April 26, 2016 at 12:12 am #46445
Note: this is useful blog post on relationship between TCM and martial arts.
Dim Mak: Life after the Death Touch
If Sensei Tanaka is your Shidoshi, then show us the Dim Mak.
Dudes testing Van Damme in Bloodsport
Yes, when I was a kid Van Damme was a big action star and yes as a martial arts kid I was watching his movies. This line has now become a constant joke amongst my friends and I when the Death Touch is brought up. Which always seems to happen when anyone mentions or shows a point in class during an application. But the topic always seems to come up over and over on Facebook, forums, with new students, with people from other clubs when I teach workshops and so I figured I should just write about it once to help clear the air as best I can about the mystery of the death touch. Not claiming to be an expert or Grand Poo-bah of the Dim Mak in any way here, but I think it is misunderstood in a big way and there are a lot of people that seem to make money from keeping it a mystery. I hate it when people make students chase a carrot for years and years for profit. So heres my opinion from my research, training and life so far.
點穴 Dian3 Xue2 as it is called most often in Mandarin (the translation Dim2 Mak6 stems from the Southern Dialect of Cantonese 點脈 spoken mainly in Hong Kong and the southern mainland. The first character Dian (Dim) is usually translated as either point or dot. This however is not referring necessarily to acupuncture points (although in some contexts it does) but to the action of pressing, hitting or dotting something. In swordsmanship the word Dian is used to describe a type of very accurate stabbing movement but the word comes from calligraphy. When writing Chinese with a brush some characters have dots on them which require a particular movement of the wrist in order to make them appear correctly on the page. In short here the character is used to represent an accurate, skilled strike on someones body.
The second characters used 穴 (Xue2) or 脈 (Mak6) have similar but different meanings, the first character Xue2 translates as Cave or Hole and when combined with Dian as in Dian Xue can actually be translated as Acupuncture points. The second character Mak6 can be translated as pulse or vein and is sometimes used in the translation of Dim Mak as Striking the Blood. Either way we can take these terms to mean accurately striking vulnerable areas. My point here being that Dim Mak as it is generally known in the martial arts world does not mean Death Touch.
So if accurate striking at vulnerable areas is the skill being referred to then of course the use of Chinese Medicine knowledge quickly comes to to forefront of conversations. However before going down that path I would like to state that one does not have to be an educated Chinese Medicine Practitioner to know that heavy accurate strikes to the eyes, throat, groin and so on are going to cause real damage and disable an opponent readily. Accurate striking of vulnerable areas Dim Mak.
But this is not the controversy about this area of martial arts practice and legend and is often disregarded as real Dim Mak, definitely a debatable point. Most of the time people researching and trying to learn about Dim Mak are looking for the Chinese Medicine links to martial arts and how to essentially use the theory and practice of the medicine in reverse, to harm rather than help. But this too can be misinterpreted and misunderstood due to language barriers and of course Martial Arts Legends and stories. Before moving on to a more reasonable approach to the mystical side of this topic I must add one issue which is the popular form of entertainment in China of the Wu Xia novel and now movies. Dim Mak became known in general through the martial arts stories, fictional stories, of the martial arts novels. Stories about heroes being heroes and using their mystical martial arts powers to right wrongs and save damsels. This is the realm of Kung Fu Masters leaping on rooftops, running across water and lighting things on fire with their chi. (I normally use the modern romanization of Qi for the character 氣 except when it is being used to represent magical abilities and energies). These novels were written as fictional entertainment and somehow became what people thought martial arts skills really were, Dim Mak included. So let us leave magical red sand palm and the 72 consummate arts of Shaolin temple in the realm of fiction.
So I guess whats left now is what I have learned about the reality of Dim Mak skills.
I like to organize martial arts training and skills by three levels, beginner intermediate advanced. In general one cannot gain advanced skills without the foundations to build them on. The more esoteric and strange the skills may seem the less they tend to be understood by those seeing them simply because of a lack of the foundations they are built upon, Dim Mak is no different.
Beginner Levels of these skills are really quite obvious but tend to be overlooked as not true Dim Mak because they are so simple. The idea is simple, to attack weak parts of the human body accurately and in a connected and powerful way. These types of skills are then usually labeled with the Chinese Terminology of the points just to entice and make them seem exotic. Exoticism sells in the Martial Arts and this works from a business point of view and many a business or brand has been built on them. No literacy of Chinese Medicine or theory needed for these points, just memorization and training. Examples of points like this include:
Tai Yang (Great Sun) Located at the temples on the sides of the head (Extra Point)
Feng Fu (Wind Mansion) Located on the back of the neck below the occipital protuberance. (GV16)
Tien Tu (Celestial Pivot) The base of the neck in the notch at the top of the chest. (CV22)
Hui Yin (Meeting of the Yin) The perineum, between the genitals and anus. (CV1)
Fairly straight forward but when left in Chinese with translations of the names and the more modern number system used for TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) they all seem to be quite mysterious. But by the time we are out of school most of us already know that being struck in the temples, neck, back of the neck or between the legs is painful and disabling. The same could be said for kicking out the knees or stabbing fingers into the eyes, obvious and non magical. But to refer back to the name of the skills Dian Xue (Dim Mak) we need to have accurate and well connected powerful strikes to these places in order for them to work. This is the reason they are still skills that need training in body mechanics to generate force, timing in order to be able to find openings when they appear and accuracy so when the opportunity arises we can actually strike the targets. Without these, there is no reason to move forward into lesser known locations that are harder to learn and strike. The trinity of power, speed and timing in martial arts is often overlooked as the obvious part of training. The thing is without looking at the real basics deeply and training them well, intermediate or advanced skills are unattainable.
Intermediate level of this skill set includes lesser known points that are more difficult to reach or have affects that are either more dangerous or less obviously known. It is here that you start to find people discussing Qi as a magical energy and delayed death and a lot of fantasy and legend thrown in. In my experience a lot of the things found here are points like Ren Ying (人迎 ST9) which is in the neck and when struck even fairly lightly activates the carotid sinus. The carotid sinus monitors and controls blood pressure and when struck tells the system that the blood pressure is too high and the heart should be slowed down, a heavy enough strike, enough input and the heart can be stopped or de-fibrillated.
Another example of this type of Death Point or striking was sometimes called Red Sand Palm (红铁砂掌) which was referring to the red palm print left after the strike. Their is specialized training for advanced levels of red sand palm but at an intermediate level it is referring to being able to strike with a depth and penetration that an opponent could be damaged internally from a palm strike. The strike as will all iron palm methods appear soft and innocuous but carry a huge weight with them. Typically this was aimed at the right side of an opponents rib cage. Yes a person could suspect that RiYue or DaBao could be the target but realistically the liver is there. Enough power and penetration and you could rupture or tear the liver which in a tie without western medicine and surgery would result in death a few days later.
Keeping a practical or logical mind about all this type of stuff starts to present that TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine 中药) was examining how the same body worked as western medicine but from a different time, culture and perspective. The exoticness of the language and culture to the western mind and indeed to the Chinese as well without an education in these matters makes it appear as legendary skills or magical qi powers. Couple that with the secrecy of the Masters and hype and fiction in legends and Wu Xia novels and it is easy to see how it has become very clouded in modern day.
The advanced levels of this stuff gets very cloudy depending on who you talk to and what lineage you pursue and some of it is total B,S, No touch knockouts and poisoning someones qi and that nonsense is all rooted in the Wu Xia Novels, fantasy kung fu for kids and to entertain. So what is real?
Well from my experience things become more difficult to perform at high speeds in many lineages. Points that are more obscure that cause a lot of pain, activate the nervous system in a way that causes shock or maybe even unconsciousness. It gets weirder too, my Ma family teacher (馬青龍) taught me a couple of things that were in the Dian Xue category when I was training with him that had less to do with hitting or physical injury and more to do with activating the opponents nervous system and mind through focused intent ( 意), Basically this is the same as someone staring at you from across a room and you feeling your being watched, that link between human beings we have all experienced and this method he taught me was training to use it to mess with someones head in order to open them up for a follow up. He would refer a lot to Ri Yue ( 日月 Sun & Moon GB24) and how directing a great deal of intent towards it on an opponent causes them to cover the point and become more defensive, opening other points to attack. Without making a huge writing about this skill in particular or how sometimes advanced level methods include set up points like using Nei Guan (內關 inner pass PC-6) to weaken the strength of the opponent briefly so another method can be used; suffice it so say there are weird things, that do work (in my experience) but are not even close to being easy to pull off in high speed real fights. But many times studying these skills are more about intellectual exercise or how they affect other parts of ones martial arts than killing people, especially today in our modern world.
To sum up the wall of text, dont over complicate things, expect fairy tales to be real or qi to be magic. Learning weaknesses of the anatomy and using that knowledge to defend yourself is Dim Mak. Try not to get bogged down or fogged up with the exotic language and medical terminology that often gets thrown in when this stuff is taught. To quote my Shifu whenever I would come to ask about using this method or that method in sparring and if it was correct Did it work? Then its correct. Enjoy the arts and all they have to offer but dont get lost in fantasy. Everything in moderation.
Please feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel (neilripski) or add me on facebook to get in touch. I am always happy to help when and where I can. -Neil thekungfuguyRipskiApril 29, 2016 at 7:57 am #46446
…so let us leave magical red sand palm and the 72 consummate arts of Shaolin temple in the realm of fiction…
Many of these Shaolin practices and skills are real, but the question is why someone would try to master that kind of things?
To become some kind of kung fu serial killer or what else?
To become a freak circus performer?
All of these are taking very much time to master and are not possible for anybody in the average life situation.
Anyway the book below is nice, but not very detailed introduction to the 72 consummate arts of Shaolin temple.
HOWDYApril 29, 2016 at 8:19 am #46448
The book below is very nice addition to the information in the book above.
It’s has even less details, but is has interesting discussions how various tools and weapons have developed.
Sorry for my broken English.
HOWDYApril 30, 2016 at 4:02 am #46450
It is a really good question. From my perspective, I’ve never had a chance to find the value of Taoism until I found Mantak Chias and Michaels books, and much deeper when finding this website. And I have always known about Shaolin and Buddhism. Some how yoga (plus hinduism) and buddhism are more popular (at least here in the balkans)April 30, 2016 at 4:37 am #46452
Count Juan Raphael Dante (born John Timothy Keehan, Chicago, Illinois, 2 February 1939, died 25 May 1975) was a controversial American martial artist figure during the 1960s and 1970s who claimed he could do extraordinary feats such as Dim Mak.
Can one take this kind of advertisements seriously?
HOWDYMay 1, 2016 at 5:02 am #46454
This incredible footage shows a Shaolin monk breaking the world record for running on water.
Forget walking on water, Shi Liliang managed to sprint an epic 118metres across a reservoir in Quanzhou city, China.
It took him six attempts and 45 seconds to sprint across the water after falling two-thirds of the way on his first go.
Shi, from the Quanzhou Shaolin Temple, broke his previous record by a full 18metres using 1cm thick plywood planks floating in the water a technique known as Qinggong.
The acrobatic monk credits focusing his strength, running quickly and using the planks buoyancy as key to completing his crossings.
Shi has been training in Qinggong since 2005 and attempted his first record in 2009, managing a relatively paltry 15m.
The Shaolin monastery is famous for its kung-fu monks that undergo rigorous training to pull off amazing acrobatic and physical feats.May 1, 2016 at 11:28 am #46456
Usain St. Leo Bolt, OJ, CD (/ˈjuːseɪn/; born 21 August 1986) is a Jamaican sprinter. Regarded as the fastest person ever timed, he is the first man to hold both the 100 metres and 200 metres world records since fully automatic time measurements became mandatory in 1977. Along with his teammates, he also set the world record in the 4×100 metres relay. He is the reigning Olympic champion in these three events, and the first man at the modern Olympic Games to win six gold medals in sprinting, and an eleven-time World champion. He was the first to achieve the “double double” of winning 100 m and 200 m titles at consecutive Olympics (2008 and 2012), and topped this through the first “double triple” (including 4×100 m relays).
The first record in the 100 metres for men (athletics) was recognised by the International Amateur Athletics Federation, now known as the International Association of Athletics Federations, in 1912. The record now is 9.58 seconds which was run by Usain Bolt.
-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men%27s_100_metres_world_record_progressionMay 6, 2016 at 9:16 am #46458
video link. Very real but not so much point based. A real issue for long term practitioners to be careful with. Somebody attacking you even in conversation can get a real whack and if jams up somewhere in that persons system – can give much distress or injury. Also meeting persons with greater strength in some element or faculty (such as highly concentrated mental abilities from that persons work or inherited karmic abilities) can result in those person being able to use that power (your accumulated power) against you. So ongoing learning in balance and being whole, round and balanced. Don’t throw power around and work on balance and wholeness; warriors of virtue model.May 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm #46460May 24, 2016 at 11:29 am #46462
The victims themselves were bad men, says Lillienfeld. A lot of people would think, Good for them, shame on them. But I worked on that case for three years, and it was a real eye opener. You develop compassion for them. They werent that different from you or me. They had families, hopes, dreams they just happened to turn left where you or I turned right.
This article above is highly recommended.
It’s about those modern day American prison gladiators.
Ps. Sorry for my broken English.June 7, 2016 at 1:38 pm #46464
Tsujigiri (辻斬り or 辻斬 tsuji-giri, literally ‘crossroads killing’) is a Japanese term for a practice when a samurai, after receiving a new katana or developing a new fighting style or weapon, tests its effectiveness by attacking a human opponent, usually a random defenseless passer-by, in many cases during nighttime.
From an outlaw biker to scaffolder?
This might be situation where one would need to consider how important it’s first of all to develop one’s brain muscles.
…so if accurate striking at vulnerable areas is the skill being referred to then of course the use of Chinese Medicine knowledge quickly comes to to forefront of conversations…
Healing is clearly much more difficult than harming, but what would important to understand that much more effectful is to study one’s own organism and then transport that, if necessary, to violent behaviour towards one’s enemies.
Sorry for my broken English.
Melanie Petrinec, The Courier-Mail
January 21, 2016 4:22am
A FORMER bikie has avoided serving extra jail time for threatening to break a mans legs in a drug-dealing turf war that ended up being a case of mistaken identity.
Brett Pechey, 29, pleaded guilty to two charges of threatening violence in the Brisbane District Court today.
Pechey, who was the then-Bandidos sergeant-at-arms, confronted Tony Halse at a Carindale Gym in August, 2013.
Crown prosecutor David Finch said Pechey threatened Mr Halse.
If I find out youre a dealer, Ill break your f*cking legs, Mr Halse said Pechey told the man.
This is my turf. Thats what we do.
When Judge Fleur Kingham asked if it was a territory dispute, rather than an objection to drugs, Mr Finch laughed.
It would seem so, he replied.
Mr Halse denies having any association with drugs, and the court was told it was seemingly a case of mistaken identity.
Pecheys barrister, Greg McGuire, said his client was trying to reform since he returned from Thailand last year, where he fled after being involved in the infamous Broadbeach bikie brawl.
He said he had lined up a job as a scaffolder.
Judge Kingham noted he had quite a lot of support in the community and ordered the 9.5 months he had already served behind bars since returning from Thailand was enough.
Pechey was released on immediate parole, and declined to comment outside court.July 18, 2016 at 8:13 am #46466
Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos told MMA Fighting that he suffered a fractured skull during his loss to Michael Page at Saturday’s Bellator 158 in London.
In the second round of their welterweight bout at the O2 Arena, Santos was dropped by Page with a flying knee to the head.
“I’m under observation now and will have surgery in the United States,” Santos told MMA Fighting. “I had a serious injury, but Bellator is giving me all the support I need.”
His ex-wife, MMA fighter Cris “Cyborg” Justino, took to Instagram to ask for thoughts and prayers.July 18, 2016 at 10:14 am #46468September 6, 2016 at 10:45 am #46470
Sorry, but are violent encounters to test one’s spiritual stamina encouraged among Healing Tao practitioners?
In the past a Chinese Master never taught his apprentices 100 percent of his knowledge. Instead he retained, say, the foremost 10 percent for himself alone. Perhaps he would write down the rest in adocument for his favovorite student, to be opened after his death. The result of this approach was that the sum of each clan’s learning decreased By 10 percent with each generation, until some charismatic student was able to decipher the mystery and return to the status of the original teacher, at which point cycle went on with his students, and so forth.
To make matters worse, the Masters almost never worked together. The concept of Western university, where knowledge is shared and experiences are compared, was an alien one for them. Power was meant to be used for profit, material and spiritual. More often than not martial Masters challenged each other; much knowledge was forfeited in this manner because the bested Master frequently lost his life as well.
-KOSTA DANAOS, The Magus of Java
One might conclude here that clearly this êy (Dian3 Xue2) is something to be learned and kept totally secret, especially if one intents to use it.
Sorry for my broken English.
HOWDYSeptember 29, 2016 at 7:10 am #46472
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