In the martial arts community, those who practice kyusho-jitsu (pressure-point fighting) are often subjected to criticism. It all started when their self-defense moves were first brought into the limelight and onlookers didn’t even want to believe the techniques were real. Those days are long past, however, and the reality of knockouts resulting from usage of human pressure points has been convincingly demonstrated time and time again — most notably by Black Belt Hall of Fame member (and kyusho-jitsu expert) George Dillman and his students. Nowadays, two main criticisms of kyusho-jitsu persist. The first consists of dire warnings that self-defense moves using pressure-point techniques are dangerous and that those who practice them by actually knocking each other out are reckless and foolhardy. This accusation was later found to be groundless.
Are the Self-Defense Moves of Kyusho-Jitsu Dangerous?For decades now, the once-secret art of kyusho-jitsu has been publicly taught and demonstrated. Thousands of students now practice the methods of kyusho-jitsu, and an untold number of people have been knocked out practicing its self-defense moves, some on numerous occasions. In 1997, at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a team of scientists sought to examine the mechanism behind human-pressure-point knockouts. In their findings — which were reported in Black Belt’s September 1998 issue and subsequently published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness (1999; 39:328-335) — they stated that “… no hazardous complications were demonstrated and no immediately dangerous phenomena … were noted.”
Delve deeper into techniques using human pressure points with our new FREE Guide — Human Pressure Points: 3 Jujitsu Techniques by Small-Circle Jujitsu Founder Wally Jay — available now for FREE download!Nonetheless, claims regarding arts like kyusho-jitsu and the dangers of human-pressure-point techniques persist like urban legends. Yet no one seems to ask the most natural questions in the world about these self-defense moves: “Where are the bodies? Where are the legions of martial artists whose health has been ruined by these strikes?” This response to the claims of associated dangers eliminates the need to address the issue by comparing pressure-point strikes to free sparring, yet it still should be done. In free sparring, martial artists regularly suffer damaged joints, concussions, broken bones and even occasional death — all while participating in “no-contact” sparring. When the action is intensified to the level of full-contact fighting or boxing, the potential for injury is even greater, yet few ever accuse practitioners of those sports of reckless disregard for others. Let’s be honest: Despite the cautionary advice of those who don’t practice arts such as kyusho-jitsu and really don’t know anything about it, there’s no evidence to support the persistent cry that the practice of self-defense moves utilizing human pressure points is “reckless and dangerous.”