Traditional Chinese medicine and eastern martial arts are entwined together via Chinese philosophy and go hand in hand throughout history.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, the human body is a micro-cosmic reflection of nature, and diseases are caused by lack of harmony between body and nature.
According to this theory, the human body is composed of invisible energy channels (meridians), which lead the essence of life, “qi” (Chinese) or “Ki” (Japanese), from the internal organs to the external ones, and vice versa.
Qi is linked to the body’s energy both in the psyche and the physical levels and serves as a connector between mind and body.
In every meridian there exist points which are used as energy centers (acupuncture points – pressure points) which activate the meridian.
There are a total of 365 classical points as well as hundreds of additional modern points.
According to the Chinese theory, illness results from the blockage of the Chi energy which flows through the meridians and from lack of harmony between body and nature.
By inserting tiny needles at certain points of the meridian, a stuck qi can be released, motivated and even directed towards a desirable direction. This action can bring energetic balance to the body, as well as physical and mental improvement. The same healing point can, under certain conditions, also cause harm, and this property has been exploited by martial artists.
A good fighter may therefore be a good doctor, and vice versa. Indeed, a well-known historical fact is that the best doctors in the Far East were also well-known martial artists.
Of course, the nature of stimulation of acupuncture points varies. It can be done by a fine needle or a Shiatsu push to release stuck qi, or by a hit, pressure or aggressive stab to an opponent, causing pain, shock, paralysis, loss of consciousness etc.
For example, on the dominant meridian of the front face, there is an acupuncture point used to treat a lack of consciousness, lower back pain, paralysis and pain in the maxillary front teeth. A punch, parry or aggressive push on that same point, can cause loss of consciousness, severe pain and shock. And so, the same acupuncture point which can be used as an important healing point is exploited as a deadly weak point in martial arts.
Another example: on the back of the hand on the colon meridian, there is an important point which effects head and neck, blood pressure, general strengthening, general pain relief and more. This point is used as a weakness point in martial arts. Applying strong pressure at this point causes extreme pain and is very efficient in releasing latches, clasps and so on.
Another important point exists in the lower back area, on the bladder meridian. This point directly affects the kidneys. Chinese medicine uses this point to treat low back pain, ear and kidney problems. This point is also a fatal weakness and is taught in one of applications of Kata Saifa.
I did not mention the exact location of these points in order to prevent irresponsible use of them by unqualified people.
The Katas and weakness points are taught in the Dento Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate Dojos, according to each student’s level and under the supervision of Ilan Oppenheimer Sensei.
To summarize, the weakness points are points which can be used to cause damage using minimal force. The human body is protected by a suit of muscles and bones, which are resistant areas designed to prevent injuries and damage internal organs. A strong blow to a resistant area is less effective than a soft blow to a weakness point.
Our martial art, Dento Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate, focuses on strengthening the resistance areas such as the forearms, calves, thighs, etc. by means of “Kote kitae” exercises and Sanchin Kata practices, in order to prevent intrusion and damage to internal organs and critical weakness points.
Chinese medicine and martial arts are closely related. The same points used as acupuncture point for healing and relief under certain conditions, are used as fatal weakness points in martial arts. In the past, a good martial artist was also a good doctor, following the “before learning to demolish, learn to fix” dogma. The most significant common trait to both branches is prevention: Medicine strives to prevent the disease. Martial art strives to prevent the battle.
* The article was written by Dr. Dr. Shlomo Albagli
Dr. Albagli (black belt Dan 1) is a veterinarian who treats animals in conventional and alternative medicine. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem School of Chinese Medicine, a graduate of an Auriculotherapy course in Medi Teva Collage, and a graduate of Scalp Acupuncture class in the Yamamoto method. Dr. Albagli has been practicing for many years in Dento Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate under the guidance of Ilan Oppenheimer Sensei.