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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 1999 6:44 pm 
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This has been a great thread. I believe it gets to the core of a lot of misconceptions. Sorry I'm late in jumping in, I've been traveling.

Historically, it's interesting how the Chinese used the I-Ching as a reference point. No one knows how old the text is or where it came from, but it the text is "the" reference that all information has to fit into it appears. All information, philosophy, medicine, martial arts has to fit into this matrix or it can't be right. Why? Because the ancients were enlightened, of course. Almost like an apriori truth. It's been around a long time, and it's pretty vague...even for Chinese scholars.

Take an art like Hsing-I Chuan. Depending on the Hsing-I "flavor" you do, line forms are named after the five elements. In fact, some two man drills are constructed so you have a creative cycle or a destructive cycle according to the elements. Why? Because it fits nicely into the I-Ching matrix. Do you think people actually fight this way? "Wait, you're attacking me with wood, I must counter with metal!" Of course not, it's ridiculous.

What happens is the fighting art develops first, then the name of the art or movements of the application gets fitted back to meet the requirements of the I-Ching matrix. A good example of this is Bagua Zhang. Bagua Zhang translated means Eight directional palms. Nice isn't it? Eight directions, has any Uechi-ryu practioner heard the number eight before? Is it an accident or is it a significant number? Eight Kata? The big three and then the fillers. Before Bagua Zhang was called Bagua Zhang it was referred to "turning palms." But this doesn't fit as nicely into the matrix, does it? The funny thing about the whole situation is that Bagua Zhang only had three palm changes (forms) originally. After the founder Dong Hai Chuan died, his students Cheng Ting Hua and Yin Fu added more forms to make up the standard number of eight. How many forms did Kanbum Uechi come back with? Oh yeah, three. I almost forgot...

Please keep these things in perspective. Don't take them too literally.

Hey JD, "let's fight my friend, you attack me with wood and I'll counter with metal Dude!"

Joe


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 1999 7:01 pm 
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Sorry, I wanted to mention this also. Tai Chi Chuan originated in the Chen village. It was originally called Chen family boxing. Over time and with other non-family members learning the art, it eventually got named, "Grand Ultimate Fist." Catchy isn't it? Grand Ultimate Fist. The major principle of the art was this principle of dualism, specifically to fit back into this I-Ching matrix. This is my jaded interpretation of history of course.

Same thing with Hsing-I Chuan (Xing Yi Quan). It didn't have the 5 elements in the original Honan versions. It was nicely added to "fit" into a matrix. The great thing that Hsing-I did have was six guiding principles. They were pretty simple and a student of any art could apply them into his own art to make it more effective. It fact, when I was teaching Uechi-ryu, I hung up those principles on the dojo wall. They fit nicely into Sanchin Kata. (Bill, they are in Tim Cartmell's Xing Yi Nei Gong book. They are Dai Long Bong's 6 harmonies)

We just have to be careful. The ancients might have been enlightened, but Bill and the good Doctor X are smarter. (My jaded opinion again)

Joe


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 1999 9:37 pm 
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Mr. Glasheen:

I have found your comments on the testing of the 5 Elements done by Zoltan and Mike Flannigan to be rather interesting. Additionally, I believe you have some information incorrect.

First of all, the DSI as a group was NOT opposed to the testing of anyone...including the tests that Zoltan and Mike were trying to do. They publically asked for comments on the Torite and Kyusho Lists and they were given that. We (the DSI) support anyone that wants to test the effects and principles behind kyusho and tuite.

When the initial posting was made, the DSI certainly did have some comments and "objections". Primarily, we were concerned with the fact that someone was attempting to take one portion of a wholistic paradigm (that relies upon the other portions of the paradigm) and attempts to analyze just that portion. The entire concept of what we now refer to as TCM is a totally wholistic approach. This is a simple concept that I would expect anyone who had done even basic research in TCM to know and understand.

Secondly, between Zoltan and Mike...they have attended one seminar that was taught by a certified instructor of the DSI. They had not reviewed any of our video or written material. We have one video tape that is over two hours long that deals specifically with the concept of the 5 Elements and how that applies to the combative arts. Instead of actually getting with anyone from the DSI (or the DKI for that matter as they mention them as well, but not as prominately), they wanted to rely strictly on email messages to draw their conclusions...in some cases this was the wrong conclusion or one that was only partially right. This seems to be a very shoddy way to conduct what is supposedly scientific research. I can only imagine what would happen if such a method was actually used in a scientific or academic study. If you want to disagree with the teacher of a certain position that has information out and available, why rely only on messages that were sent out via an email list?

Next, you mention about all of the points that have to be learned and cycles and the like and how this is a bad thing. Why is this? How many different stances, punches, strikes, kicks, blocks, etc. is there to learn in a system of the martial arts? There are, at a minimum, 360 "regular" points used in acupuncture. Obviously, not all of them are or can be used in a truly combative situation. I have been doing this for quite some time and could not tell you the exact location of every point because that does not apply to me. But your comments indicate to me that you also are lacking in actual knowledge of what the DSI teaches. The "cycles" related to the 5 Elements do not take more than a few minutes for a reasonably intelligent person to learn. For each element, there are only two meridians associated with it (with the exception of the Heart meridian which has 4). Where is the difficulty in that? Anything worth learning will probably be a bit difficult at some point to learn. Not everything can be easy. Additionally, if someone wants to take the responsibility to learn an art and techniques that will possibly cause injury to someone, then they should also be prepaired to learn that which is required to correct such a problem. Is that to much to ask of someone that wishes to master the combative arts?

Lastly, I believe that there is a very big issue involved when someone only presses on a point. I think it is nice that Zoltan and Mike wish to cause no harm to their opponents, but it is an established fact in TCM that some points respond to rubbing, some to hitting and some to both. Simply pressing a point is not something that is going to give an accurate reading as to the effectiveness of this point.

Zoltan and Mike were both given the opportunity to go to a DSI seminar in their country (they had a choice of 20+ seminars to make). They were told that they could attend for free. They were also told that they could present whatever they wanted to present based upon their studies. They never showed up. They were also offered private time alone with the head of the DSI (who was teaching the seminar) and they did not make arrangements for that either. While it is nice that they have conducted such a study and have voiced opinions about what someone else teaches without seeking out information in that training, they cannot even by their own admission come close to duplicating the results that he (the head of the DSI) can. Until that is done, in my mind their conclusions are suspect.

On a more personal note, I am of the opinion that (based on your comments) you have a bit of a personal issue with the DSI. Come on...Kirlian photographs of our heros? We only have Kirlian photos of one person on the web site and that happens to be one of the heads of the system. I must ask you...have you been to a DSI seminar to see what is taught? Have you reviewed much of our material? Exactly what is it that you are basing your opinions on? I have a feeling I know what the answer is and it is probably not much more (if any at all) than what Zoltan and Mike have.

Regards,

Michael Davis


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 1999 10:30 pm 
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Michael

I am sincerely happy that you dropped by. For those who are not "in the know", Michael is the keeper of the DSI homepage (referenced in my note above). He is well-known (occasionally infamous??) on the tuite and kyusho discussion groups - a reputation that he works hard to maintain ;-) In all seriousness though, he does not mince words when it comes to his opinions. We can all respect that. And given that there were some gentle jabs in my previous posts (which you duly noted), I am pleased that you responded with eloquence and clarity. Welcome to our home.

A quick note - Michael is our guest. I sent him a few quick e-mails to let him know who is who among the more frequent flyers. This way we can get down to business pretty quickly and avoid any potential misunderstandings.

Michael, my initial (and primary) response to your posting will be based on the following piece:
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Primarily, we were concerned with the fact that someone was attempting to take one portion of a wholistic paradigm (that relies upon the other portions of the paradigm) and attempts to analyze just that portion. The entire concept of what we now refer to as TCM is a totally wholistic approach. This is a simple concept that I would expect anyone who had done even basic research in TCM to know and understand.

Comment noted. I have heard this argument made both before and after the research that Diennes and Flannagan did. Please allow me to respond.

What we are dealing with here - in the end - is the human body. It's the same whether it is in China or in the west. What we are all working with is different models that explain the workings of that system. All models, whether they be of eastern or western origin, will necessarily have their limitations. The purpose of such models is to be able to predict new events, and not to serve as a post hoc rationalization for something observed.

OK, lets assume that you and I have your understanding (call it the TCM model for lack of a better term) before us. We want to test whether or not it is valid. This is standard procedure among folks like myself who try to understand physiologic systems. Well complex models are not new to biomedical engineers. Defining them is an artform. Usually it is done in the language of mathematics. However it's not unusual to have "black box" models with multiple inputs and one or more outputs. I think the TCM model would probably best fit this description.

You use the term "wholistic". That is such a fuzzy term! If you can define it better, please do. But if I were to interpret what you mean by it, I might call it "multivariate". It basically means what I described earlier. You have multiple inputs (independent variables) and one or more outputs (dependent variables).

How would a scientist test such a system? There are better ways than that chosen by Zoltan and Mike. However the method that they DID choose - a simplistic but certaily valid approach - is best described as follows. What they attempted to do was to hold all but a few of the variables constant at some "physiologic" level, and only vary one at a time. Those that were not controlled were "randomized" so that the sum of the effects of them basically netted out to zero in the final measurement. What is the limitation of such an approach?

1) It tells you about the relationship between the independent variable (here the sequenc of pokes) and the response (reported pain) under ONE SET OF CONDITIONS. Yes, the relationship could change if the other variables were set at different levels.

2) Under certain rare conditions (a nonlinear system in a chaotic state) it IS POSSIBLE that the relationship between poke sequence and pain response appears to be random when in fact it is deterministic. Got that? Trust me, it happens. Just try to predict a snow storm some time.

What am I saying? Basically that the approach that Zoltan and Mike took is certainly a well worn path, if not the most desirable one. It's not as uncalled for as you make it out to be - unless you can come up with a better definition for "wholistic". Yes, it is possible for there to be causality and for Zoltan and Mike to have missed it given their design. But while it is possible, I don't think it is probable.

One more point I want to make. Your comment about the method of stimulation given the chosen point is well taken. Taking a strictly western approach to how some points work actually supports your contention. Some points respond to pressure. Some points respond to the change in pressure (dP/dt). It all depends on the neural pathways involved, the transduction (change of stimulus to nerve signal) at the point, etc. A better design would have taken these issues into account.

Sorry, but I only had a short while to put this together before I had to head out. Interested in further comments.

Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 12:03 am 
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Bill:

I am glad to see thta you could get back on the "list". Thanks also for the private mail to get me up to speed...it is much appreciated.

Maybe it would be easier if I told you how I thought the experiment could be conducted.

First, the ukes involved in the study would need to be hit. I can appreciate the concern that Zoltan and Mike expressed for their ukes. But, one cannot test the results of a theory that requires the hitting of points by simply pressing those points. I have been involved in training and seminars in this for a while now and have never seen anyone suffer any serious effects from striking points when care was used and the person applying the strikes was reasonably trained/skilled.

Next, I would look to test some very simple combos of points that follow the cycles of the 5 elements. For instance. Let's take point "X" and test it with a light strike. This should be around 2% to 5% of the person's natural strength. Based on the element of the point, strike one that would correspond along the regulatory cycle. For instance, select a fire point and follow with a fire point. Compare the results. If someone should think that the point will be "activated" such that it will be more sensitive the second time around, then wait a day or an hour or whatever time period would be deemed appropriate before doing the second strike. See where I am going with this? What do you think?

I believe that if we are going to test the effectiveness of the 5 Elements, then we need to compare points for pain (or whatever term you would like to use) utilizing the concept of the 5 elements and not using the 5 elements. I am not a scientist, but this seems like a much more reliable way to conduct the test and the result would be more telling I believe.

Lastly (on this point), if the folks conducting the test wish to attach the name of a particular person or organization to their test (as Zoltan and Mike did), then I would HIGHLY suggest that they spend some time learning exactly what that person/organization teaches BEFORE they attach the name. I would only think that fair. I can assure you...if the DSI has a product out on what someone wants to test, something can be worked out so that they can get access to that material for review...if a live instructor is not available.

In conjunction with this, I'd like to add some additional commentary if I might...

One of the concepts that the DSI teaches is what we call "players to the game". Essentially, this phrase means that we take a technique and we break it down to as many small parts as we can as to identify each component that makes the technique more effective. Sometimes, what makes a technique effective (and still utilizing the concept of the 5 Elements) is a grab with the hand. For instance, in a technique against a punch, we might deflect it, make a "latch" to the wrist of the attacker and then strike a spot on the arm. One of the things that makes the technique more effective is the "latch". With it, we active points or effect certain meridians that will result in a greater effect with the finishing strike. So, just as the use of kyusho is not the "be all, end all" of the martial arts, neither is the use of the 5 elements. It is done on a much bigger picture. Just as it is the case that I can abandon the 5 elements and most other theories and attack one point and get a KO or a kill. See what I mean?

But, this can be a direct result of the fact that Zoltan and Mike stuck with only email on various different topics to try and get an understanding of what the DSI teaches.

One last point...I do not know if you have checked the couple of web sites that carry their study. But, Zoltan also did a study of a qigong that the DSI teaches called the 5 Element Qigong. Essentially, he says that (as we teach it) it is bunk. Now, I do not know your opinion of qi or the effectiveness (if any) of qigong. So, for the sake of simplicity, let's just say that like any other skill it takes a certain amount of time and training in the skill to get any real results. Zoltan learned this qigong set by attending on seminar and spent no furhter time in training in it before he wrote up the results of his study (which if I am not mistaken consisted of others that had just learned the qigong and spent no real time training in it). Even if we can only agree that ANY skill requires a bit of time and training to develop and results, then this is simply not acceptable. Hell, one qigong that I study requires a few hours a day and after 2 years I am just now getting to the point where I can show a small amount of skill with it. Know what I mean?

Anyway, thanks for the conversation. I just hope that others can get something out of this and that we are not talking to ourselves! <grin!>

Best,

Michael


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 10:50 am 
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Dear EVERYONE:
I would like to first thank all of you for creating and supporting the most literate, thought-provoking, and comprehensive martial art site on the net. I feel this thread in particular will stand as your crowning achievment- intelligent discussion, respectful disagreement, and educational passages on science and history- all underlined by a common quest to learn more. BRAVO!
I am reluctant indeed to wade into this stream and risk slowing its current, or diverting it to less fruitful pastures- if you feel this is the case, please, ignore me! I'll catch up later! That said, here is my question...
I have always held the technology of kyusho/dim mak to be the highest level of non-spiritual study in martial arts, and as such, have sincerely tried to incorporate whatever information I could scrounge up on it into my training. Thanks to this site and the links mentioned above, I have been exposed to more and more info, leading into more and more complex realms. (The increased complexity exists whether you want to use Western medical science and terminolgy, or TCM models, so I'm not too concerned with endorsing or excluding either system.) However, with every new piece of info I find, I'm constantly faced with asking myself, as I am sure many of you are: "How much do I REALLY want to know about this?" Don't misunderstand me- I am not talking about being lazy or content with less. I'm talking about HONESTLY evaluating the rewards that I have accrued from all the hours spent digesting the terms and theories and charts. What have I REALLY gained? Yes, I have gained in becoming more precise in hitting target areas, and for making sure my techniques follow the logical and natural reactions of an opponent when struck this precisely. Good- these are important standards to be sure, and up until now, I have felt that my time has been more than adequately been repaid. But now, what more can I ask of kyusho? Death touch? Delayed death touch? One hit KO's? Light hit KO's? Sure- these are attractive skills which would make me feel that I am a complete, knowledgable martial artist. Unfortunately, one can't REALLY train such skills- one can only SIMULATE them and must therefore trust in some model, be it Western or Chinese, to tell you what works and what doesn't. You must believe. You must have faith. Naturally then, it is now more difficult to evaluate what the rewards are for all of your study. And naturally, people want to set up tests to garner some tangible proof that what they believe in is true. But, before we argue about the validity of the most recent tests of kyusho, I would like to question the "ancient tests"- the ones run by the masters of OLD. How was this important body of knowledge formed? When were these deadly skills authenticated? I have struggled to find an answer. Here's why...

It is very common to hear people claim that their art is "combat tested"- certainly kysho is no exception. But where exactly WAS this combat? I'm hoping someone out there is a better student of history than I am and can shed some light on the methods of warfare over the centuries in Asia. But, it has been my impression that battles were mostly fought with weapons, not bare-handed. And in most cases, shields and different styles of body-armor were in use. When you're wielding a cudgel, sword, axe, or spear, precision isn't exactly all that important. Ever see Braveheart? Where then was the "field test" of kyusho? Where was the subtle movement and bare-armed precision?


I have read more than once, that kyusho was developed by experimenting on prisoners of war. This is not hard to believe, as both the Germans and Japanese (and God knows who else) ran various experiments on prisoners as recently as WWII. If this is true, and various cycles and points came from such experiments, are these really valid? Presumably, the prisoners would be restrained and unable to fight back, and were probably weakened from lack of food and water. Under these circumstances, I'll bet you could punch some people on the kneecap and knock them out! I have no doubt that you can kill a person many different and elaborate ways when they're hanging like a piece of meat with their arms tied.

Where else might have these techniques been tested? It is generally agreed upon that the martial arts training of old was a far more privleged pursuit than it is today. Learning to fight in a world without guns MEANT something. It is usually associated then with royalty, the military, temples, or along secretive family lines. The population at large had no real training. So, any story about some great, old master who fought this guy and that guy, and could clear a bar with one hand, was fighting untrained fighters! This is akin to picking a white belt out and telling him to try and stop you as you let him have it! Is this a fair test? I'll bet I could make a lot of intricate techniques work against an untrained drunk.

So, where then are the reasons to put one's faith into these advanced skills of kyusho that no one can actually PRACTICE? Sure, it makes some sense to draw faith from the demonstrations given by instructors such as Dillman, but are such demos ever under COMBAT conditions? The subject is always standing passively- relaxed and waiting- ready to RECEIVE energy, not produce it. Not unlike, I imagine, a weary, untrained prisoner chained to a wall! And again, don't misunderstand me- I'm not saying you can't hit kyusho points in a real fight, or that techniques from kata would never work on the street- I count on BOTH happening. But, the real "test" isn't made against a willing classmate, an untrained drunk, or a docile captive- it's made against a strong, unwilling, combative attacker who has made it his only intention in life to hurt you. And since it is intention that guides one's chi, that same chi that you use to make your strikes more effective, is the same chi that the attacker's using to fortify himself AGAINST those strikes. What kind of test can reproduce those circumstances?

One more interesting note: Contrary to popular opinion, Jigaro Kano did not "water-down" jiu-jitsu. At the time of his training, many of the "deadly" and advanced jiu-jitsu techniques could not be practiced in class for obvious reasons- sound familiar? Instead, they were SIMULATED. Kano, a discouraged student, thought it was more valuable to practice less harmful techniques the way they would REALLY be executed, than just go through the motions of the "deadlier" moves. His students, if my source is correct, were able to consistently dominate the jiu-jitsu students, and eventually, Judo quickly replaced Jiu-Jitsu as the rage in Japan. Isn't it clear that they dominated NOT because of their choice in technique, but because of the character qualities that they developed from ACTUALLY PRACTICING EXACTLY what they would do when fighting another person? I'm not suggesting we all go take Judo, but certainly there's a lesson here.

I'll say it again: I'm a believer in kyusho. And yes, I have absolutely benefited from spending time studying it, and will continue to do so. But, I am starting to feel a limitation on how far I'm willing to go in pursuit of the "super-skills"- the upper-levels where practice isn't possible beyond imagination and suggestion. And I certainly don't mean to show any disrespect to you Pantazi Sensei, for you have always been patient and generous in your exchanges with me on your forum, and I hope I can continue to ask for your insight and guidance. I just want to figure out how to best spend my training time... and to make an intelligent choice as to where I put my faith. I would gladly welcome any thoughts or responses that may help me do so. For now... well, I haven't put away the application to Accupuncture school yet! Thank you all.
Sincerely, PHIL


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 12:09 pm 
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Phil San,

I recognize your concerns and let me encourage you with the following:

First it has been field tested by some of my friends, students and associates. It has proven to be realistic in application. Several Police Officers use the Kyusho in real confrontaions each day in Chicago, New York and Parts of Florida with great result.

A couple of associates have related incidents in New Orleans at Mardi Gras and other scattered occurances. My own students have applied this Art in real life, Sparring (Tournaments) and Testing at our school.

One young lady transferred into my school as a Green Belt, after a year of training (give or take a month or two), she was accosted at a carnival. She told me that when the assailant came at her she employed one of our "set techniques" and the guy went out. Another was talking with a girl and her boyfriend thought this to be a threat and attacked this student, he used a technique right out of Sanchin, (one he was practicing alot due to some difficulties he was having withthe technique, guess he worked those out, the same result KO). During a tournament (even with the sparring gear) one of my students KO'ed the opponent with another "set technique' we practice alot, this was even time delayed as the time in between the strikes were seperated by several seconds. Even in testing procedures students get KOed by the curriculum material as well as in the spontaneous sections of the procedures.

To cut this short it does work under certain and realistic durress, (nothing serious so far thank God, like a weapon attack). We have a sparring method for continuous and freestyle Kyusho Practice that is relatively safe, (a few standing KO's and buzzes) that we employ with our Dan ranks. you will get very adept at point striking, it becomes natural to select these targets if that is how you train, so keep the faith and always target and visualize.

One story out of Gichin Funakoshi's Autobiography relates a story about his instructor Itosu Sensei and an assailant, the story relates how the assailant was found dead face down in the dirt. This was supposedly the "Masters" favorite technique (according to friend and fellow "Master" Anso). Was this Kyusho? We'll never know but it sounds like it falls in line.



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


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 3:26 pm 
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Phil

I think you ask some very good, hard-hitting questions. I think they have no simple answers. However - strange as it may seem as I am not an "expert" in kyusho - I find myself compelled to carry the dialogue a bit further. Perhaps it is my healthy skepticism that allows me to give a little perspective.

First of all, you make a very good point about the use of prisoners. These indeed were the "lab animals" of the "kyusho scientists" of past. It is a bit hard to fathom in our culture where human life has such high value. But one only need view the situations in Kosovo and former situation in Bosnia to know what man is capable of. Some time if you get a chance, read the book The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang. In it are graphic pictures of Japanese soldiers testing their bayonetting skills on common citizens. Another photograph shows a headline from the Japan Advertiser which translates Contest to Kill First 100 Chinese with Sword Extended When Both Fighters Exceed Mark - Mukai Scores 106 and Noda 105.

But atrocities performed on prisoners and civilian captives weren't the only source of knowledge for kyusho and tuite, Phil. You missed one vital source, one that has been a great source of inspiration and knowledge for myself - the link between the healing and the martial arts. The very foundation of this whole discussion is the testing of the cycle of destruction as a model for choosing the sequence of points to strike. How did this come about?

Unfortunately there's little in the way of documented history to show exact dates and places and people who gathered and developed the information that is the source of what many now study. There are books like The Bubishi which are translations of significant texts. Reading these and other historical references lead one to the conclusion that places like the Shaolin temple were the universities of their time where teaching, learning, and discovery took place. And yes, this is likely where the healing and the martial arts most frequently crossed paths. From the understanding of human anatomy and physiology and herbalogy comes accupuncture, the elements (5 element theory is actually one of many that was finally "chosen" by Maoists to be "the" method), and the cycle of creation. And from the cycle of creation - a methodology intent on healing through the manipulation of vital body points - comes the cycle of destruction.

In all the years I was studying martial arts, I was also studying math and engineering and physiology, biochemistry, neurology, etc, etc. I spent 5 years doing open heart surgery in the lab. Do you think the "effectiveness" of martial arts techniques ever entered my mind when I was stimulating a baroreceptor in the experimental lab? You betcha. No, I did not seek an advanced degree to learn to kill people better (although I know one person who did). But an active mind learns to make connections and generalize knowledge and concepts. Some of the best biomedical engineers I knew got their training in aerospace engineering and mathematics and medicine and materials science. And some of the better martial artists I know also have training in the healing arts.

But I'm like you, Phil. I hear these ancient models based on chi and meridians and elements and am told to trust a theory that I have not ever used and I just can't quite buy all of it enough to want to trust my life to it. We all have our own knowledge bases to work with. But it does make me ask hard questions of people like Evan and Michael. And I don't accept answers just because one or the other of them is a good guy and can drop somebody in a demo. I ask and I challenge. With the right attitudes, everybody walks away a winner.

The answers to your doubts and questions lie - I think - in the answers we give for most new things that people are exposed to in martial arts. Everybody comes to the table with something. I highly recommend you go search on the net for books and videos by a fellow named Vince Morris. He's got the right attitude. He does not view kyusho as the foundation of his martial house. Rather he views it as the poison on the tip of an arrow that'll problably kill you anyhow. In 5 years or so most of us can learn the "blocking and tackling" skills of martial arts. Once these fundamentals are down, then we can start thinking about the further development and refinement of these concepts and abilities that hone our skills to higher levels. There are folks out there - like Bruce Siddle of P.P.C.T. and Jimmy Malone of Uechi fame - who are the equivalent of the founder of judo. They take a few simple, workable points and put them in everyday workouts. Bruce is out there in seminars having prison guards whacking on each other so they can feel and taste and touch the pain and the effectiveness.

And whatever you do, if you are in a seminar taught by Sensei Malone, don't volunteer. :-)

You can also begin to taste and feel and touch these techniques in the Iron Shirt exercises done in the Uechi system - kotekitae, ashikitae, and - yes - sanchinkitae.

But I'm like you, Phil. I've got more questions than answers, and I suspect that I'll have to ask a lot of them (and be the butt of many more demos) before I believe a lot of what is "out there".

-- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 4:14 pm 
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Michael

You suggested some experiments that you thought might be "better". Perhaps a comment is in order.

Whenever you are going to embark on an investigation of something as complex as "Traditional Chinese Medicine", one cannot design a be-all, end-all experiment that will validate (or refute) the concepts. Science works as slowly and methodically as you and I do in the training halls and schools. To do it right, you need to ask very simple questions and then design simple (and repeatable) experiments to answer them.

The main issue that Zolatan and Mike were addressing is the usefulness of the cylce of destruction as an ordering sequence for optimizing multiple striking patterns. Their choice of a few examples of cycle of creation, and then contrasting that with a reverse order was - I thought - a good start. No more, no less. What you suggested is a way to investigate other aspects of the broader theory and model. Perfectly valid.

I agree completely that the method of stimulation is critical. However remember that it is extremely difficult to create unbiased conditions. In medicine we have the double-blinded test where neither physician nor patient know whether the medicine that is being given is the real deal or a placebo. If we know what we are giving, it is very difficult to not bias the results with subtle things that we do. Yes, physicians have their own "players to the game" that make their drugs work better. That's called good bedside manner. And the belief system of the patients can dramatically effect the results. That's the mind-over-matter or body/mind part of medicine that we are now only beginning to understand.

In an ideal experiment, neither uke nor tori will know which technique is supposed to work better. That's a pretty damned difficult experiment to set up, isn't it? This is harder to do than you would imagine.

But I come back to agreeing with you that the major flaw of the experiment is probably not considering the exact way that each and every point was supposed to be stimulated to create a measurable, physiologic effect. After all, it wasn't the effectiveness of the individual points that came into question. Zoltan and Mike only wanted to test the validity of the sequence.

This is actually very typical of science. Someone does a study. It is published. The know-it-alls who didn't do squat get to sit back and poke at it and say why it wasn't right and how it could be done better. Then someone does another experiment - perhaps better. Then another is done. Etc, etc ad nauseum. Eventually...science paints a picture. Eventually we reach consensus.

-- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 9:08 pm 
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Dear Pantazi Sensei and Glasheen Sensei,
Thank you both for your responses. I am glad to hear from Pantazi Sensei that kyusho has come to the aid of your students. And it was absolutely correct, Glasheen Sensei, to point out that I had overlooked the healing arts as a source of kyusho info. And let me say again, I have never doubted the effectiveness of techniques from kata or the effectiveness of hitting vital points in executing those techniques. I'm merely questioning the methods of training usually associated with kyusho. In fairness, every non-sport art at some point plays the game of "... I can only do this part on the street." Otherwise, we'd all be broken up or dead after one class. But, it is easy to level the same criticism against advanced kyusho practice that is levelled against point sparring- you're really only practicing how NOT to fight. I can't be the only one who feels that it's counter-productive to practice punching THROUGH a target by pulling a punch; to practice hitting a point HARD by tapping it softly; to hit MULTIPLE points by hitting singular points; to attack ACROSS the body by practicing on only one side. The human animal is not purely intellectual. Its habits are engrained through physicality, emotions, experience, and intuition as well. To approach training without addressing all of the variables that effect the way a practioner responds to danger is foolhardy. What am I saying? That perhaps it's best to spend 90% of your training time practicing what you CAN practice, and leave the theoretical to the back burner. To paraphrase from Glasheen Sensei's post, spend most of your time shooting arrows than mixing poisons.

I think if we're honest, we can all say we've felt this sensation: we face a student who comes in with just a little wrestling, boxing, judo, or even aikido background and are impressed with a certain energy in their movements. An energy of confidence, of ability, of being able to express their intention right here and now. Yes, it's easy to look at their technique critically and classify it as simple or watered down, or missing some element of advanced martial arts, but still... they've got "something". I would suggest that this "something" is the result of conditioning their body, emotions, creativity, and intuition in addition to their intellect. I recall a saying in Chinese martial arts that states "courage is first, bravery is second, and technique is third." Third! (Maybe I should have just submitted that and saved you all some time!)
I fear that filling too much training time with theoretical techniques will eventually become counter-productive, becaue the mind has a tendency to run away like a team of horses when given the chance. That's why the first step in so many meditation styles is to "quiet" or "silence" the mind- it interferes with developing all of the other equally important aspects of being human. If your emotions, intuition, and moment-to-moment creativity are not trained, you will very likely be hurt in a bad situation. We shouldn't be training for the angry untrained drunk guy who didn't see us coming. We should be training for the extreme- the worst case scenario- the trained and merciless killers who may be armed and travelling in packs. This is why it is so important to read books like "The Rape of Nanking" and to follow events in a place like Kosovo- they remind us that evil exists. Most of the martial artists that I have met are nice, God-fearing people. Yes, even the "bad-ass" types! It is easy then, to allow ourselves to misuse our training time, forgetting how brutal life can be. Ask yourself, if you were living in Kosovo, and a group of soldiers kicked in your door to gang rape your wife and shoot you and your children dead, how would you react? If you had a chance at all, what would you do? Now back up a step- if you knew beforehand that this might happen, how would you train to prepare yourself? Is it the same way that you train now? If not, WHY? To deviate from this extreme mindset in your training allows all sorts of impractical and misguided efforts to seep in- and the intellect will squash out all the other voices inside you.
With all respect, even watching the video demos from Dillman Sensei's website are disconcerting. Where is the foot work? Where are the solid stances? Where are the guards? Watch how the students move- lifting up on their toes to reach targets, sloppy arm movements. I don't mean to suggest that they're not good martial artists, or that all of their skills can be demonstrated by a 3 second clip, but am I alone in sensing that more time is being spent on the theoretical, intellectual ideals than training the whole person? The bottom line for me is this: you don't judge a martial artist by how they react when things work, you judge them by how they react when things DON'T work. Practicing techniques that can't be finished don't allow for the possibilty of it NOT working. There's nothing more harmful to the arts, or more depressing to see, than a nice person who has a false sense of security.

Yes- I believe in kyusho and all of its cycles and points. But, I also believe that technique comes third. And I believe that WHAT I do and HOW I do it in class, is what I'll do and how I'll do it on the street. And I believe that evil exists and that evil is what I should be preparing to face. So, I'll keep applying what kyusho I can- not what I THINK I can, because when evil comes, it's too late to experiment. As a side note, I find it reassuring that so many different cycles exist in kyusho- I have found it difficult when randomly choosing points to hit, to NOT be using a cycle! Every combo is something! Knowing which cycle caused the effect is a matter more for the clinician than for me. I'd be willing to bet that many of the masters of old weren't familiar with EXACTLY which cycle was occurring either. Moreover, how could you? In a real fight, you'll probably end up hitting more points than in any isolated technique from kata, so who can tell which points were activated and which ones weren't? Even under the test of a real fight, (or the sparring competition where the KO occurred) who can retrace the EXACT route of application? (Especially if they were spaced out over time.) It's like trying to figure out the most important play in a basketball game- if the team won, they were ALL important, weren't they? You can never say this "player" or that "shot" or one "series" of plays won the game alone. Why even try to dissect it? Train hard, train smart, train honestly, train the whole person, and you'll be effective.

Yikes! Did my horses get away from me or what?! As always, I'd appreciate any feedback.
THANKS AGAIN,
PHIL


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 9:16 pm 
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TO EVERYONE-

Just in case anybody would rather respond to me privately, my E-mail is HAZOOEE@aol.com. I don't want to clutter up this thread with my personal issues if no one else is interested! All are welcome.

Sorry for the double-post... PHIL


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 1999 11:00 pm 
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Phil

I have little to argue with.

Just the other day at work we were talking about something that I call the "Oxford phenomenon." Here you have this young, upstart, for-profit health insurance company come out of nowhere and start kicking butt in the managed care arena in New York state. They were killing Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, the largest Blue plan in the country. They were the darling of Wall Street. Quarter after quarter, they were bringing in profits and the stock prices were soaring...while Empire and other health plans were suffering. We in our company have to suffer through consultants that our senior management sends in to tell us how to conduct business. You get these fresh-faced kids who go from company to company learing how business A does things and then telling it to business B (don't know why senior management never figures that out!!!). Well...we had to endure this "...but Oxford does things this way..." As if there were some sort of prima facea validity to that introduction.

Then one day the bottom fell out. Oxford stock went from a high of about 90$ per share down to about 7$ per share. Why? Well...for all the expertise in doing disease management, for all the expertise in doing episode-based pricing, for all the glorious accolades in the Wall Street Journal from gurus like Uwe Rheinhart of Princeton, they messed up on one thing. They lost track of how to pay a claim. Health Insurance 101. They lost track of how much they owed their physicians. Then they found out exactly how much they owed. Oooops! And why did this happen? Because they switched from an old software system to a new one without testing it. They started to believe the hype written about them. They got just a little bit too....arrogant.

Think this has noting to do with fighting? Maybe. The Japanese have a saying - Business is war. Japanese businessmen know their Musashi.

Long way to get back to your point, Phil. Basics first! "Blocking and tackling" skills first. Yes, I agree with you.

-- Bill

[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-21-99).]


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 1999 1:07 pm 
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Gentlemen,

Let me say that your posts pose great questions on application and learning methods.

Bill San, yes the Healing Arts are IMHO the best way to locate points and get hands on with no issues from the recipient (other than "when can you do that again"). Massaging someone gives you a greater understanding of the body structure unlike book learning and yes even whacking your partner. This is something I really will get back on focus with in my forum, thank you for this reminder.

Phil San,

Please understand that Kyusho practioners always train their delivery systems (Kempo, Shotokan, Uechi etc...). And as Glasheen Sensei points to Vince Morris as stating "it is only the poison on the arrow", this has always been a given. If you can't hit them what good is the knowledge of the points. It has and always will be the way we train in our Dojos.

Asking each one of these people mentioned earlier what went through their minds in each confrontation they all replyed...they weren't thinking "Kyusho" when the situation arose, rather in retrospect they saw the use of "Practiced Sequences of Body Motion, and Targeting" and then understood what they had done.

It becomes second nature, (and I will state probably to the disbelief of many, but keep practicing the points and you will learn this is true), for your hands, fingers even legs and feet to be automatically drawn to the points. Shaking someones hand, placing your hand on someones shoulder, grasping an arm....as you do these actions your not thinking points but you will notice afterwards you are on them.

To get back to the topic; you come up with a certain series with the theory, go and train it hard in the Kata and in the Dojo (testing on a various people) and forget about it in a real situation.

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

[This message has been edited by Evan Pantazi (edited 04-23-99).]


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 1999 4:35 pm 
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Evan

Your point is well taken. The "theory" talk here is for the theory people like myself (a novice) or you or Michael Davis or Dillman or Bruce Miller or any of the other folks who are wondering how to come up with new sequences or who are trying to "reverse engineer" a kata. We are heavily involved in this dweeb-talk because we want good, parsimonious models that will accurately predict these new sequences

Then there is the testing ground - the fellows who will wack at each other to see if a new idea works.

Then there is the classroom work - the place where "proven" sequences are integrated into kata, yakusoku kumite, and bunkai kumite. Drill, drill, drill.

Whether or not the "TCM guys" have their theories straight, many of the leaders still possess some of the better arsenal of both proven sequences and trained followers.

On another interesting and personal note, Evan, your comment about touching people and inadvertently feeling points made me chuckle. Back in the eighties I had a girlfriend who was both a great martial artist and a nurse. We were very affectionate with each other and constantly validating our feelings for each other with touch. On many occasions though I would find her "checking" my anatomy. She might be playing with the veins in my forearms, finding the one-way valves that control back flow in the veins. Didn't bother me! Another day I was cuddling with her and my hands were touching and carressing her. Suddenly I heard this I know why you are doing that!. Without even thinking, I found myself lovingly massaging a vital physiologic point. But...she was laughing. She didn't mind!

-- Bill


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