How to Attack Pressure Points

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Pressure points refer to points on the body that may be manipulated in order to produce moderate to severe pain and/or temporary incapacitation. There are several types of pressure points located all over the body, including joints, special nerve endings, bone edges, tender muscle areas and other especially weak areas. Lower level pressure points rely on pain as the means of manipulating an opponent; higher level pressure points rely on reflex reactions that stem from involuntary, nervous responses that may incapacitate your opponent while causing little to no pain.

  • Choose your intended area of attack. Depending on the pressure point you select, you will have a specific angle, direction and force of attack. For example, pressure point attacks on especially sensitive areas, such as a jab to the eyeball, generally require light force and a more precise direction and angle of attack.

  • Select the type of force you will use and with what part of your body you will attack. There are three principle forces from which to choose: pressing, rubbing and striking.

  • To press, first locate and make contact with the pressure point. Next, make a swift puncture, directing a sharp, focused force of pressure into the intended point. For example, to manipulate the gag reflex, execute a rapid press on the neck just above the sternum and just below the Adam's apple to cause involuntary muscle contractions and temporary loss of breathing control.

  • To rub, locate and make contact with the pressure point. Next, violently rub into the surface of the point, digging in while simultaneously grinding up and down and side to side around the surface of the point. For example, a rub can be used on the soft spot located on top of the skull.

  • To strike, locate the pressure point mentally, and then direct a swift forceful blow towards that point. There are many types of striking techniques. A general rule of thumb is to attack hard surfaces with a soft part of your body--for example, a palm strike to the skull--and to attack soft surfaces with a hard part--a knuckled fist strike to the stomach.

  • Consider the angle and direction of your attack. If you are attacking a bone edge, such as the shin, attack with a 45 degree angle and direct the force into and down along the shin, grinding roughly against the bone's edge. For a more direct and powerful force, attack with a 90 angle, directing the force fully inward--for example, a punch to the gut.

Tips & Warnings

  • While lower level pressure points are not as effective in subduing your opponent, they are more variable and often easier to execute than higher level points, such as cardiac points or knockout points. With this in mind, attempt a low level pressure point in combination with a high level point. Upon executing the former, the pain you have inflicted will provide you time to execute a more serious pressure point attack, rendering your opponent extremely vulnerable.
  • If your attack does not produce the intended response, do not use additional force; you may not have performed the attack properly, as relatively little force is required for most well-directed attacks.

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