Street Fighting – Do Pressure Points Work?

Street self defence uses simple and direct techniques to get the job done and beat an attacker. So is there a place for pressure point techniques in street self defence?

Over the past 20 years or so I have trained and studied with many fantastic martial artists from a variety of arts including aikido, judo, Taewondo and ninjitsu. Many of these use pressure points on the body to attack or shock an attacker but in my view they have no place in practical street self defence.

It’s a fact that everyone will react differently to different pressure points. I remember a class where a line of students were dropped to the floor by the sensei applying pressure to a nerve in their neck. The same technique was applied to me and it had little impact and I had no reaction. This isn’t because I am a real tough guy! All our bodies are ‘wired’ differently and react in different ways to pain and attacks. If you were faced with a violent assault or threat in a real street fight would you want to take the risk?

Direct strikes to weak points like the nose, throat or groin are have much greater benefits than pressure points in my view. Firstly, everyone will react to them – that’s a fact! Know anyone who won’t react to a kick or blow to the groin? Secondly, you have far less chance of missing a target like the nose or groin than a smaller nerve point on the neck or hand.

In the stress of a fight you need simple techniques that you will be able to use under pressure. There is a place for targetting sensitive areas or soft targets but these don’t have to be hard to find. The most effective fighting methods which I would say include krav maga do not rely on pressure point fighting.

Let me be clear and say I know pressure points do work but there place is perhaps more to ‘lock down’ or secure an attacker once things are under control. If you rely on them as a first line response you have a real danger of missing a technique and making the situation worse.

In aikido the lock or technique Yonkajo is one of the foundations. I have been on the receiving end of an applied Yonkajo and it can feel like someone’s holding a lighted match to your wrist! Still, I wouldn’t use the technique on the street and would rather strike or kick as a response if threatened. If you want to study traditional martial arts and gain a real understanding of the history of everything from Choi Kwang Do to MMA there is an argument to learn some pressure point techniques.

The ancient Chinese art of Dim Mak uses vulnerable points to exploit weaknesses in the human body. Not surprisingly there are roots of Dim Mak in Chinese acupuncture. Of course years of study are required but this is a really effective use of pressure points and one to be respected.

I have studied martial arts from across the world and now study street self defence as the real solution to violence on the street. Visit my free resource at to learn more
Article Source