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The first is the muscle which extends from the mastoid process behind the ear down to the clavicle and the sternum; the second is the muscle running between the top of the shoulder and the vertebrae of the neck which is used in shrugging the shoulders. A jab or gouge which catches the sternocleidomastoid about halfway down its length about an inch below the angle of the jaw , will bruise both the muscle and accessory nerve, resulting in pain and partial temporary paralysis of the neck and shoulders.
Figure 8 Car keys can be used to attack the facial nerve where it lies against the back of the jawbone. Figure 9 The jugular vein and the carotid artery are vulnerable to knife attack from about the position illustrated up to the level of the jaw. The slash should be about one and one-half inches deep to catch both vessels. Jugular vein and the Carotid artery: A knife slash or saber cut across the side of the neck directly below the angle of the jaw will sever the jugular vein and, if deep enough, the carotid artery as well.
Fairbairn's timetable indicates unconsciousness within five seconds, and "death" in twelve seconds for this injury. This requires some qualification. Cutting off the blood supply to the brain for twelve seconds will not produce death or even brain injury, as every serious judo student knows. Brain deterioration requires one and one-half minutes or more of oxygen deprivation.
Fairbairn's twelve second figure may indicatethat after that period of time the victim has lost too much blood to be able to recover. If any first aid is to be applied it must come before this time limit, Figures 9 and Carotid sinus and Vagus nerve: This is one of the most interesting of the karate striking points because of the sophistication of the effect which a light blow to this area can have.
Since the brain is probably the most delicate organ in the body, and since it requires a constant and uniform flow of blood in order to function properly, the body has developed extraordinary safeguards to insure that the flow of blood to the brain is not interrupted.
Similarly, the blood pressure to the brain must not be allowed to rise to too high a level because of the danger of cerebral hemorrhage. To maintain this status quo there have developed special nerve cells in the carotid artery called baroreceptors whose sole function is to monitor the blood pressure in this important artery. If the pressure suddenly rises to a high level, these baroreceptors respond by sending immediate signals to the central nervous system.
Within a fraction of a second the central nervous system has acted in turn to decrease blood pressure in the body by causing four things to happen: 1 The heart immediately slows down. The net result is an almost instantaneous four-way reaction to decrease the flow of blood to the brain. This is the reason that the side of the neck is such an effective striking point, because shock to the baroreceptors forces the central nervous system to react mistakenly as if the blood pressure in the head had suddenly risen to a dangerously high level.
The central nervous system responds with a drastic drop in blood pressure, and within a second or two the blood supply to the brain is cut off completely. Fainting is immediate and unavoidable, and yet the helpless victim has actually suffered no more than having a slightly bruised neck. Figure 10 This is a reproduction of Captain W. Fairbairn's table of arterial targets for knife fighting as it appears in his combat manual, Get Tough!
The source of Fairbairn's information is not clear, and the meaning of the times listed under the "Death" column apparently stand for the amount of time that can pass before the victim has lost too much blood to be able to recover. Death follows within minutes, much less rapidly than indicated in the table.
The "Loss of Consciousness" figures seem quite reasonable, however. Figure 11 The blow to the bifurcation of the carotid artery is easy to apply and produces fainting, dizziness or disorientation without permanent injury. Figure 12 The thyroid cartilage can be crushed by a strong grip or by any of a variety of blows.
Light pressure is extremely painful, and heavier pressure is extremely dangerous.
The vagus nerve, which runs beside the carotid artery at this point, is also involved in this reaction as it controls or affects the function of the pharynx, larynx, bronchi, lungs, heart, esophagus, stomach, intestines and kidneys.
The blow momentarily disrupts control of all these organs at once, Figures 2 and Thyroid cartilage: The thyroid cartilage can be crushed by a relatively light blow, after which the resulting hemorrhage swells the soft tissue of the throat until the windpipe swells shut and the victim dies of suffocation. Only immediate medical aid can prevent a horrible death in this case, Figures 2 and Jugular notch: This is the "soft spot" in the front of the neck just above the manubrium.
At this point the trachea is exposed to attack, being covered only by the skin, with no protective bones or muscles. A finger poke here will result in pain; a more powerful attack can crush the trachial cartilages and result in death by strangulation. A jab by a knife or bayonet into this spot spills blood into the trachea, which due to a reflex seizure makes it impossible for the victim to breathe.
He chokes to death on his own blood, Figures 2 and Third intervertebral space: The striking point is the center of the back of the neck where the column of vertebrae is least supported by surrounding tissues and is therefore weakest. A blow to this region produces severe trauma to the spinal cord, resulting in unconsciousness or death. TV heroes make free use of the chop to the back of the neck to knock out the bad guys, but in real life the technique is frequently fatal, and is never harmless.
This spot is another hatchet or machete target, Figures 2, 14 and Seven cervical vertebra: This is the last vertebra of the neck, resting immediately on top of the first thoracic vertebra.
The first thoracic vertebra is braced into position by the first pair of ribs and by the muscles of the shoulder girdle, while the seventh cervical vertebra is not particularly braced in any way.
For this reason the spinal cord may be attacked relatively easily at this point because the immobility of the first thoracic vertebra predisposes the system to a shearing injury between the two vertebrae. The seventh cervical vertebra also possesses an unusually long dorsal spine, which is vulnerable to painful fracture.
This isthe part of the neck under attack during a violent application of a Full Nelson hold, but is best attacked by a sharp, hammer-like blow of the fist, Figure Figure 13 The three-finger strike to the throat. The tracheal cartilages lie just beneath the middle finger. The index and ring fingers help locate the target in the dark.
Figure 14 The blow to the third cervical vertebra administered to the back of a sentry's neck by the butt of a rifle. Figure 15 Figure 15 is a diagram of the vital points of the rib cage. The ribs are numbered downward from the top. White areas represent bone, while striated areas represent bands of elastic cartilage. Manubrium b. Sternal angle c. Body of the sternum d. Intercostal spaces knife thrust to heart e. Xiphoid process f. Floating ribs j.
Area occupied by the rib cage, shown here for reference f. Sacrum i. A downward blow here can inhibit the muscles of the neck, shoulder and arm, severely limiting the opponent's ability to fight. In addition, a man can be forced to release a hold by pinching and gouging deep beneath this muscle with the thumb and fingers. Note: One should not expect the spectacular results obtained by Star Trek's Mr.
Spock, Figures 2 and Subclavian artery: A stilletto forced downward into the top of the shoulder in the soft spot behind the collarbone will sever the subclavian artery. The victim bleeds to death in seconds. This is a very difficult area to reach with a knife because it involves holding the weapon above the victim's shoulder and stabbing downward, an approach not widely endorsed by knife wielders, Figure 2. Clavicle or Collar bone: This is the prominent horizontal bone in the front of each shoulder.
A heavy fist blow or sharp tap with a nightstack can snap it in two, effectively destroying the opponent's ability to fight with his hands, and in most cases completely putting him out of the fight. The jagged ends of the fracture may even be driven backward to penetrate the subclavian artery, which lies just behind the bone.
Damage to this artery can be fatal, depending on the nature of the internal wounds. Sternal angle: This is the point where the manubrium and the body of the sternum come together, about two inches below where the collar bones meet at the base of the throat.
It is a weak point in the sternum, and if attacked with a powerful blow to the sternal "shield" over the heart, bronchus, lungs and thoracic nerves can be broken, producing pain and shock to the circulatory and respiratory systems. This crushing of the chest should produce unconsciousness at the very least and can be fatal. This injury is the reason automobiles are now supplied with collapsible steering columns to avoid chest damage in collisions, Figure Intercostal spaces: There are four intercostal spaces next to the body of the sternum through which a stilletto point can be inserted into the heart.
These are below the third, fourth and fifth rib on the left side, and below the fourth rib on the right. The blade should be angled in toward the midline of the body and jerked back and forth for maximum effect, Figure Figure 17 A very deep pinch into the trapezius muscle can bruise the bracial plexus, temporarily paralyzing the arms and shoulders. It is usually used as a release. Xiphoid process: A finger-like tab of cartilage hanging off the lowermost edge of the sternum. This is the insertion of the rectus abdominus muscle on the sternum.
A powerful karate blow which strikes the xiphoid process while traveling upward at an angle toward the heart causes severe bruising to the liver, stomach and heart, resulting in unconsciousness or even death. This is also another knife route to the heart, Figure Fifth and Sixth Ribs: The target area is about one inch below the nipple on either side.
A powerful punch or a sharp kick at this point will breach the rib cage and inflict injuries on the lungs. This is the point where the fifth and sixth ribs articulate with the costal cartilages, the articulation being at the very tip of the bony part of the rib.
Hence a blow at this point exerts maximum leverage against the ribs, fracturing them relatively easily, Figure Sympathetic trunk: The striking point is the head of the third rib, right between the spine and the top of the shoulder blade. A powerful blow here will dislocate the rib, forcing it into the chest cavity.
This tears the thick bundle of sympathetic nerves which lie next to the spine, and the rib may penetrate a lung. The result is a disruption of the activity of the heart and lungs and agonizing pain, to say the least, Figure Fifth and Sixth Thoracic vertebrae: This striking point is squarely in the center of the back, at about the level of the lower ends of the shoulder blades. The spinal cord, and indirectly, the thoracic organs are under attack.
This area is frequently attacked by a blow from a rifle butt used to stun or kill a sentry, Figures 16 and Side of chest: The target area is the side of the rib cage just below the armpit, at about the same level as the fourth intercostal space. There is no particularly weak structure here, but a very powerful attack will break and dislocate the ribs, possibly driving them into the lungs.
Karate blows directed to this point are almost exclusively kicks, which can be slipped in when the opponent raises his arm to ward off a high-level hand technique, Figures 15 and Figure 18 Figure 18 is a diagrammatic cross section of the spine at the level of the third rib.
The striking point is shown by the black arrow. Struck forcefully from behind, the rib tears away from the vertebra white arrow and into the chest cavity. In the course of this, the rib head severs a spinal nerve, and damages the sympathetic nerve trunk. Thoracic vertebra b. Spinal cord c. Spinal ganglion d. Sympathetic nerve truck a cord of nerve tissue which runs down the length of the backbone, seen here in cross section.
Rib 00 d. Figure 20 The kick to the side of the chest can be slipped in under a raised arm, jarring the thoracic organs and bruising several important nerves in the armpit. Celiac solar plexus: The soft spot just below the stomach. A relatively light blow to this area will shock the diaphragm, momentarily paralyzing it, which makes breathing difficult. Pain and giddiness result, especially in an individual who has been exercising heavily and therefore is breathing hard.
A powerful blow directed straight in rather than upward as in the case of the xiphoid process can injure portions of the liver and stomach, producing internal bleeding, shock to some of the thoracic ganglia and unconsciousness.
This striking area is not protected by either bone or muscle which makes it singularly vulnerable even to finger pokes. The end of a nightstick can produce a very dramatic effect here, Figure Seventh intercostal space liver : About four inches to the right of the solar plexus. The target area is the combined costal cartilages of the seventh, eighth, nineth and tenth ribs above the liver.
Trauma to the liver can cause internal bleeding and possible fatal long-term metabolic dysfunction. A blow at this point will also paralyze the diaphragm temporarily, Figure Seventh intercostal space stomach : About four inches to the left of the solar plexus.
As in the case of the previous striking point, the target is the combined costal cartilages of the lower ribs, but on the left side they overlie the stomach and spleen. The stomach may be forced to regurgitate its contents by a blow to this region. The spleen is one of the blood reservoirs of the body and can be injured relatively easily, producing internal bleeding. And, again, the diaphragm can be adversely affected by a blow to this area, Figure It is possible to force the fingers up behind the costal cartilages at this point, grasp them, and yank them outward.
The sensation is indescribably unpleasant. Eleventh intercostal space floating ribs : The eleventh and twelfth ribs are the "floating ribs," so-called because they are not connected to the sternum by costal cartilages. They lie very low on the side of the abdomen, about four inches above the hip bones. These ribs can be broken by a relatively light blow damaging either the stomach or the liver as in the case of the previous two striking points.
Such a blow is commonly delivered from the side, traveling in toward the center of the body. This is a favorite nightstick target, Figure Figure 21 An elbow blow to the celiac solar plexus can knock the wind out of even the strongest attacker. Abdominal aorta and Vena cava: A knife wound anywhere in the abdomen can cause enough shock to put a man down, but this depends on the man and his state of mind. A deep thrust followed by jerking the blade sideways can sever the aorta or vena cava which lie along the backbone, resulting in massive internal bleeding and instant death, Figure Lower abdomen: This vital point is just below the navel.
A punch directed downward into the bowl of the pelvis will injure the bladder, the lower large intestine, the genitals, the femoral arteries and a profusion of spinal nerves. The pain and shock caused by a blow to this complex area is stunning. Iliac crest: A thrust kick which lands squarely on the hip bone will badly jar an opponent, possibly injuring the nerves of the lower back. Breaking this bone, as with a heavy club, immediately puts the opponent on the ground.
Kidneys: The striking point is just to the left or right of the eleventh thoracic vertebra, partially covered by the last rib. The kidneys are very delicate organs richly supplied with blood.
Their proximity to the abdominal aorta makes them particularly prone to massive hemorrhage when injured. Damage to the kidneys can cause shock and even death.
This is a primary knife target since the kidneys and the renal arteries are very close to the surface and can be reached by a shallow thrust, Figure First lumbar vertebra: There are several combat karate techniques which involve lifting an opponent up into the air and then dropping him across your bent knee, snapping his backbone at the level of the first lumbar vertebra, Figure 16 and Fifth lumbar vertebra: This is the last vertebra above the pelvis. It articulates with the sacrum, which is essentially fused to the pelvis, so all coordinated movement between the upper and lower halves of the body pivots upon this joint.
Any damage to the spine at this point will serve to weaken an opponent even if no serious damage to the spinal nerves should result, Figure Testicles: The genitals are very delicate and are so loaded with sensory nerves that even a glancing blow to the groin can be completely debilitating.
A full power blow to the scrotum and testes will crush these organs against the pubic bones and can result in actual castration. The drawback in using this target is that street fighters universally expect the attack and learn to defend against it.
Fathers who advise their daughters to "knee the bastard in the crotch" usually haven't taken this into consideration. Figure 22 A knee-kick to the floating ribs is a persuasive method of keeping a grounded opponent down.
Figure 23 The stab to the kidney is the classic example of an effective, skillfullyexecuted knife attack. Figure 24 One of the more brutal unarmed defense techniques consists of breaking a man's back over your bent knee.
The victim has been forcefully dropped across the knee from shoulder height. The reader should be cautioned that there is a slight delay between this injury and the resulting agony. Some combat karate schools train their students to make use of the second or so between injury and collapse to catch the attacker offguard and kill him before becoming helpless. A full second to work with is more than enough time for a desperate karateist to land several potentially lethal blows. Coccyx: This is the tailbone, located at the tip of the spinal column beneath the sacrum.
The coccyx overlies the sacral plexus where nearly all of the major nerve trunks of the hips and legs originate. In addition, the coccyx is a vestigial part of the spine and as such is innervated directly by a spinal nerve which descends from the extreme tip of the spinal cord.
Fracture of the coccyx affects all the above mentioned nerves, producing agonizing pain. Fracture of the coccyx requires corrective surgery but does not endanger the life or health of the injured party. Healing, even after surgery, is delayed and painful because the anal muscles attach to the coccyx, and pull against the fracture whenever the victim has a bowel movement, Figures 16, 25 and Figure 25 A knee kick to the coccyx is extremely painful and the injury takes a long time to heal.
Shoulder joint: Under the proper circumstances the humerus can be twisted and torn entirely out of its socket in the shoulder.
The dislocation takes the fight out of an opponent immediately. Subaxillary bundle: There is a target located high on the inner side of the arm, about an inch down from the fold of the armpit. The brachial artery can be felt at this point, and within a fraction of an inch of this artery lie portions of several major nerves, including the radial, ulnar, and medial nerves.
A sharp blow or pinch at this point will damage these nerves and temporarily paralyze the arm. A slashing cut with a knife will sever the artery and the nerves, causing permanent paralysis at the least, and death within minutes if the bleeding is not stopped, Figure Radial nerve lateral aspect : About halfway down the outer side of the upper arm the radial nerve is exposed where it crosses the humerus on its way from the shoulder down into the forearm.
The striking point is immediately beneath the insertion of the deltoid muscle. Bruising the nerve at this point produces much the same effect as that of striking the "funny bone," i. Triceps muscle: The muscle on the back of the upper arm which causes the straightening of the arm at the elbow. A sharp blow, such as a knuckle blow, to the belly of the muscle will cause temporary paralysis of the arm making it very difficult for the opponent to use hand techniques effectively.
The mechanism for this is rather complex. Most of the muscles of the body operate in opposing pairs and pull against each other at all times. By stimulating one muscle and inhibiting the opposite muscle the body achieves movement. But most muscles are actually strong enough to tear their own tissue if they attempt to contract at full power when no movement is possible, such as in the case of a man trying to lift a very heavy object.
To prevent injuries of this sort the body has nerves within the muscles and their tendons which sense this sort of self-inflicted damage and react by paralyzing both the injured muscle and the opposing muscle. This inhibition of the strained tissue makes it impossible for the muscle to contract strongly enough to do itself any further damage.
The karateist can take advantage of this protective reaction by striking at the bellies and tendons of large muscles. This triggers the paralyzing reflex which then weakens not only the muscle which was attacked, but other muscles as well.
Figure 26 Front of the arm. Subaxillary bundle arteries, nerve and tendons b. Insertion of the biceps muscle cubital fossa c. Superficial branch of the radial nerve in the mound of the forearm d. Inside of wrist radial artery, flexor tendons, and medial nerve Figure 27 The back of the arm. Radial nerve just below the insertion of the deltoid muscle b. Triceps muscle c. Ulnar nerve "funny bone" d. Superficial branch of the radial nerve in the mound of the forearm e.
Ulna about one and one-half inches above the wrist f. Nerve pressure points of the hand The triceps muscle and the radial nerve are also very vulnerable to a knife slash, as when one fighter lunges for the kill but his opponent sidesteps and slashes at the extended arm, Figure Biceps: The belly of the bicep muscle can be bruised, or slashed with a knife, temporarily paralyzing the arm.
Cubital fossa insertion of the biceps : The thick bundle of tendons extending down from the bicep into the hollow of the elbow can be injured by a chop, or severed by a heavy "sabre cut" with a Bowie knife. Both attacks render the arm useless, Figure Ulnar nerve: There is a soft spot in the back of the upper arm about an inch up from the point of the elbow, beneath which lies a portion of the ulnar nerve.
This is the point commonly called the "funny bone. Many armlocks depend on pressure applied to this point, Figure Elbow joint: The striking point is the back of the straightened arm at the elbow. A relatively light blow to this spot will dislocate the elbow, breaking the arm. Olecranon: Point of elbow.
When the elbow is bent, a sharp blow on its point from a nightstick can shatter the end of the ulna, Figure Superficial branch of radial nerve: This is the branch of the radial nerve which passes through the mound of the forearm, the muscular bulge in the top of the forearm about three inches down from the elbow.
A blow to this nerve will produce a dull aching pain in the forearm and hand that results in a weakening of the muscles which control the fingers and hand. Once struck in the mound of the forearm an opponent will experience difficulty in forming a fist or grasping a weapon. This nerve center is commonly a target for a knife-hand block chop , Figures 26 and Figure 28 A nightstick blow on the tip of the elbow can chip or break the end of the ulna, immobilizing the arm.
Figure 29 A club blow or karate chop to the inside of the wrist can shock the median nerve, making it difficult for the opponent to control his hand.
A sharp blow here can force the hand to open involuntarily, releasing the weapon. Median nerve: The inside of the wrist about an inch and a half up the arm from the heel of the hand. The striking point is the soft area between the radius and ulna. A blow at this point produces damage to the underlying median nerve. Digging lightly into this area with a knuckle produces an unusually intense and sickening kind of pain in the forearm, Figures 26 and Radial artery and Flexor tendons: A knife slash across the inside of the wrist will sever the radial artery and several of the tendons which pull the fingers into a fist.
The opponent loses the ability to grasp anything with his hand, and will pass out within thirty seconds, according to Fairbairn if he does not use his other hand to stop the bleeding. Therefore, a slashed wrist will effectively "disarm" an opponent. It takes about two minutes to bleed to death from this injury, Figures 26 and Back of the wrist: About two inches up the back of the arm from the wrist joint.
The median nerve can be shocked by a sharp blow at the back of the wrist, such as a knifehand chop. Ulna: A sharp blow to the ulna, about one and one-half inches above the wrist, such as with a nightstick, will snap it in two and immobilize the arm. The author speaks from painful experience , Figures 27 and Wrist joint: When bent in certain ways, the wrist will lock painfully and can be broken or used as a controlling pain. Aikido students in particular are fond of wrist locks, Figure Back of the hand: There are three vulnerable areas.
The radial nerve and the ulnar nerve form a loop of nerve tissue which runs out the thumb side of the hand, across the back of the hand just behind the knuckles, and back down the little finger side of the hand. These nerves are particularly vulnerable at three points: 1 between the thumb and the index finger where the radial nerve is exposed against the side of the second metacarpal bone, 2 between the knuckles of the middle and ring fingers where the two nerves meet, and 3 along the little finger side of the fourth metacarpal where the ulnar nerve is exposed.
A sharp digging blow with a yawara stick or gouging with the fingernails at these points will produce surprisingly severe pain in the hand and arm. These nerve points are usually used to break the opponent's grip on a knife or other object, Figures 27 and Figure 30 In this photo one fighter has tried to grab the other but has been blocked by a slash to the inside of the wrist.
Figure 31 Baton attack to the ulna. The smaller of the two long bones of the forearm is easy to break just behind the wrist.
Figure 32 The wrist joint can be locked painfully and used to control an opponent with the threat of dislocation. When the wrist is forced into this position the opponent's hand involuntarily opens and drops any weapon he may be holding.
Fingers: The fingers can be "jammed" or sprained very easily, a frequently used tactic being to strike the opponent's hands to hurt his fingers and make it difficult for him to make fists. Many releases depend on spraining or breaking one or more of the opponent's fingers, Figure In knife and bayonet fighting the fingers are primary targets, and a heavy blade can actually sever them. Once the hands have been muli- lated in this manner the enemy is defenseless.
Figure 33 The nerve pressure points of the back of the hand. The dotted lines show the paths of the nerves, and the arrows indicate the three locations where the nerves can be squeezed against underlying bones by gouging with the fingernails. Figure 34 In a fist fight a fast punch to the opponent's relaxed fingers can sprain, break or dislocate them making the hand useless. Inguinal region: The inside front of the upper thigh, at the fold where the thigh joins the trunk.
The striking point includes the first few inches of the path of the femoral nerve, the femoral artery and vein, and the genitofemoral nerve at the point where they exit the abdomen and enter the thigh.
Of primary importance is the femoral nerve, which innervates the sartorius and quadriceps femoris muscles. Trauma to this nerve will paralyze or greatly weaken the thigh muscles, preventing the use of any coordinated foot techniques by the opponent. In addition, the pain generated by a blow to the femoral nerve can be sufficient to take the fight out of an opponent even if loss of muscle control does not occur.
A deep gouging of the opponent's inguinal areas with your thumbs is a quick release from a bear hug even when both your arms are pinned to your sides. A knife or bayonet injury to this area is extremely serious because of the large size and exposure of the femoral artery. Unconsciousness and death follow in seconds. Note that some military manuals have mistakenly shown this point as being almost halfway down the thigh. The true target is no lower than the level of the testicles, Figure Sciatic nerve: The striking point is the center of the back of the thigh just below the fold of the buttocks.
The largest nerve of the body, the sciatic nerve, is vulnerable at this point. The sciatic nerve gives rise to the peroneal nerve and the tibial nerve, hence a kick to the gluteal fold will interfere with muscular control of the back of the thigh and the entire lower leg and foot. The blow also produces relocated pain in the abdomen as well as pain and cramping at the point of impact, Figures 36 and Femur: There are karate techniques, mainly kicks, which purport to snap the thighbone in two, but this takes tremendous power, Figure Vastus lateralis: The large muscle running down the outside of the thigh.
This is one part of the quadricips femoris, the alliance of four large muscles which extend the leg by straightening the knee. This and the next striking point Figure 35 The front view of the leg.
Inguinal region femoral vein, artery and nerve b. Vastus lateralis c. Rectus femoris d. Patella kneecap e. Knee joint strike anywhere on the front and sides f. Deep peroneal nerve shin g. Arch of the foot right against the shin h.