“Being hit is inevitable, strike back twice as hard”
In the human body is infinitely complex and is packed full of over 7 trillion nerves. This system groups together the nerves and cells that communicate with the body from the brain. Along with the nervous system is the cardiovascular system which transports 5 litres of blood around the body to the muscles and organs. If any of the processes are slightly out of line it can have a huge impact on the body.
My previous post on pressure points aimed to identify what a pressure point is and how they work, a previous post around striking areas also identified some basic pressure points. This post aims to expand on the striking areas post and look in a little more detail the vital points which can be utilised in a self defence situation.
Read all about pressure points here:
Read about striking areas here:
Vital points in the head:
The temple is a well known vital point which can cause unconsciousness and pain, the temple is located in line with your eyes on the side of the head. Various nerves and the temporal artery pass close and strikes to the temple are effective in self defence.
The mastoid is a bone by the ear which protects the facial nerve. Pressure around this area distracts and opponent and can cause severe pain. The vital point location can be found behind the jaw and underneath the ear.
This nerve supplies the eye lids, lips and nose with senses. It is located just below the nose above the upper lip. Pressure causes pain immediately and can be manipulated to control the attacker.
Another extension of the maxillary nerve is the zygomatic nerve. The zygomatic is in line with the nostrils just below the cheek bones. Pressure can be used to control the attacker, take them to the floor and cause significant pain.
Eyes, ears, nose, etc:
The head is full of vital points which will cause a significant reaction if poked, punched pushed etc, a clap to the ears can cause concussion, a poke to the eyes can end a confrontation. A strike to the nose can cause black and watery eyes. See the striking areas post for more!
Vital points in the neck and shoulders:
The Vagus Nerve:
The vagus nerve runs throughout the body but it easiest access in the side of the neck. This nerve is responsible for control of the heart, the lungs and the digestive tract. Because of this, heart rate and blood pressure can be disrupted with a strike to this area. The videos you can readily find online of people chopping at the side of the neck causing them to immediately fall unconscious is because of the vagus nerve being hit. The vagus nerve is sensitive and permanent damage or death can follow a strike to this nerve.
The Carotid Artery:
The carotid arteries run up either side of the neck supplying the head with oxygenated blood. Construction of these arteries restrict oxygen arriving at the brain and can cause an attacker to lose consciousness. Many strangulation's work by restricting 1 or both of the carotid arteries. Restriction can cause unconsciousness in 6-10 seconds and if it is not released death will follow soon after.
The Suprasternal Notch:
The suprasternal notch, sometimes known as the jugular notch is the little pocket which can be felt between the clavicle/collar bones. Pressure here causes choking and extreme pain, damage is highly likely and care should be taken.
Brachial Plexus Nerve:
The brachial nerve is interesting as it isn't in the neck or head yet can still cause a knockout, it is also one of the most effective pressure points. This is taught to martial artists, law enforcement and security alike. This nerve is responsible for the entire arm and chest. This nerve can be found on the front of the shoulder at the base of the neck.
Vital points of the arms and hands:
Radial, Ulnar and Medial Nerves
Stemming from the brachial nerve is the radial nerve, these are easiest accessed in the forearms along the radius bone. The nerve runs all the way from the arm to the shoulder and controls the tricep muscles, the wrists and the thumb and first 2 fingers. Strikes to the radial nerve and surrounding muscle will deaden the arm and open up opportunities for other techniques.
This ulnar nerve is the largest nerve in the body which isn't at all protected by muscle or bone. The pain when knocking your “funny bone” is in fact pressure on the ulnar nerve. (It is called the funny bone because of the odd electric sensation and a pun from being positioned next to the “humerous” bone). This nerve is responsible for the little and ring fingers. This nerve is easiest struck on the backs of the forearm.
Tricep, Bicep and forearm muscles:
The nerve points all give purpose to the muscles of the arm, another way to utilise vital points is striking or applying pressure to the muscles directly, this will usually also hit nerve points as well as deadening the muscle. The feeling of a dead muscle is when the muscle fibres are crushed against the bone, this can be very useful in self defence. For example, a strike to the inside of the upper arm can leave the arm dead and unable to attack.
Vital points in the hand:
The radial nerve can be accessed in the fleshy part between the thumb and index finger but with more uses is rapping the back of the hand with the knuckles to release a grab or bending the fingers either against the joint or past the range of motion of the joint. Pressure on the finger nails can also be used effectively in conjunction with other tactics.
Vital points In the legs and feet:
Like the brachial strike, attacks to the peroneal nerve are frequently taught today enforcement and security, strikes to this nerve will temporarily disable an assailant, making it impossible to stand on the leg which is attacked. The peroneal nerve is easiest to access on the outside of the upper leg around 5 inches above the knee. The nerve controls the lower leg and Strikes will cause numbness, pain or tingling in the leg which can last from seconds up to 5 minutes.
This nerve is responsible for extending the leg and feeling over the front of the thigh and is connected all the way to the arch of the foot from the spine. The femoral nerve runs along the inside of the thighs and runs parallel to the bone and femoral artery. Pressure to the femoral nerve causes pain and makes it difficult to stand. This nerve can be manipulated in striking and grappling situations.
Vital points in the feet:
Detailed knowledge of vital points in the feet is not needed, for the most part an attacker will be wearing shoes which make it difficult to pull off nerve applications. What can be utilised however are kicks to the ankle, stamps on the bridge of the foot and the toes and scraping your foot down their shin to where their foot meets the shin.