Note: This is the second part of my exclusive interview with Evan Pantazi – The Pressure Point Picasso. Read part 1 here.
J: Some people claim Kyusho is “BS”, and would never work in real life – against an attacker with adrenaline and aggression. They claim it only works in a safe dojo environment. What’s your take on the issue? Is Kyusho effective on the notorious “street”?
EP: “Well this is not only in Kyusho. When people do not know or work with a paradigm or method, they tend to easily dismiss it – or worse, condemn it.
Kyusho looks very easy and light on YouTube (which is how most people first find Kyusho), and it admittedly does look fake in many cases, until you actually learn it. Truth be told, I didn’t believe it when I first read about it, but instead of dismissing or condemning it, I travelled 3000 miles to see if it was real. I saw it, but still didn’t believe it…
Until I felt it.
Something else that throws people is the learning curve. Kyusho is not as easy as just trying to duplicate something seen on a video – although many to their credit have accomplished this. It takes time to develop the right power level, the right angle of attack, the right penetration to get to a nerve between muscles, bones and tendons, and of course, the proper weapon.
However, in the dojo you are being cautious and not applying full intent. So yes, sometime it can fail. But in real need and under full intent, it is incredibly more powerful than the old YouTube videos show. I have heard hundreds of successes with Kyusho in real altercations, besides three of my own experiences.
By far, the best testimonials I receive are from the Law Enforcement and Corrections Officers from around the world. They relate how fast, easy and safe Kyusho is on aggressive, drug or alcohol afflicted individuals they encounter – some on a daily basis.
Kyusho is real for those who make it real.”
J: So, let’s keep it real: What’s ONE point every Karate-ka should know, and how can it be found/applied in Karate? My readers love practical stuff.
EP: “All right, let’s take one of the most effective points there is: LI-18.
This specific action can be seen at the beginning of kata Kusanku Dai/Kanku Dai, as well as other kata such as Useishi/Gojushiho.
Most people that have seen Kyusho on YouTube have probably tried, and missed, this common point in the neck (LI-18). Often they may just have missed the target, or more likely hit it the wrong way, or with the wrong part of their hand. This point gets the best result when struck down with hard structure like the wrist bone, known as the “Iron Sword” in the Bubishi.
Also, the strike must penetrate between the strands of muscles overlaying the nerve, since it works best if the nerve is stretched down like a guitar string; the tighter the string, the higher the vibration and frequency.
By stopping the arm as you pull it down a bit, it causes the neck to turn slightly and stretches that area – making it weak and vulnerable. No complicated explanation. Just a good shot, with a good weapon, to a good target.
Note that the left side is attacked, but the reaction is on the right foot, since your left brain control the right side.”
J: Great – I’m sure my readers are knocking themselves senseless already! Now… what about the “no-touch” KO then? You know; a blindfolded McDojo grandmaster projects “ki-force” through his fingertips and knocks a student out from across the room.
EP: “Hah! I knew this question would come up, and a complete answer would be a full interview all by itself – if not a full book! Let’s look at the components before I state my opinions, which are rather strong and to some may be offensive:
Our brain sends bio-electrical energy throughout our entire body by way of our nerves. This can be measured, and now even seen, with scientific devices of many types. We have even done this in several Kyusho studies with medical professionals. Now, anytime electricity moves through or along a conduit – like a nerve – electromagnetic energy can form outside, or even leach out of, the insulated conduits. This electricity can not only be measured, but also felt.
That is how humans feel anger, love or mistrust of people in close proximity. Emotions are energy. And this “energy” (term used for brevity as explanation can get down to/beyond molecular particles), is not a mystical chi/ki force. It is physiological reality. It can, and constantly is, influenced by many external as well as internal “energy” sources like the sun, florescent lighting, cell phones etc. Is it real, and works because of this electrical interplay we just looked at.
In my Kyusho organization, we have studied this and its effects to both parties, and found many interesting and real physiological relations. As a matter of fact, we just did a 3D brainwave mapping that validated this. Now that I said that, let me also say that this is not combat effective as many in the seminar circuit portray. What is being paraded now is turning many people away from Kyusho, I believe, for the sake of ego.
Okay, enough about that for now.”
J: Fair enough. In my opinion, there’s no question that the energy an individual harbors can, and will, indirectly influence the collective subconsciousness of everybody around her. But knockout? I’d like to experience that myself! So, let’s bring it back to reality: You mentioned earlier that you’ve used Kyusho in self-defense. Can you share that experience?
EP: “Unfortunately, yes. It’s not glorious or spectacular. But I can attest that it actually works better in real life, as the intent and lack of restraint for safety is not a factor. Here’s the story:
Early on in my training, I used to live over a bar in a rougher section of town as due to my economic situation back then. I was coming home and had three drunk guys approach me, yelling aggressively. As one of them reached to grab me, I punched him in the bicep at a point known as P-2. The man fell instantly and passed out vomiting.”
J: Say WHAAAT!
EP: “It was not a pretty sight, but it got me out of the situation as the others tended the downed friend. That point is still the first point I show beginners!”
J: No wonder!
EP: “So, yes I have used it to stop something, and then to control two others, one also drunk, so I know as personal experience it also works on drunks. And as stated earlier, I know of hundreds of real life situations that worked. As a matter of fact, I have never heard of Kyusho not working when really needed. Again, it is all in the intensity in which it is used.”
J: Cool. So, except what we’ve already covered, what are some other common misassumptions you’ve encountered when it comes to Kyusho?
EP: “First and foremost, the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to explain Kyusho – using the natural elements, cycles, stances, jargon and all of that to describe how Kyusho works. Kyusho is purely about causing stress and/or shock to the recipients physiological functionality (blood/nerve). We’re not even really using the points of acupuncture or acupressure. These are common misconceptions.
I have been working for about 10 years to educate people on what real Kyusho is – as opposed to the “Dojo Kyusho” many use for show – and I have several old writings, from several sources on Kyusho; like Seiko Fujita [the last ninja] and Hohan Soken [1889-1982, legendary Okinawan Karate master] and others that say exactly what Kyusho is and it’s effects.”
J: Just like good Karate, good Kyusho is based on history and research.
EP: “Exactly. For instance, let’s take a description from one set of historical papers, that states hitting the ‘Wakikage Point’ is fatal because: “Severe contusion to the lung and stimulation to the artery nerves. Causing stoppage of lung mechanism and breath and blood circulation”. That sounds like a Western medical description, far more realistic than the current TCM paradigm.
When you asked me earlier why Kyusho was not more widespread, this would be a good reason: Total confusion and inappropriate models for teaching it.”
J: Those are certainly some powerful observations, which sadly apply to Karate in many ways too. So let’s flip it around: Can you share your most profound and positive insight from your long career in the world of Kyusho? What “secret discovery” still keeps you going, after all these years of BS?
EP: “The single most profound discovery for me must be how Kyusho is involved in all human interaction and is totally adaptable and integral. You can hurt with it, heal with it, control with it and empower people. It can even enhance intimate relations. This adaptability is simply the study of the human anatomy, but presented in a far more interesting and fun way than studying it in regular classroom!”
J: Indeed! Lastly, what’s your best advice for Karate people who have no experience with Kyusho, but wish to start?
EP: “Research. There are many “Kyusho” instructors out there who can show you points, but do your research first – as there are several overnight Kyusho masters and organizations out there, just like in all the other martial arts. You need to find the most qualified instructor you can, as you are playing with others health and well-being. It can be done stupidly, as I can personally attest to, or it can be done correctly – so that your Karate has more depth, value and adheres to what it could, and should, be.”
J: And with those wise words we end this exclusive interview about the “lost art” of Kyusho-jutsu. Thank you very much, Pantazi sensei! I know my readers appreciate your knowledge, experience and generosity. Good luck with everything and keep keepin’ it real!
EP: “Please call me Evan, and thank you Jesse-san – it was my pleasure! I will always be available to assist in any future discussions or follow-up articles you would like to do.”