During self-defense preparation, we want to integrate concepts that apply to both armed and unarmed situations. What techniques should we spend time training to deal with the human weapon system? PDN Managing Editor Rob Pincus sits down with Dr. Robert Smith of the Direct Action Medical Network, who discusses the concept of self-defense pressure points.
Pain Compliance Misconceptions
As Dr. Smith explains, many people believe that in an unarmed self-defense encounter, activating certain self-defense pressure points on the body will force an attacker to comply. But actually there is a wide variability to the effectiveness of these maneuvers. Some parts of the body, such as ligaments and tendons, can be trained to be less susceptible to pain by making them stronger or more flexible. But three parts of the body cannot be trained to feel less pain: the temporomandibular joint at the jaw, the meniscus in the knee, and the cartilage on the side of the wrist.
Training in Context
After Dr. Smith discusses another myth of unarmed combat — that a strike to the brachial plexus will cause a person to pass out every time — Rob emphasizes that effective self-defense training must be realistic. That starts with an understanding of the realistic vulnerabilities of the human body as related to self-defense pressure points and nerve strikes. Rob stresses that we can increase our strength and flexibility to make ourselves less susceptible to pain, but should not expect an attacker to be more susceptible.
The video concludes with a demonstration of the human weapon system in action, as the wrist cartilage pressure point is activated and we see Rob’s natural body reactions to pain. The human weapon system is designed to prime itself for a fight. The better we understand how it works, the more prepared we’ll be to defend ourselves.