Lethal Striking Points

We will now discuss lethal striking points in the human body. This is not to suggest you should ever use these points. In fact, you should consider this a list of things to avoid except in those rarest of circumstances where you literally have no choice. Should you become involved in a shoving match with another person you do not have the right or a moral justification for killing that person. Martial arts training involves a great deal of discipline. One of the primarily disciplines is knowing when to avoid hurting someone unnecessarily. You cannot simply explode in rage and execute a fatal strike simply because you know how to do it. That is called murder, and your local prosecutor will dutifully ensure you pay the price for such an action.

Here is an undoubtedly incomplete list of striking points that have the potential to be lethal. They will not always be lethal, but striking to these locations may, in the right circumstances, result in death to the person being struck. In some instances death will be relatively immediate. In other cases death may not occur for a day or two. This is not due to some magical obscure martial arts trickery. It simply takes some time for the injury to manifest itself into a fatal condition.

Strike and/or LocationCause of Death
Hiraken Tsuki to the front of the throatCollapse or constriction of the windpipe; stress and anxiety leading to cardiac arrest. Death will occur within a matter of minutes.
Tettsui Uchi to the temple areaBreaking of the temporal bone in the skull, resulting in a tear or severing of one of the many arteries that branch off from the interior carotid artery just inside of the temporal bone. This may cause internal bleeding leading to death in the coming hours or days.
Ken Tsuki to the rib cage in the vicinity of the heart.May cause sudden heart arrhythmia leading to cardiac arrest. Death may be immediate or may occur within a few hours or even days due to continued abnormal heart function.
A penetrative strike to a kidney.This can cause internal bleeding or a complete failure of the kidney. Either can lead to death over the course of a few hours or days. There can be more dangerous if a person only has a single functioning kidney.
A kick to the abdomen causing blunt force trauma to one of several vital organs in the area.This may result in rupture, tearing, or bruising to the pancreas, liver, stomach, intestines, or other organs in the vicinity. The result may be internal bleeding or disruption of organ function. Either condition may result in a fatal condition in the coming hours or days.
Palm strike to the forehead of a rapidly approaching individual.Can cause severe neck and spinal column injury. It takes a great deal of force for this to be lethal, but there is a risk of severe neck and back injury that could have fatal consequences
Ground PoundRepeatedly pounding a prone person’s head into the floor, or repeatedly striking an opponent so that his or her head is between the ground and your strike will likely lead to intracranial bleeding which may be a fatal condition.
Severe bone breakIf a bone is broken then a jagged edge of the bone may sever an artery or large vein, resulting in significant visible or internal bleeding, both of which could have fatal consequences if not addressed expeditiously.

You will encounter numerous stories of people who can strike a specific area of the body using a “secret” technique that will subsequently lead to the death of the struck individual in as little as a few steps or as long as a few weeks. Some go as far as to claim that they can impart a lethal strike on an opponent without physically touching the person. These are all likely to be bogus claims. While some may protest this assertion, there has been little if any evidence to support such claims of nearly magical “death touches.” It is true, as identified above, that some injuries may take time to result in a fatality, but these are due to natural processes that take time to manifest in a lethal manner.

When you encounter tales of obscure strikes that lead to death you should be able to clearly identify a cause and effect. If someone strikes near the heart then it is not unreasonable to assume that heart arrhythmia may result. Nor is it implausible that a strike to a kidney might lead to fluid buildup in the body that eventually leads to seizures, coma, and even heart failure. A strike to the temple may cause death in a day or two due to fluid and pressure buildup in the cranium that results in eventual death. All of these may cause a delayed death condition, but all of them have an underlying cause and effect relationship. It is clear what has caused the death – even if it was somehow delayed.

But some practitioners claim they can tap your elbow, the back of your neck, or some other seemingly innocuous area on your body and cause massive heart failure, respiratory failure, or seizures a few minutes, hours, days, or weeks later. There is often no clear cause and effect relationship between these two events. As a result you should remain highly skeptical of such claims until the person making them, or better yet some other qualified professional, can unequivocally provide a clear and believable cause and effect scenario. Do I believe there are magical striking points that can lead to a seemingly random death at some point in the not too distant future? Not even a little bit.

As mentioned earlier the strikes we identified above are a mere fraction of the possible ways in which a  realistic lethal strike can be delivered. We do not wish to encourage the use of these striking methods, but rather wish to inform you that some strikes, under the most unfortunate of circumstances, may lead to a fatal condition. You need to be aware of these possibilities so you can avoid this outcome in all but the most dangerous encounters in which your life or the life of another is in peril. As a martial artist with some significant training it becomes increasingly important that you act in a responsible manner and not overreact during a physical encounter. You must remain cognizant of the ETD model and not move to the extreme end of this model when it is neither appropriate nor warranted.

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