. But when you read a book like A Beautiful Mind, you can see the actual harm that CAN come from a theory that was a good first start, but not quite right. John Nash survived in spite of - and not because of - his treatment. His wife was blamed for his illness (the birth of their son...) and suffered undue psychological harm for it. One of the reasons John Nash evolved back to the consensus reality is because he refused treatment at a certain point, and took charge of his life. His social support system eventually aided him in his recovery. The best of intentions of the Freudian psychologists didn't help him, but the hearts were in the right place.

A unified theory for all this pressure point stuff is appealing. My running hypothesis is that - when the dust settles - we will discover that there is no single unified theory to describe this art of targeted, sequential striking and manipulation. The reason why someone like Evan is traveling the world now and having success is because he is not frantically grasping on his paradigms. He - like the pragmatist he is - is just...doing.

The work that The Marines and Bruce Siddle (PPCT) is doing is - in my opinion - one piece of the larger field. These are the attacks on exposed nerves. Most work by pain. Occasionally one gets into the concept of system overload with the sequential and/or combined strikes. It's simple. It works. It's understandable.

Evan and his contemporaries place a great deal of emphasis on the LFKO (light force knockout) for show. It's my belief that what's going on here is complex. Yes, I believe SOME of it is power of suggestion. The preachers I see on TV on Sunday morning use a lot of that. I can probably make a lot of that dissapear with a double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial. Is this "suggestion" aspect of it (NOT the whole thing) useless? No. Actually there's a great deal of research being done on this now in regards to the medical field. For example, we now know (from research at Duke) that folks who view their god as forgiving and healing are more likely to survive a disease than those that view their god as vengeful. can go places with that small piece of the puzzle.

And then there are the "reflex" points. Kids on the playground know how to use those to get your knee to buckle. These actually work against the maniac on coke and PCP. Very useful.

There's probably more... Osteopathic medicine's been around for a VERY long time (I believe the Greeks used it). SOMETHING in that field works...

Yes, we need people like Evan to do his thing. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
I know there will be rebuttal and dispute following this, but will not get to answer as tomorrow I fly back out to Sweden, Finland and Spain to teach this Art.
Gee, and I don't even get a postcard??? Image

Evan and I verbally spar on and off Image . But there is a method to my madness. Unlike Evan, I place a great deal of energy into the "why." If we understand the (in my opinion) many whys of this stuff, then perhaps we can get our arms around what "it" really is. And when we do that, then our confidence in this art as a useful tool of battle will increase. And I predict that there will be many "its" by the time we are done.

We shall see.

- Bill

pressure points

PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2002 3:01 am
by budomaster
Your query sounds interesting. I look forward to hearing from you.

pressure points

PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2002 11:23 pm
by M. Kelly
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Michael Kelly and I am the author of Death Touch. A colleague of mine recently informed me that my name and book were being discussed on this site. If it is ok with the members of the forum, I would like to answer some of the questions that have been raised about me.

First, I have never, and will never, claim to be a master of anything. I am just a student striving towards the goal of someday becoming a martial artist.

As for the use of Dr and DO, I placed my professional title on the cover of the book because I wanted to make it clear that this book was based on medical science and written from the viewpoint of modern medicine.

As for Dr Glasheen 's statement that the use of Dr portrays some sort of insecurity, I can assure you that this is not the case. I agree that there may very well be individuals who use their professional titles to overcompensate for some sort of insecurity. However, to make such a broad statement that DOs use the title of Dr because they have some sort of professional insecurity is flawed inductive reasoning at best. By the same logic, are all MD's who use the title of Dr insecure? Are all PhDs who use the title of Dr insecure? I think not.

In the hospital, I am usually referred to as Dr. Kelly and on all my professional documents from prescription pads to letterheads, to books, I use Michael Kelly, DO. I believe this is the norm. Consequently, I see nothing wrong with placing my professional degree on the cover of my book or using the title of Dr. I have earned both.

Dr. Glasheen, I think I know what you were suggesting though, and if I am correct in my assumption, I agree with you. Unfortunately, there are a number of osteopaths who attempt to hide their osteopathic training and avoid the use of DO. Instead, they place Dr in front of their name and do not ever use the DO after their name. I believe that some of this behavior is rooted in an insecurity that may have stemmed from not being able to attend an allopathic medical school. However, my academic credentials gave me a choice of both allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. I specifically chose an osteopathic medical school because the philosophy and emphasis on the musculoskeletal system seemed to fit better with my background in the marital arts. In addition, I thought that the extra training would make me a better doctor. I was correct on both counts.

While on the subject of Osteopaths, I would like to make two additional points. First, DOs are not limited to practicing primary care medicine. DOs can be found in every medical specialty. Second, I have yet to encounter an MD who snubbed his/her nose at me. In fact, I routinely treat many MDs with manipulation and most state that they wish they had the extra training. Just as in the martial arts the man makes the style, I believe the man makes the physician.

As for your implication that this thread may have started as a "snake oil ruse," what could I possibly have to gain? I have better things to do with my time. Enough said. Period.

Dr. Glasheen, I think that we may actually think alike. (Both from the Missouri school?) I started my research because I grew tired of the mystical explanations and I was looking for a more scientific approach to the use of pressure points. I am honored that you purchased my book and I anxiously await your feedback. In addition, I would like to join this forum and concentrate on the marital arts (no more about me and my book). I like the openness and your candid approach.

Budomaster, I have some additional resources on the subject of vagal arrest. If you are interested you can email me at

Monica, Thank you for defending my name and reputation. Although I do not think you needed to do so as I seriously doubt that there is any sort of malice here.

Michael Kelly, DO

pressure points

PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2002 4:36 pm
by Bill Glasheen
Dr. Kelly

It's an honor to have you on board. This is going to be fun.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Unfortunately, there are a number of osteopaths who attempt to hide their osteopathic training and avoid the use of DO. Instead, they place Dr in front of their name and do not ever use the DO after their name. I believe that some of this behavior is rooted in an insecurity that may have stemmed from not being able to attend an allopathic medical school.

It was the "Dr Kelly" on the front of the web page that sent the little red flag up. Ever spend much time in a place like GNC? I won't start anything else here with any other faction, but you see book after book by some fellow (yes, sometimes the MDs) that appear with the lab coat on the cover. It's the same schtick. As a scientist, I've just learned to recognize the difference between marketing and substance. Sometimes a preponderance of marketing devices (the "Dr." title, pictures of someone in a lab coat, the stethoscope around the neck, etc.) is a good sign that the substance is weak. I've always felt that substance sells itself.

Having "Michael Kelly, DO" on the front of your book would be "standard protocol" for a publication. I like that.

Anyhow, all this is semantics. But in a busy world, we often let little things like that act as filters to help us zero in on what matters.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
As for your implication that this thread may have started as a "snake oil ruse," what could I possibly have to gain? I have better things to do with my time. Enough said. Period.
Once again, the little red flags come up in my head when someone isn't being completely forthcoming. I don't know how long you've been in the online and offline martial arts community, but the politics, the egos, the personal agendas, and the character assassinations can overwhelm you. Various kyusho forums that I've participated in have been famous for it. Unfortunately this means one approaches "strangers" with a degree of suspicion, and subtle aspects of first impression can dramatically influence one's perceptions.

As to what anyone would have to gain by any action, I guess that just depends on the individual. We each are driven by our own set of motives. Certainly recognition and legacy are powerful drivers for many professionals.

Since I started this forum many years ago, our collective community has seen quite a bit. I've had a saying about people who practice martial arts and people who ride motorcycles - among those communities, you find the best and the worst of humanity. I remain the eternal optimist, but rely on instincts and friends with "radar" personalities to watch my back.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Dr. Glasheen, I think that we may actually think alike...
We do.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
I am honored that you purchased my book and I anxiously await your feedback.
Still awaiting the book. Until then.

One more comment, and this is strictly being playful. I realize we all rely on Spellchecker to cover our rears, but sometimes it betrays us. With that in mind, I'm wondering what Dr. Freud would have to say about your repeated use of the phrase "Marital Arts." Image It appears you have a dyslexic finger!

Welcome aboard!

- Bill

pressure points

PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2002 6:19 pm
by TSDguy
Great, student. I've always been a big fan partner work and put less emphasis on solo training.

pressure points

PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2002 7:24 pm
by M. Kelly
Given the state of many marriages, perhaps marital arts and martial arts are the same entity. Image

Dr Glasheen, Your point about the use of dr, lab coats, etc is well taken. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

I am somewhat new to the online forums, so I guess I am somewhat naive. Your point is well taken.