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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2002 11:28 pm 
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I’m actually starting this book review before having read the book word by word, and cover to cover. Actually folks like me that have a lot of reading to do understand how to take a document and buzz through it pretty quickly – particularly if you are somewhat familiar with the subject. One can say it is a credit to Dr. Kelly that I could do so with such ease. The book is well organized, reasonably well illustrated, and speaks a language I’m familiar with – physiology. That’s not to say that someone from the school of chi would skip through so quickly – even with knowledge of the subject at hand. Dr. Kelly waters the material down a bit, but those without a science background will need to fasten their seatbelts. As for myself, I was a fish in water.

The book starts out with a disclaimer. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
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… No one should ever strike, grab, or otherwise attack the dim-mak points or nerves mentioned in this book because doing so can result in great bodily harm or death. …
OK, so he kept his lawyer happy. Part of me wishes this society wasn’t so litigious – not because there isn’t danger involved, but because the overstatement of risk causes the end user to ignore the warnings. To warn someone not to strike a “dim-mak” point is to eliminate contact sports as we know them today. Our own kotekitae is as much a relic of iron shirt methods as it is a practical modern tool to condition the body for partner work. Telling martial artist not to consider working with this material is telling a pyro to stay away from the matches in the kitchen cabinet. What is the risk here? It certainly isn’t as high as the impression this statement leaves, but it’s more than what many pressure point instructors take into consideration as they wow their audiences with LFKOs (light force knockouts). Oh well…the lawyers are happy now, and so the battle lines are drawn for the next lawsuit should someone incur harm and want remuneration.

The forward – as advertised – was by Earle Montaigue. For those not familiar with him, check out his WebPages.

Tai Chi World

A quick look through the WebPages, and you realize you are in the land of chi-sters. Check out the dialogue between Earle and folks wishing advice on medical problems. This seems a strange bedfellow for someone that takes a strictly modern physiology approach to explaining the material in the book. On the other hand, it is the kind of bridge that must be built if there is any hope for the educational light of day to reach those using surreal explanations for real physical phenomena. I will admit to being amused by this final passage. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
This book is an excellent companion to my two volume Encyclopedia of Dim-Mak
And so there’s the quid pro quo Image Earle and his buddy Wally Simpson – an Austrailian acupuncturist – will sell a few more books. In any case, a little bit of study on the approach taken by Dr. Kelly in this material will reveal why this marriage of convenience works.

To start with, one must clear the language issues. The terms dim-mak, kyusho, tuite, and pressure point are interchangeable here. With some folks, it isn’t. In any case, the term dim-mak is choses for historical reasons, and to aleart the reader to the intent of the author.

WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT

 This book attempts to give modern medical explanations for observed responses to pressure point attacks that rely on the acupuncture meridian system.

 This book – to some extent – assumes that many significant aspects of that art work.

 This book presumes that a pressure point strike is essentially a nerve strike.

WHAT THE BOOK IS NOT ABOUT

 Nowhere that I could see does the book directly endorse the entire meridian system.

 This book does not attempt to define striking points outside the traditional points used in Chinese acupuncture and referenced in some “traditional” forms.

 This book does not attempt to defend the concept of targeted sequential striking vs. simpler methods of combat and self-defense.

These distinctions are important, and are what give this work its identity.

The substance

After a general discussion, the book starts with concepts of neuroscience. If one is to understand the concept of one point activating or negating the effects of another – one of the premises taught by the Chinese cycle of creation and destruction – then one needs to pick up these concepts. Otherwise one must rely on a system that – to my thinking – is archaic in comparison to what we know today. The discussion starts with a review of the entire nervous system, and the role the autonomic nervous system plays in pressure point fighting. Then it gets into the important concepts: segmentation, reflexes, summation, facilitation, aberrant reference, and the nerve synapse.

From that point, Michael provides the mapping from the “old” (acupuncture points) to the “new” system, and the reason for the particular mapping. Several key tables put it all together in great detail. The points are tied to the major nerve, the spinal level, and the organ potentially involved. The neuroscience is the logic behind the structure of the tables. Then the issue of multiple (and setup) points are discussed.

Next the method of attack of a nerve is discussed. This is where form (local anatomy) and function go hand in hand. If one knows where the nerve is and what is nearby, then one can basically figure out the logic behind the attack method without having to memorize the reams of information in the “how to” books. Ahhh…a man after my heart. He must have detested (or pitied) some of his mindlessly memorizing fellow premeds as I did. Image In any case, the subsequent neurological processes and pathways subsequently involved are discussed.

Next, Michael defines the “Medical Knockout.” There’s a very important point made in this chapter, and gets into the whole “vasovagal” concept. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
The mechanism of the pressure point knockout involves changes in the autonomic nervous system that cause a sudden drop in blood pressure leading to a loss of consciousness.
I find this most interesting for several reasons. First, it’s pretty easy for a systems physiology guy like me to understand. My graduate training involved the interaction of the various body systems. It’s “home” to me. But the second important point here is that I believe someone like Bruce Miller might say “True but…that doesn’t define all knockouts.” His contention on several discussion boards is that certain knockouts happen too quickly for that to be the case. There is a “time constant” to these systems that would dictate a certain delay in-between stimulus and response. But some knockouts allegedly happen almost instantaneously. Bruce claims that – in some cases – a more direct effect on the reticular activating system (RAS) of the brain (lights on or off…) comes into play. It is as if a circuit breaker is tripped. Michael discusses the role of the RAS, but to the degree that I have perused his book, I don’t find a discussion of this potential direct effect. The reason for the confusion is easy to understand; we cannot directly observe what is happening. But a biomedical engineer like myself can see Bruce’s point. In any case, there are ways to test whether or not this mechanism (vs. another) comes into play on any one particular KO.

In the next section, Michael discusses organ attacks. I know folks like Ian were driven mad by discussions of body organ attacks on odd parts of the anatomy. The mechanism why this may be relevant is discussed. What ties it all together is the antagonistic control by the two elements of the autonomic nervous system on each of the organs. For instance, the parasympathetic nervous system stimulates digestion, whereas the sympathetic nervous system stimulates the heart. Some points affect one specific organ more than the next, allegedly because of the anatomy (segmentation) of the spine and the specific origin(s) of the nerves that innervate the organ in question.

The next two chapters are where Michael puts it all together. The basic concepts are reviewed. Then specific sequences are discussed, and the mechanisms behind the resulting behavior are explained. References are made to typical martial sequences found in kata.

The final chapter is 6 pages on revival, and how that works. Frankly I think there’s a key point in that chapter that perhaps is missed earlier in the book (unless I missed it in my brief scan). <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
…slapping the spinal accessory nerve stimulates the reticular activating system, thereby arousing the person from a loss of consciousness.
Can we think of this concept in reverse? Bruce Miller thinks so. Perhaps this is where a specialist in neuroscience (a bit of a black art with many open questions) may have been of some use here. In any case, the revival section is both vital and informative.

Why attempt a book like this? Why scare the chi-sters away with modern science? Why add complexity to the pragmatic information gathered through experience by the ancient warrior? Michael has an answer. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
…one could use medical science to find the most effective dim-mak applications of a particular movement without experimenting on anyone. If an application seemed ineffective, one could slightly alter the technique to make it more effective or search for a different application. Some might argue that this could change how the traditional techniques are applied. While this may be true, it is relatively insignificant because change has always been a part of martial arts.
Amen!

My favorite part of the book is at the end – THE REFERENCES. No good modern martial arts book should be without them, and this certainly is de rigueur in the sciences. It allows the individual to do further research on statements made (and “footnoted”) in the text. It is the reason why I like historical books by Steven Ambrose. It is the reason why I prefer a well-written book to a movie in many cases. And when I disagree with an author or form opinions that are my own, the structure of such writing allows me to do that in a manner that gives credit to the author that started the discussion in the first place.

In short, I like this book, I hope it is the start of many more like it. The martial arts are always in need of fine analytic minds.

- Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited June 05, 2002).]


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2002 1:59 pm 
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Good Morning Bill,

Just a quick note to say thank you for your first review of this book. As you know from other conversations my statement that "the whole body is a pressure point" kind of sums up my opions of the chi and pressure point techniques. Yet I know there is something there! Your statement that even "a blind squirrel can sometimes find a nut" summarizes my thoughts on chi and it's associated techniques. Jim Thompson gave me one of the best demonstrations and explanations of chi that I have ever had (maybe the only one too).
This doesn't mean that we (at our school) ignore this area. We teach/train in a 'target based' training methology. We understand the practice of force multipliers. A book like this one seems to be a valuable reference. I will order this book where before I wouldn't have bothered to.


Thanks again,

T. Rose

[This message has been edited by T Rose (edited June 05, 2002).]


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2002 8:35 pm 
im doubtlessly better informed, but still none the wiser.the chi-sters, as you call them, do seem to be strange bedfellows to a scientific study of anything. there may be a very obvious symbiotic relationship here though.
as to this business of nerve strikes, the only conclussion that i have come to after reading this thread, is to totally ignore them. I know a few good places to target for good effect and i ll stick with them.anything more may very well produce good results but why break a nut with a nutcracker when a sledgehammer will do?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2002 10:26 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
why break a nut with a nutcracker when a sledgehammer will do?
Indeed, why?

This is a philosophical discussion that the book doesn't touch, and it's just as well. It would detract from the information that is present. But it's worth a thread all its own. In fact...take a really good look at the question and meditate on it like a good koan. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
We understand the practice of force multipliers.
The engineer in me likes the phrase "force multiplier." Image Electrical engineers often use the term "gain." One can go through all the minutia of a book like this, and miss some of the most important concepts. You nailed one of the big ones!

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
there may be a very obvious symbiotic relationship here though
One could ponder this for quite some time. For the life of me, I can't figure out if Earle Montaigue is being pragmatic, selfish, clever, curious, collegial, or wise. It reminds me a bit of how Michael Gorbachev linked himself with the West and helped catalyzed the destruction of the communist political life around him. What an enigmatic character! Nevertheless, relationships like these can cause pivotal and historical change. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
im doubtlessly better informed, but still none the wise
Like fine wine, wisdom takes time. Image Whether you choose to "use" material like this or not, it is out there. Our own physiology exists whether or not we choose to understand it and make something with it. History marches on, whether or not we choose to study it and reflect on it. There may be a time or a place or a situation where suddenly it makes sense to consider the material. Until then, each of us must make choices in life. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
When you come to a fork in the road, take it!
- Yogi Berra

Image

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2002 10:39 pm 
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The thought occurred to me that it might be interesting to review the book chapter by chapter. I have to tell you that - for me - it raised probably more questions than it answered. That's not necessarily a bad thing. While it is heavily researched, there seems to be a good deal of conjecture in places. That's understandable, given that Dr. Kelly wouldn't experiment on any of his slaves to prove his points. Image

I will say that there are many assertions made that could be considered more equivocal than the way articulated in the book. I'd love to dig in and draw some of the concepts out for discussion.

HOWEVER...

To do so would require two things.

1) I think it appropriate to ask the permission of the author to discuss his book in great detail online. One could easily do one thread per chapter.

2) It would be useful to have AT LEAST a half dozen reasonably knowledegable (and chatty) folks in the discussion who have the book and have reviewed it. I know I'd absolutely like to have our guests from NY in the discussion - particularly budomaster.

Your call, folks.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:13 am 
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OK, I'm sure I speak for the rest of the world when I say I want to see this happen! It's high time something got discussed by people that know... anything. 4000 years is it?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 2:43 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>

why break a nut with a nutcracker when a sledgehammer will do?

<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The nutcracker leaves one with something of value afterward. The sledgehammer destroys all of the potential positive outcome.

I went to a seminar given by Taika Seiyu Oyata last month. He brought up a very good point. Suppose an adversary comes at you. You respond and smash his teeth, break his jaw, and leave him unconscious and bleeding on the floor. What will the police think when they see it? How well did you protect yourself if you left yourself that vulnerable in the end? What if your skill allowed you to defend yourself and control the adversary without destroying him? Do you not end up in a better situation?

Please note that I am paraphrasing with all respect to Taika.

This demonstration by Taika (73 yrs old?) and another I attended by Professor Wally Jay (75 at the time) illustrated to me why going beyond the "sledgehammer" to the "nutcracker" was important.

There was a story I heard once about a young bull and an old bull looking down from a hilltop at a herd of cows... Image

------------------
ted

"I learn by going where I have to go." - Theodore Roethke


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 3:10 pm 
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hey bill .. Excellent idea. Although I am not 'in the know' about anything concerning chi (although during one chi demo where I was the lab rat, the experiment conductor told everyone that I had 'great guardian chi' which kept him from using his chi or something to that effect)I would like to volunteer for this discussion. Just need to order the book now.. I believe in targeting as I stated before as a 'force multiplier'. What has turned me off from the pressure point, nerve attack crowd before is the reliance on chi, a very specific spot (usually the size of a nut), or a specific sequence. If you have ever whacked some mutt humping your leg, then you will know that they don't always end up where you want them to be for your next meridian junction magical nerve complex shutdown chi stopping finger probe. I like the concept of what Dr. Kelly is doing, presenting information for us to style flex.

Ted: We haven't met yet, hope someday we will. You put out a very thoughtful and mature post. Sledgehammer for a nut is overkill, more like the right tool for the right job. If some kid were attacking me I wouldn't hospitalize him/her if I could help it. Yet if attacked one must fight with total commitment. I have never pretended or stated to be a moral or enlightened or better than avergage kind of guy. I see your point about dealing with police and civil actions after such a social encounter. I am no Ueshiba and my skill level would probally preclude me from dealing with someone in a manner as Prof. Jay would. By looking and learning joint manipulation, nerve points etc. we add another tool to our chest. The right tool for the right job yet the tool won't do the job for you, it will just be a conduit for your skill.

Good Discussion..

[This message has been edited by T Rose (edited June 07, 2002).]


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 3:20 pm 
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Ted

Exactly my point.

That philosophical discussion happens on many levels. For instance, why is it that the U.S. and the Soviets are now downsizing their nuclear arsenals? When was the last time someone actually used a nuclear weapon? What HAS our military been using lately, anyhow? And if you are really itching to open up a can of whoopa$$ in this world whether on a personal or a global basis, what is available to use?

Everyone needs a sledgehammer in the toolshed, but it's not the tool you will use on a daily basis. Nothing is worse than being powerless to defend yourself because you are afraid of using excess force or afraid of the consequences of your actions. What of the teachers in the classroom being assaulted by students? Teachers striking back? What's an LA police officer going to do a week after a Rodney King incident? What of a U.S. military force fighting a global enemy that hides in civilian neighborhoods? No matter how you cut it, there is no easy or single path to security.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 4:39 pm 
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What about you, Uechiwoman? We need an acupuncture professional in the discussion.

I've been sending out some feelers for a few others that I think might broaden the expertise.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 6:31 pm 
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...So there you are, just standing there when the baddest hombre you can think of decides to take a piece of you. He might be armed. He might have friends nearby. Escape is uncertain. You might be able to make one strike before he does. What do you do?

a) attempt to subdue utilizing a Dim Mak pressure point attack

b) make the good ol' "family jewel" attack

c) attempt to destroy his mobility with a strike at his knee, foot, or such

d) try to run anyways

e) make a bil-gee strike to his eyes in preparation for an followup

f) *insert action here*


I don't know anything about your opponent. He might be on drugs or intoxicated. He might look scrawny, bloated, or beefy. He might be a she. Is it a common 'thug' or an experienced assailant? Who is your opponent? Why do you think that your action will be effective on that person?

We can't choose our opponents in the real world. Maybe a pressure point attack might work, but it might not do ANYTHING at all. For example:

A few weeks ago I was practicing stick-fighting techniques at a JKD kwoon but my partner seemed to be having difficulties in executing it. The technique uses pressure points on the shoulders and neck to draw the opponent down for a followup. Image The problem was that even after the Sifu corrected my partner, it still wouldn't work on me. The instructor thought I was resisting it, but I indicated that I was pretty relaxed and was (correctly) not simply 'giving way'.

We tried it numerous times and it worked on my partner and on the Sifu but not on me. The instructor was now convinced that I was actively resisting and so they tried the techniques with almost full force with (IMPORTANT) my consent. Since the techniques are part pressure-point and part mechanical, it worked, but only because I was not resisting. That the Sifu is slightly heavier than I am (by about 10 lbs.) and an experienced prison guard, was probably also a factor. Image It was strictly a mechanical compliance. If I was actively resisting, it would have been a different story. Later on, I realized why.

About eight years ago, I was a competitive power lifter and would use such heavy weights during my squat that the pores on my shoulder would actually bleed, despite any padding I would use (including Manta Rays). I am convinced that the sheer pressure of some of my lifts, over time, destroyed any sensitivity to such attacks on my shoulder, lower neck, and regions of my back. Those regions don't even bruise.

Now, most people aren't immune to those pressure-point attacks, but what if your opponent is? Also, people who have had traumatic injuries often lose some sensitivity in the region. My Spanish knife instructor was shot in his right pectorial and has lost feeling in most of that area, though the muscles still work. I'd imagine that the pressure points in that area of his chest are completely 'dead'.

Pressure points have a place in martial arts theory, but actual techniques shouldn't rely on them, especially those dubious ones. Yes, perhaps we don't want to injure some punk kid, obnoxious drunk, or incensed woman, but neither must we dismiss someone as being "not a REAL threat", because we don't know what form a would-be-killer might take.

So, does one adopt a strategy of 'escalation' or is it a 'gut instinct'? Perhaps it's a combination of the two. It's something to think about and discuss.

[This message has been edited by Sheol (edited June 07, 2002).]


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 7:07 pm 
my viewpoint of martial arts has always been that it is a last resort. when the talking stops, when you cant run,that is when you need your martial art.
i think i used a bad analogy before when i talked of sledgehammers and nutcrackers, because with hindsight i did mean a sledgehammer but i didnt mean a nutcracker, i mean after all, a nutcracker was designed for the task at hand, its tried and tested. it doesnt rely on meridians or chi. so i apologise for that slip, i do agree with sheol though. i have done quite a bit of aikido and jujitsu, there are many pain holds that just do not work on certain people.
the last thing to worry about if youre attacked, is your attacker.if you leave him for dead, so what!! the police cant catch the criminals anyway ( nothing against the police, theyre usually under resourced and overworked) and even when they do they only get probation.so id prefer to be judged by 12
rather than carried by 6.
could mr oyatas stuff work on a 25 year old thai boxer, well i would love to see that.but somehow,i dont think i ever will.
no, when alls said and done i ll stick with my sledgehammer!!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 7:29 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jorvik:
im doubtlessly better informed, but still none the wiser.the chi-sters, as you call them, do seem to be strange bedfellows to a scientific study of anything. there may be a very obvious symbiotic relationship here though.
as to this business of nerve strikes, the only conclussion that i have come to after reading this thread, is to totally ignore them. I know a few good places to target for good effect and i ll stick with them.anything more may very well produce good results but why break a nut with a nutcracker when a sledgehammer will do?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

An excellent question, jorvik-sama!

One might be tempted to answer with "efficiency" or "speed of resolution of the fight" or "quick stop with minimal effort" but none of those short form answers really deals with the meat of your question (no pun intended).

I guess it all comes back to the force continuum concept - applicable force that meets but does not exceed the level of danger to ones' self.

If I can stop an annoying person from shoving me around by a simple kyusho application, such as a finger point to a nerve cluster (as opposed to uraken to the temple, forinstance), I have not overreacted and, hence, limit my liability to some extent. Not to mention that I have expended little to no effort to slow or stop the problem and, perhaps, not even attracted the notice of those around me.

Strategically, making sure no one sees what happens is a good idea from a number of standpoints - witnesses cannot even say for certain that I ever touched the guy. No one will try and "macho" their way in to take on the "bad asset" karate-dude and no one will really be sure that anything at all actually happened.

The second point, making sure that there is no invitation to generalize the fight into a multiple opponent issue lowers the possibility of one haviong to expend MORE energy in dealing with a bunch of the offender's friends trying to piggy-pile on the karate-dude.

Hope this helps,

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 7:38 pm 
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Very important points being made here. Even the most ardent kyusho practitioner will tell you that their techniques will not work on some undertermined percentage of the population. In my mind, this is like playing Russion Roulette with your life in a real fight. (And can you imagine trying to stop a real attack with a "no touch" knockout!)

I remember being told that "all traditional Uechi are kyushu strikes!" I'll just add to that: "Hit as hard as you can and as often as needed to stop the attack!"

Guess that sounds like I prefer sledgehammer over nutcracker! Image
=================================
Just noticed Lee posted before me and mentioned dealing with a minimum threat situation with a "nerve cluster" poke. This is great if the person reacts the way you want him/her to! However, poking a person, looking for that cluster, only to discover the proding is pissing him off real bad, might have the opposite results.

------------------
GEM

[This message has been edited by gmattson (edited June 07, 2002).]


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2002 8:56 pm 
could i ask a question of you mr. glasheen or one of the medicos/physiologists who participate on this forum? i have seen pictures of tai chi people taking full power blows to the throat, with no apparent ill effect, they also have people jump onto their stomachs from the top of a ladder,
how do they do this?
i know its a trick, and one favoured by the chi sters but how do they do it?


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