Kyusho Jutsu - The Art of Striking Vital Points
Kyusho Jutsu can be described as the art of striking the vital points of the human body in order to more easily control, subjugate, maim or, if necessary, even kill the opponent - the level of severity obviously depending on the seriousness of the situation. Together with the techniques of Tuite (the art of grasping or seizing the vital points) Kyusho Jutsu techniques can enable a skilled practitioner to execute highly effective self-defence, even in advanced age, and irregardless of physical size and strength.
The vital points are comprised partly of a selection of the Tsubo, or
pressure points, used in Acupuncture and Shiatsu, but there also many
'non-classical' vital points. Some of these points can be considered as
obvious, such as the testicles, eyes and windpipe. Others are much less
obvious but can be equally effective when attacked in the correct manner.
The main difficulty in attacking the Tsubo is the fact that they are generally
very small and each point must be attacked at a particular angle, often
unique to that particular point, for the maximum effect to be achieved.
To complicate matters further, some points respond best to either striking,
rubbing or grasping. Hence, not only must the angle of attack be considered,
but also the method. That said, it is often more useful to think of areas,
zones or lines on the human body which may be effectively attacked. A
knowledge of human anatomy from a western medical perspective is useful
Rather than being seen as simple sequences of blocks and counters (or
often just blocks), Kata can be regarded as catalogues of techniques which
allow the practitioner to effectively attack the opponent's vital points.
In my opinion this is where the real value of Kata lies. If the correct
movements are performed in response to an attack, then a number of vital
points or areas on the opponent's body will not only be exposed but, more
importantly, will be exposed AT THE CORRECT ANGLE to be effectively attacked.
I believe, therefore, that one of the main purposes of Kata (in addition
to practising the basic movements of the style) is to enable the practitioner
to practice techniques to their conclusion without risk of injuring a
training partner, and to do so whilst visualising realistic attacks. In
this way, repetitive training of Kata and bunkai (applications) will help
prepare the practitioner to respond effectively to sudden violent confrontation
without having to pause for thought or decide which techniques to use.
To the uninitiated, Kyusho Jutsu can seem almost magical in its effectiveness.
However, a word of caution: whilst there are practitioners who can induce
unconsciousness with great ease in a compliant 'attacker', I find it difficult
to believe that such pinpoint accuracy can be successsfully achieved in
the 'heat of battle'. When it's dark, you're scared, your hands are sweaty
and your life depends the success of your actions, it becomes a lot harder
to have the presence of mind and perfection of technique to apply such
techniques properly. I prefer to modify my training as follows, to account
for this (in accordance with my motto - 'If it doesn't work down a dark
alley on a Saturday night, I'm not interested'):
It may often be that the most effective techniques to use are the simplest and most direct - a flick to the eyes, a slap to the ear, a pinch here or a nip there - these are all excellent ways of 'softening up' an attacker so that a decisive counter can be made.
By understanding the techniques of Kyusho Jutsu & Tuite and their use
in Kata bunkai, it should not be necessary to know a great many Kata,
merely to know and understand very well those you do practice.