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Survival Series Part 1 - Pressure Points and How to Use Them

The following article marks the first in the 'Survival' series slated for four parts, which focuses on the nitty-gritty of real-world fighting. No showy moves will be found here, just good old-fashioned martial arts moves that are designed with only one goal in mind: survive. In a real world encounter against an attacker, there are no medals or trophies for second place, and the wrong decision at the last second could leave you seriously injured or worse.

NOTE: The information discussed here is designed for self-defense purposes only. The techniques shown are to be used only in the event that you or somebody you know is at risk of serious injury or death from an attacker. This is in no way permission to use these techniques in your martial arts classes or with friends. Many of the techniques shown here can cause serious, irreparable damage. Use them only when faced with no other option.

As hinted at by the title, this first part will focus on pressure points. These sensitive spots are common in all of us and can win a fight in seconds if required. But first, a some basic information:


According to the World English Dictionary, a pressure point is defined as follows:


Pressure Point - n. -any of several points on the body above an artery that, when firmly pressed, will control bleeding from the artery at a point farther away from the heart.

Sometimes you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by simply going for a pressure point. Other times, they may be your only option. Either way, knowing about pressure points, including their locations and effects, can aide you not only in properly targeting them, but also in defending against attacks to your own vital areas.

The diagram above shows the major nerve points and their locations. Further description of each nerve is as follows:

1)Suprascapular Nerves - This nerve is located at the back of the shoulder, just where the shoulder blade meets the neck.

2)Radial Nerve - This is one of the major nerves found throughout the human arm. It is located on top of the forearm, just below the elbow.

3)Median Nerve - This nerve is located on the inside of the forearm just at the base of the wrist. Aim for a spot just above the heel of the hand.

4)Sciatic Nerve - The sciatic nerves are located just above each buttock but below the belt line. It's also the largest nerve in the human body aside from the spinal cord.

5)Femoral Nerve - If you know where the femoral artery is located then you're on the right track already. The femoral nerves are located at the inside of the thigh, towards the center.

6)Peroneal Nerve - Have you ever given/received a 'dead leg'? Then you know both where this nerve is located and what happens when you hit it just right. This nerve is located at the front of the leg, just on the outside of the thigh. Aim for a spot approximately three inches above the knee.

7)Temple - The temple is probably the most recognized of all pressure points. Feel for the soft spots located on either side of your head just above your eyes. Welcome to your temples.


1)Suprascapular Nerves - A sharp strike to either of these nerves will immediately cause the corresponding arm to cease functioning. The resulting pain is enough to cripple an aggressor both physically and mentally. This nerve is most vulnerable when attacked from the rear at a downward angle.

2)Radial Nerve - Chances are, at some point you've bumped this or have been hit on this nerve with an object of some kind. If you've been hit here before, you remember it. Even a light blow to this point can render the arm useless for a short period of time. This is one of the best places to target with either a baton or similar weapon. A closed fist will do in a pinch.

3)Median Nerve - When struck at this point, an attacker will feel an excruciating pain shoot up his arm which will be temporarily disabled. Like the radial nerve, this is an effect nerve to aim for when trying to disarm an opponent.

4)Sciatic Nerve - When stuck solidly, this nerve can not only disable an attacker's legs, but it can even cause severe respiratory failure.

5)Femoral Nerve - A solid strike will cause intense and sudden pain and will most likely cease the leg from functioning like a leg for a good while. While knees are the most common method of striking this area, it will be affected by anything heavy and solid striking it.

6)Peroneal Nerve - Have you ever given/received a 'dead leg'? Then you know precisely what happens when you hit the Peroneal just right. When struck, along with severe pain (are we sensing a pattern yet?), this nerve will also most likely succeed in causing the recipient's leg to collapse.

7)Temple - This is the place where most everyone has been hit at one time or another, so you know exactly how great it feels to be struck there. Even a weak bump from the rounded corner of a cabinet or counter-top is enough to bring anyone to their knees. Any good strike with either a bare fist or a blunt object has the potential to instantly knock an attacker unconscious. Small focused strikes with small rounded objects (Small kubotans are perfect in this situation) are best and will create the most effective results.


During any kind of general rough-housing or martial arts competitions, deliberate strikes to these areas should be out of the question. These are highly sensitive areas that should not be attacked whimsically or even semi-seriously. You can never predict exactly what kind of reaction someone will have to one of these strikes, and even the slightest miscalculation of pressure could have serious consequences.


In a life or death situation. When confronted by an attacker, you can and should strike at these points first. Hit as many of them as possible. Hit them fast and hit them hard. Any threat to you needs to be put down quickly and without hesitation. This is no time for foolish theatrics or timidness.

If you can strike at them with a personal defense weapon like a kubaton keychain or something similar, then all the better.

Closing Points

To reiterate, the techniques discussed here are to be used only when a life-or-death situation demands it. These are seriously debilitating techniques that have the potential to kill an attacker if struck with enough force. Do not use this knowledge lightly. In Part Two, we'll show you how you can use improvised weapons from everyday items to defend yourself even more effectively.

Come back next week to read Part Two of our Survival Series: 'Improvised Weapons: What Jason Bourne Can Teach You'. In the meantime, please take a second to leave a few comments about this article or KarateMart.com in general. We love to hear from you!


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2 Comment(s)
5/23/15 - 9:14am
This was really cool
karate king
5/11/18 - 11:12am
that was very cool to attack robbers

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