Exclusive Interview: Evan Pantazi – The Pressure Point Picasso (pt. 2)

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… Kyusho Jitsu

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.

Sensei Pantazi demonstrating the vital point LI-18, commonly found in many kata bunkai.

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.”


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!”

The pressure point (P-2), demonstrated by sensei Pantazi himself.

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.”

Ancient Chinese manuals of combat depict hundreds of structurally unique locations in the human anatomy. One of these manuals (‘Wu Bei Zhi’, a.k.a. ‘Bubishi’) even made it to Okinawa back in the days – where it inspired the first generation of Karate pioneers.

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.”

The end.


  • Jesse Sensei, Thank you for the interesting article. I am on the fence as to this subject. I fully agree that striking anatomical weak points can create results, but hitting at the 'right' angle with the 'right' amount of force while twisting another body part seems like a complex task for combat. That said, I am very interested in the subject. Can you or your readers share any 'serious' books or research on the topic? I have not found anyone in my area that I trust to be qualified. Best regards, ~bob j.
    • Hi Bob I read your question but accidentally posted an answer on another comment. First, let me confirm that I have taught Clinical Anatomy to Doctoral canditates in the US and am currently in Okinawa learning Karate. There are few books worth reading on the human biology of martial arts, the best I found was one which has a fun title but is quite academic called "Becoming Batman" It was ok but there were many places in the book I disagree with. When it comes to Western medicine, most authors of injury books do not have the basic understanding of Human Biology. It is sad to say that even in academics in the US few have the proper training yet are teaching human biology at the lower division levels of Universities. These professors many times have about the same understanding of human injury as a fresh brown belt due to experience. I am currently looking for people with questions that want answers with peer reviewed articles from Medical and biological perspectives. If you want to see my style I have two articles on how I work on the published article section of Karatedr.com and would be happy to share some of what I have found.
      • Dr. Gutierrez, Thank you for your response. I look forward to reading your book. It seems we were in Okinawa at the same time, I left the Sunday after Fitow slid by the island. I see you are from San Diego; perhaps we can meet someday as I am in the Los Angeles area and come to San Diego to train in Matayoshi Kobudo with Sanguinetti Sensei. Best Regards, ~bob j.
        • I look forward to meeting you, I am in LA quite often so hope to meet you there. and please just Raf, I only use Dr if I write a letter of reference.
    • Evan Pantazi
      Bob, It is much simpler than that what is generally promoted or taught. However this seeming problem you stated on multiple manipulations needed to accomplish Kyusho is one many share. This is not necessary with Kyusho as a single strike, pressure or other type application on a nerve or blood vessel can incapacitate. But that said you could have the same argument for a side arm bar... a lot of correct angles correct force as you control the rest of the body to be able to enact the lock or hyper-extension is a similar analogy... yet it is possible (even in MMA). As always it is in the hands or skill of the practitioner with the learned skill. There are many books on the subject but buyer beware. Most are using the Traditional Chinese Medical (acupuncture model), but is is not correct. As example it is like striking your elbow against something compared to striking the funny bone (hitting the nerve just right at the elbow). This is the difference with Kyusho, but most people do not realize that they have over 100 funny bones in their body and some with even more dramatic result possibility. I have several books (sorry for the shameless plug), that are more common sense on the topic Try this free article for starters: http://www.kyusho.com/first-aid/ for more of a reverse engineering standpoint this article: http://www.kyusho.com/iron-shirt/ is also free to read. And another with more of the Martial flavor of old: http://www.kyusho.com/6jihands/
  • Corey
    What was described above is certainly not physiology. Nerves do not transmit electricity. No electromagnetic energy is 'leached' out. There are no scientifically validated instruments to measure what was discussed. This is a misunderstanding of HOW the body works.
  • Without opposition there is no success. Thank you Corey and Jeff as this is a perfect instructional opportunity that allows me to also use the interview Q & A information presented. Now anyone here can listen to me and accept, or listen to your viewpoint and accept that. Most will fall in between and that is why I suggested research for each and not just accepting or dismissing without investigation. Here is but one page of verification from the medical community: http://www.nwhandortho.com/nerve_injuries Jeff, thank you for the research.... Yes I received a 7th Dan from Dillman and turned down an 8th, shortly thereafter I was thrown out, but for something else. I trained under so many as I was never satisfied. Nick Cerio as example who studied next to Ed Parker under professor Chow (Kenpo). Tai Chi from Bo Sim Mak, Wally Jay... (Both listed in case I needed oriental credential), Even given an award from him for contributions. I was awarded Shihan back in the 1990s from George Mattson for my contributions to Uechi Ryu... And these are only a smattering over several decades. I also as stated have done many medical investigations with Doctors of several fields. I am open to further questions also as I know that research in brief sometimes only tells half the story. By the way I am down in Bermuda instructing a governmental agency for a few day, but the hotel has Internet. I may be able to chime in more than expected until I go to Germany from here. Apologies for the brief and fleeting answers to your questions and commentary.
    • Pentazi-sensei could you share with us your website so that we can get a more insightful idea of kyusho-jutsu and find some in the katas
    • Hello Pantazi-san There are few books worth reading on the human biology of martial arts. I say this as someone who has taught clinical anatomy at the Dr. level and is interested in Karate. Most authors do not have the basic understanding of Human Biology. It is sad to say that even at the lower division levels of Universities few teaching human biology have even a brown belts understanding of injury and injury prevention. I am currently looking for people with questions that want answers with peer reviewed articles from Medical and biological perspectives. If you want to see my style I have two articles on how I work on the published article section of Karatedr.com and would be happy to share some of what I have found.
  • Richard Lubkowski
    Thank you for this material Jesse-san! It was fascinating. I had already studied vital (pressure) points in Master Funakoshi's book 'Karate-do Kyohan' and have noticed more and more that some kata moves clearly seem designed for use of this knowledge. I don't know if scientific evidence does exist as to an influencing 'presence' proceding from one person to another, but I do know its reality from personal experience. I have been a minister/pastor for many years and have actually 'felt' the attitude (often hidden) of people I encounter. It can be quite uncomfortable, but also useful once recognized. there is a guy about my age at the supermarket check-out who outwardly shows politeness when serving customers (just!) but I always pick up from him a sense of dislike or animosity (no matter what mood I myself am in and regardless of how well I treat HIM! )I do believe there are indeed more things in heaven and earth Horatio than are dreamt of in our philosophy (Shakespeare's 'Hamlet')
  • Shankar, my site is: http://www.kyusho.com/ and just converted to a blog. There are recent articles on Nai Han Chi, seizing methods taken from old Kata as well as Iron Shirt, conceptual Bunkai, reverse engineering and much more (actually all) that can be related to Kata... And of course Kyusho. http://www.kyusho.com/totality/ relates to much of this interview as well.
    • Thank you Mr.Pentazi, You see I have earlier mentioned about marmams the Indian version of kyusho and I have a hunch that it could be similar to kyusho-jutsu. I suggest that you visit India to learn more info or check it on the internet.
  • Having been introduced to this via youtube, I find it an interesting practice albeit a bit questionable. Is it really safe to get knocked out like that so often? Also, why in every video are the legs crossed and back smacked? This does not seem a safe way to resuscitate an unconcious person. My other question...is given the effectiveness of these techniques and the wide range of target locations, why do more mma based competetors learn this? It seems as though it would be extremely effective in a grappling situation. Thanks for the interview. -Aidan
    • Sorry, that should have been 'why dont' not 'why do' Thanks again.
  • Aidan, This very question is the dilemma of the Kyusho-Ka, how to use minimal power level to dysfunction without injury as well as not appearing false. We have studied many medical aspects and have so far not suffered any injury or residual affect once proper revival procedures are applied. I still train after decades and know of no difficulties nor do I suffer from any, and yes I do receive as well as apply to only give what can be endured, not just preach or demonstrate. That said the revival is not necessary as a knocked out individual will come to on their own, once the body perceives no additional or continuing shock. it is also possible to revive the individual sooner by lightly slapping them anywhere (as we have seen in-numerous boxing or mma bouts). The crossing of the legs and positions we place the people in are very specific not to wake them per say, but rather assure they do not suffer ill effects from the applied Kyusho. The back slap is not necessary for most KOs, but many have the monkey see monkey do type processes without proper understanding of what they are really doing. They have just seen this used and do it as a matter of habit or fear that if they do not, the revival is incorrect. A more in depth explanation (free of charge), is at the first martial aspect level on www.learn.kyusho.com There you will see 3 revival methods in film, text and graphic presentation to further explain these specifics. As for MMA practitioners, some do know, as example Chuck Liddell writes in his book "Iceman" that he was trained to hit a specific target a specific way and accomplished it more than once ending in KO. As explained also in this interview, most KOs are on these targets but since mist do not know this they do not seek it. When the UFC first started, I attempted to contact Dana White to say that all if the KOs could be explained, trained and easily duplicated with the goal to replicate all the KOs from their videos showing what happened, how and what revival should be applied. I received a letter from his organization stating they were not interested at that time. Fair enough, however we have seen these KO recipients remain dazed after awakened, (be it by general face slapping ir even through inhalation of brain cell killing ammonia tablet). It is my contention that every corner man should know and be competent in revival to eliminate the problems they suffer that the Kyusho-Ka has not. Thank you for your interesting question, please review that free information and pose any additional questions that may arise. Sincerely, Evan Pantazi www.kyusho.com
  • Thank you so much for your answer. Very appreciated! Aidan
  • You are most welcome sir. PS I just saw this from the 3D brain mapping group we just visited this August to see how or what Kyusho operates in the brains communication as well as functionality: http://www.brainavatar.com/kyusho-demonstration.html Personally I am not satisfied with myth, conjecture or BS, I am interested in the science as well as the art of humans. And my promise is to discuss all from experience, not theory. Keep those questions coming as we all will gain from them.
  • Chip Quimby
    Great interview! Thanks to Pantazi sensei for his insight into this fascinating art. It's so rare to see someone as knowledgeable as Mr. Pantazi be so open and patient to answering questions from other who in many cases know very little about the subject. I think we can all learn a lot from his example. OSU!
  • Ian
    Very interesting. I don't "understand" this stuff (yet), but I'm willing to be curious and investigate. This seems like something that is "right up our alley" as karate-ka ... using superior knowledge and skill to overcome a physically superior opponent. The criticisms levelled against kyusho seem rather reminiscent of the criticisms that brawlers level against kata, when they'd rather rely on overwhelming physical force.
  • Ian, The difficulty for most people to accept it, lay in the explanation of what it is as well as the presentations of it. When you remove the false paradigm of chi and acupuncture science, to simply explain the actual anatomical structure and physiological functionality, people understand it to a deeper level. They learn it faster as well. I have been fighting this TCM Paradigm for many years; we first learned anatomy, then for the sake of more income switched... I was taken in as were most. But then while working with the doctors and scientists, I saw the simple truth. To your comparative of the Karateka and the Brawler, it too is similar; if you know your Kata inside and out, then you will watch an MMA fight and see each move comes from a Kata. The easiest to see (if you practice the Kata), is Nai Han Chi. Look at the grappling not as the motion, but the position of the body... you can see the Kata postures in virtually all positions. Once you can see this readily, then watch the same way to the stand up and more Kata becomes apparent. Kata is not a series of techniques (although it can be discussed and portrayed as such).. this is the confusion. It is the same with Kyusho,you hit a target and the person falls down which you can see. But most people do not know anatomy so they only see the surface or main action, they will not look at the deeper levels and will believe what ever is said to them. But once we get past surface and look deep many new discoveries will emerge.
  • I have to say that I love the idea of Kyucho and hate pain compiance as I see pain as subjective. In clinics, you are asked how much something hurts but if something breaks the body, there is nothing of the "does this work?" someone who cannot stand based on a mechianical problem cannot stand. If we look at Kyucho as a purely Anatomical aspect it works. can you cause damage just by power alone but there is always someone stronger. If you mechanically destroy a structure, it is gone.
  • Richard
    Having trained in a Japanese karate style that is one of the first Kyokushin offshoots, I'm aware of the damage we can do to each other. I'm also aware of the legal troubles that can bring. After reading so many posts which claim Kyusho doesn't work, I want to let you know that I have experienced it at work twice, both times doing partner work. The first was in sparring. We were going light. I threw a left front kick from a high chamber. My partner threw a right front kick half-second later. His knee deflected my kick from its trajectory, causing the ball of my foot to connect with the top of his pubic bone. He dropped like a stone, though my kick did not have much juice on it and he's a big guy. He was unable to continue. The second time happened to me. Working with a brown belt, throwing knees to the torso. No contact to be made, but he reacted by dropping his elbows down into my thigh. One elbow did no damage, the other struck me on a point which you ID'd at the top front of the thigh. There's a mirror point on the back of the thigh. It dropped me straight to the floor. It was involuntary and immensely painful. Produced a wicked good bruise too. Apologies for not remembering the Point Names.

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