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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 1999 10:27 pm 
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I've been waiting a while to set up a discussion of this work. Please click on the following and have a read. It'll take a while. You might want to print it out and take your time. Don't worry if you don't understand it all. Most do not. Just get out of it what you can and then join in on the discussion.

www.uechi-ryu.com/five_element.htm

The topic of kyusho (sequential striking of specific points) and tuite (point manipulation in grappling) has generated tremendous interest, great controversy, and quite a few charletans. Whatever you believe, the following items are true.

1) There are "owie points" on the body. If you strike or manipulate these points, you will get a larger effect than if you strike or manipulate other areas (like the top of the forehead).

2) If you hit or manipulate these points in succession, or even simultaneously, you get a greater effect than if you hit or manipulate only a single such point.

3) Many traditional forms are basically recipes for how to get to these vulnerable points and do what you wish with an attacker.

Look ma, no magic. No reason to get your chi all worked up, right?

But.....problem is, the The Bubishi and other classics that talked about the principles of sequential striking (kyusho) draw from an older understanding of the human body. Many of the authors of this general body of knowledge actually believed in chi and meridians and the science (or pseudo science) that goes with it.

Thanks to a few like Oyata sensei, his student George Dillman, and the many who learned from their teachings, kyusho has become a recognizeable entity to many. Dillman was actually knocking people out on the George Michael Sports Hour in the mid-eighties. (this is after his ice-breaking era). There have been splits in that organization. Out of the Dillman group come the DKI (Dillman's group from which our friend Mr. Pantazi comes) and the DSI (a spin-off group that doesn't talk to the DKI anymore and is heavy on the chi stuff).

Moneymaker sensei and his DSI (Dragon Society International) will show you Kirlean photographs of their heroes and will talk about chi and 5-element theory and yin/yang and the like.

www.dragonsociety.com

Dillman sensei and the DKI will basically use the accupuncture nomenclature to describe points, but I get the impression he will just use whatever is necessary to describe things. Personally I think this is a reasonable approach when you aren't completely sure why things work. Lately he's been hanging out with the UPenn people, trying to make some scientific sense of what they do.

www.dillman.com

And then you get folks like Bruce Miller. Bruce is trained in traditional eastern massage arts and knows all the language and nomenclature. But he's also a practicing physician's assistant. Bruce and friends have come up with a new martial art (Quan Li K'an) that merges traditional forms with a modern (western) understanding of pressure points and how they work. His site sells low-key (basically he's nonprofit in the book business), low flash material that gives standard anatomy and physicology explanations for where to hit and why it works.

www.cloudnet.com/~bemiller/CMEintro.html

You might also want to check yet another kyusho site that someone forwarded to me:

www.tardis.ed.ac.uk/~steven/adj/

Some of these folks, like the DKI and DSI, make a good living off of books, tapes, and seminars on the subject. Nothing wrong with that! But to say that there is gentlemanly behavior among all who practice and teach these arts is..well....a fantasy. As Yogi Berra would say, "Deja vu all over again."

"What's the point of all this?" you might ask. Well...if you follow what some in the self-described TCM (traditional chinese medicine) camp preach, you need to learn well over a hundred accupuncture points on the body. Then you need to learn which of the five elements they belong to (earth, fire, water, etc). Then you need to learn about the cycle of creation (order of point stimulation that causes healing) and the cycle of destruction (order of point stimulation that causes harm). You also need to take yin and yang into account. And then when the theories don't quite work (you find a sequence that works but it doesn't follow the rules) well....there are all these qualifiers.... Etc, etc ad nauseum.

Understand you do NOT need to know all of this to know a few basic sequences. But if you are one of those pioneers that wants to study kata and discover new techniques, the TCM recipe allegedly shows how to go about this. Once you have "discovered" a sequence in the kata from the rules that seems to work, then you say "Ah ha, I have discovered what the master meant!" Maybe. And you will be able to interrupt their chi and do damage that westerners can't possibly understand. Maybe.

Western medicine (MWM) proponents like Miller have their own approaches. Some who do not know anatomy and physiology claim that his approach is complicated. Maybe it is. Some say his terminology (the righting reflex, suprasternal notch, reticular activating system) is out of control. Maybe.

Back to the original post. What Diennes and Flannagan have attempted to do is not trivial. I know of no other work that attempts to take a rigorous approach to actually testing any of the theories that supposedly kyusho is based on. All I can say is, god bless British law and the people who volunteered to be the subjects for the study. Primarily Diennes and Flannagan tested the concept of 5 element theory and yin/yang. It was never meant to be a be-all, end-all study. It was just designed to follow the TCM theory to point prediction, and test the predicted points against another set that should not be effective (according to the TCM theory). What they found was....that the points that TCM would have predicted proved to be no more effective in producing a negative response than a set of points that should have given a lesser effect.

Does this mean that kyusho is bunk? Absolutely not. The DSI has bristled at the study even during the planning stage. "Can't prove something Eastern with a Western science. Can't take a part of the theory out of context; TCM is a wholistic approach." I say nonsense! But...the study does not say that Moneymaker and his DSI gang do not know the art of sequential striking. Trust me, you do not want to mess with anyone who knows where and how to hit you.

This is the deal. The "science" that predicts what sequences work is way too complicated and has far too many exceptions. As one bright person put it "You can't have a model that has more rules than you have pressure points." The best knowledge is based on the most simple principles. If we really understood why this stuff works, then we could be better teachers to those students that don't have the power to out-muscle an opponent. And we also would know what not to do in the dojo to maintain a safe environment.

Sorry if this introduction is long, but I want to bring others who know nothing about the field on board. If anyone wants an unbiased start on this whole subject, I highly recommend reading The Bubishi by Patrick McCarthy. It is a historical (not scientific) reference to the art of sequential striking.

I welcome comment and discussion.

Bill

NOTE: Thanks to Evan Pantazi and Maurice Libby - both regulars in the kyusho community - for helping me with the details of this post.

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-06-99).]


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 1:12 am 
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Glasheen Sensei,

I read this a while back on the Kyusho list and while rereading it it still brings me to the same conclusion. This being that as extensive as the testing was it was not quite the revealing enough to come to the conclusion that the cycles are not a determining factor. As it was all pressure as opposed to striking and although these points respond to the pressure utilized in the testing, asking someone if it hurts more does not bring me to view the study as conclusive of the possibilities. This however is an interesting question and has layed the groundwork for more studies. As a matter of fact it bore no more conclusive evidence than did the Nuerological Study at the Univerity of Pennsylvania. No real measurements were realized in either study.

I will say from personal experience that working with the theory does get the desired responses and working without them gets plenty of pain but not the desired response. I have tried several "cycles" some worked some didn't, but the elemental cycle always seemed to do it and that is my reasoning for instructing along this guideline.

It is my hopes that all the studies from whatever group do keep going as it may bring us to a real and measurable truth.

------------------
Evan Pantazi
http://www.erols.com/kyusho


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 1:12 am 
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Pardon the double post!
------------------
Evan Pantazi
www.erols.com/kyusho

[This message has been edited by Evan Pantazi (edited 04-05-99).]


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 3:01 pm 
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Evan

Of all people, I am glad you had a chance to post first. You have years of "field" experience in this artform, and have proven that you can be a gentleman among hotheads.

Also, you are one of those folks that critics would find hard to pigeon-hole. You trace your roots to Dillman Sensei, and yet believe very strongly from both a martial and medical perspective in the meridian/chi/5-element paradigm (labeled "TCM" by many).

This TCM paradigmn is strongly embraced by the Dragon Society International (DSI), a group that has members that sometimes find themselves in conflict with members of the Dillman group. It's members of the DSI that have been so vocal and venomous in their objections to the Diennes/Flannagan study - even before it was carried out. As the world turns..... We won't go there any more.

I have some comments on your post.

1) You state <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
As it was all pressure as opposed to striking and although these points respond to the pressure utilized in the testing, asking someone if it hurts more does not bring me to view the study as conclusive of the possibilities.
I agree.

2) While the study conducted is limited given the type of stimulus applied (pressure), you must also acknowledge that the greatest practical use of kyusho in the law enforcement community is....pressure. I refer you to Bruce Siddle's PPCT (pressure point control tactics) program and similar classes taught by Malone sensei. They DO NOT want to be knocking people out if they don't have to. Bruce Siddle can site case after case of the press and lawyers making a field day of simple "choke hold" techniques used to knock out non-compliant subjects. Somehow it's O.K. to blow them away with the police revolver, but doing martial moves on "citizens" creates a field day for the press. Sigh... Siddle and company have been working a long time to develop field techniques that are subthreshold as far as knockout potential. They want to control the opponent. Thus....pressure as a practical modality for kyusho is relevant.

3) You state <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
As a matter of fact it bore no more conclusive evidence than did the Nuerological Study at the Univerity of Pennsylvania. No real measurements were realized in either study.
I have to disagree. The only writeup of the Dillman work at UPenn I have seen to-date was in Black Belt magazine. What they did constitutes what we in the research community would call getting preliminary data. This is the kind of activity a researcher would do to do a grant proposal to get funding to do the real study. They basically showed that it is possible to take physiologic measurements while knocking someone out. A few statements were made about what readings were taken, but there weren't enough readings with enough different subjects to demonstrate the reproduceability of such observations. The authors of the Dillman study never passed it off as being any more than that (God bless them). Diennes and Flannagan, on the other hand, took repeated measurements with multiple subjects. They performed a radomized, controlled, blinded study (the subjects did not know whether the stimulus they were receiving was the cycle of destruction method or not). While they only chose a few 5E sequences to test and they only used pressure and they did sub-knockout force, they used validated survey instruments to measure the results.

You were right when you stated that their work <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
has layed the groundwork for more studies.
I think Zoltan and Mike did an excellent job. While you are a superb technician (certainly much better than I in kyusho) good researchers know that they need to use rigourous methods to protect themselves from their personal biases. It's easy to see a pattern when you want to believe it. That's why we have developed things like statistics and experimental design. Mike Flannagan, as you know, practices eastern medicine (shiatsu I believe) that relies heavily on 5E theory in its application. Before the study, he wanted to believe that 5E theory would contribute to the total kyusho effect. While he will remain a shiatsu practitioner, the study has him reevaluating what methods will work best in the martial application of his medical expertise.

Questioning one's beliefs is a healthy thing. That's why I hang around good people like you, Evan.

Respectfully
Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-06-99).]


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 3:16 pm 
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For those who read my first post yeterday, please see my updates on it that include a number of links to kyusho sites.

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 1999 8:22 pm 
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Bill San,

As for the questions you raised about Law Enforcement, you should take a look at Dillman's "For Police Only Video" I let Bethony Sensei review it so maybe a call to him may clear up some questions.  No KO's (always the possibility as all moves are set ups, just in case), just common sense approach, all performed by a Chicago Police Officer that "Field Tests" this daily.  Chicago and New York Police have embraced Kyusho in their methods. 

As for the relevancy, I did not knock pressure as relevant, I merely said that this did not settle or conclude anything as to Kyusho and or the 5 Element Theory in their study.  But I'm glad they tried as it will fire up controversy that will spur on more investigation.  By the way I am always touching points on all I do and use the pressing of points for more control in grappling and or Tutite (Chin Na, Joint Manipulation), it makes everything easier and much more painful.

To add again, I Absolutely Salute any and all that will put Kyusho principles to test as we will only learn more from these studies.   Back to the Katas & Ukes, (my study).

------------------
Evan Pantazi
http://www.erols.com/kyusho


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 3:00 pm 
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Evan, J.D., and whoever....

OK, let's assume YOU are asked to verify (or refute) the benefit of applying 5 element theory and the cycle of destruction in choosing striking sequences to maximize the effect of your attacks. Let's assume you had a good biostatistician who could create the experimental design for you and choose a 5 element sequence and a "control" sequence. He/she figured out how many subjects you needed, the sequence of the stimulae, the power of your measurement, etc.

1) What kind or level of stimulus would you choose? Diennes and Flannagan seemed to be able to pull off this experiment using just pressure and were able to pass it by their human experimentation committee (or maybe they just did it). What other reasonable option is there that would allow you to get enough volunteers and do enough measurements?

2) Probably more importantly, what would you measure? Diennes and Flannagan used a pain scale. While there may be absolute differences from subject to subject in their sensitivity to pain, the design was set up so that an individual's relative sensitivity was considered among all the stimulae. Only the difference between the destructive and creative cycle stimulae was considered. What else could be measured? In the preliminary study by Dillman's friends at UPenn, many physiologic variables measured showed no change even after performing a knockout of the subject. What ever you consider as a possible candidate, it must be 1) preferably a standard (or standardized) measurement, 2) it must be relevant to the issue here (disabling the opponent), and 3) it must be capable of showing change when an effective stimulus is applied.

Please, anyone join in. All sincere suggestions are appreciated.

Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 4:09 pm 
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Bill and everyone else:

Is there a device that is capable of measuring a) pain and/or b) brain waves related to consciousness?

Seems to me that a machine's measurements would be much more objective than the subject's assessment of his/her condition following either pressure or a strike.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 6:01 pm 
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The whole idea of measuring the 5 Element Theory would be a worthy study, if it could be subjective. However there are so many variables that it may not be possible.

A simple but difficult (control wise) option would be to select 3 points...Metal, Wood and Earth for example.

Next select a number of recipients for the striking sequences. This may take a year as you will have to find those few willing Ukes. Let's say for the sake of the study we need 90 participants:

30 struck Metal Wood Earth (sequential 5 Element Theory)

30 struck Earth Metal Wood (non sequential 5 element theory)

30 struck Wood Metal Earth (non sequential 5 element theory)

Striking should be done approximately at the same time. Hopefully the same body structure. Same types of strikes use for the same point selection and struck by the same person. Just the order and individual should change.

This is a speculation, but may allow for more effect oriented observation.


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Evan Pantazi
http://www.erols.com/kyusho


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 6:34 pm 
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Evan

What you are proposing is - I think - in the same spirit as the Diennes, Flannagan study. What do I see that is materially different?

* You are using striking as opposed to pressure. Good. Both striking and pressure are valid uses of the kyusho paradigm, aren't they? Nevertheless, having a striking example is a good variation.

* You have a different deviation off of the cycle of destruction as "control". Good. An aside -- Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't the third sequence be the least effective as it has no pair in the trio following the cycle of destruction?

OK, Evan, what else is materially different that would make you more comfortable with the results here than the design chosen by Diennes and Flannagan?

Any other things you would change?

How would you choose to measure the result of a striking sequence?

Would you do the same sequences on the same individuals so that they can serve as their own controls and avoid the problem with variation in response and with nonresponders? If so, how would you have this done to avoid a cumulative effect (other than to randomize the order in which you do the three sets of sequences)?

What exactly do you mean when you say <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Striking should be done approximately at the same time.
?? Perhaps you mis-stated your intent.

There are a lot of questions here, Evan. I pose them so I can understand what you are thinking.

Thanks.

Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-07-99).]


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 7:51 pm 
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Bill San,

"Correct me if I am wrong, but shouldn't the third sequence be the least effective as it has no pair in the trio following the cycle of destruction?"

-It is.
---------------

"OK, Evan, what else is materially different that would make you more comfortable with the results here than the design chosen by Diennes and Flannagan? Any other things you would change? How would you choose to measure the result of a striking sequence?"

-The amount of physical and or mental ability or lack thereof / up to unconsciousness.
-------------

"Would you do the same sequences on the same individuals so that they can serve as their own controls and avoid the problem with variation in response and with nonresponders? If so, how would you have this done to avoid a cumulative effect (other than to randomize the order in which you do the three sets of sequences)?"

- That Should be done, thanks I neglected that. This must be accomplished over recoup time (3 days minimun in between). As for non responders the would bring the statistics down equally across the board.
------------

"What exactly do you mean when you say quote:
Striking should be done approximately at the same time.

-The same time of day so as to get the same physiological state (or as close as possible) for each session.

------------------
Evan Pantazi
http://www.erols.com/kyusho


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 1999 9:45 pm 
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GEM

Given Evan's model that he is suggesting above, there are probably several things you could measure. Doing an EEG would be gold standard, but a pain in the butt to administer. Instead one could ask the subject to perform some simple task. For instance, the experimenter could give five numbers and ask the subject to repeat them in reverse sequence. There are likely a number of "standardized" tests like that in the literature. Ideally you use a standard test rather than invent one de novo.

Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 1999 5:02 am 
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GEM

You are asking the right questions.

First of all, what is the relevant outcome? We want to control and/or disable an attacker. How do we do that? By 1) controling them with force, 2) controlling them with pain (or numbing or nerve block), or 3) rendering them unconscious or nearly unconscious.

Forget item one. Not really relevant to kyusho per se.

Item number 2: Pain. Pain is a very subjective thing. It isn't just the nerve signal that leaves the area of stimulation. It is also the processing of that signal in the brain or via spinal reflexes. And that can vary tremendously from person to person. What will bother one person may actually not concern a second person significantly, and can even give pleasure to a third person. I have a twinge between my shoulder blades right now from overdoing it last night. I'm thinking about going back to the gym today to use their special back chair. This device will make it hurt so good!

Given that in a real application the reaction to the technique is as important as the actual nerve signal produced by it, then incorporating the subjective nature of the response is highly appropriate. Researchers have been dealing with issues like this for some time. In my field, we sometimes measure the outcome of a treatment by using an instrument like the SF-36 (short form, 36 questions) which asks a patient how easily they can perform daily tasks. While the use of such instruments may make the physiologist wince, the reality is that the subjective and variable nature of medicine and treatment and coping is germaine in the health care system - and especially to the patient. The one requirement in using such instruments is to validate them with extensive testing on a number of different subjects. There's a science dedicated to doing just that.

However the ideal is to simultaneously measure a number of different variables that span the spectrum from proximal to distal response or outcome. This gives better perspective in the interpretation of any one variable. For instance, it would be nice if we could measure BOTH the nerve traffic going away from the point of stimulus AND the patient's reported perception of that stimulus. Indeed we may discover that the relevance of the selection of combination points is exclusively the domain of the processing of the combined stimulae.

Item number 3: Consciousness. J.D. would know more about this. I think the EEG is the real-world, laboratory gold standard here. As I recall, the UPenn people had their subjects hooked up to a machine. But using this while striking someone (who may fall down afterwards) is fraught with logistical problems that can create measurement artifacts. It takes a REALLY good scientist to make this work, and then come up with objective measures off of that complex signal.

Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-07-99).]


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 1999 8:46 pm 
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The beauty of the scientific method and that jerk in the next city that "disses" your theories all the time is....that they were meant for each other. You want your friend to be your most vicious critic. The scientific method - when applied properly - removes doubt that you did anything that could have biased the result.

And yes, the last part of the scientific method....is that your neighbor needs to be able to reproduce your results - under rigourous conditions. Until this is done, then nothing is certain.

Back to kyusho. I think the best thing Diennes and Flannagan have done is tell the experts with theories that they need to re-examine their drawings on the figurative drawing board. Good! And anyone who is in it for the truth (and not the ego) and in it for the long run should welcome such erudite critiques. The biggest problem I have with the general reaction to the study is that many who embrace the theories (and I am not talking about our learned Mr. Pantazi) construe the critique of the theory as an attack on the individual. That's their own problem and their own fault. An objective party doesn't need much time to discover the source of such disfunctional behavior.

-- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 10, 1999 7:10 am 
Don't know anything about the 5 element theory, so I don't intend to add much to the conversation here, except that J.D. is absolutely right about the need to include magicians when testing certain things. You must have someone who "knows" how some things are done. I have used the "muscle test" example before as a trick used to display an effect. The demonstrator has a person hold their arm straight out in front of them -- they press HARD to show how strong the person is. They then do whatever they are trying to show will weaken the person. They repeat the strength test and move the arm easily showing the person has been greatly weakened. However, on the first one they press the arm inward towards the other arm to engage the back muscles. In the second test they pull the arm slightly outward to take the back muscles out of it. I have seen this "test" done by a few people (and yes some chi-tricksters) to the utter amazement of the onlookers.

A man walks up to an open yellow pages phone book, with the wave of his hand a page turns without being touched. Amazing? I can't do it. Looked pretty cool to me. Until the Amazing Randi walked out and showed how it is done.

I've not been shy about where I stand on chi but it serves no one to allow tricks to be passed off as real. When you want a job done you get a professional. When you are dealing with what some might even call magic, then get a professional.

So, is testing the effects of the 5 element theory a test that should have a magician?

Rick


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