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Self Defense/Does it take some practice and physical conditioning to be able to hit vital points in a fight?


QUESTION: This is something I'm wondering. When I watched Krav Maga vids on Youtube there is a lot of emphasis on hitting a person's weakpoints. They advised in the vid to Israeli civilians just entering the IDF for draft purposes that rather than wasting effort to punch someone across the face or kicking someone with a roundhouse, they should just send a simple attack like a spearthrust to the neck in a fight. They stated that to effectively hurt someone with techniques like a right uppercut from Boxing or a Muay Thai roundhouse, it would take HOURS and HOURS of practice and lots of strength training before you can seriously hurt someone with such techniques.

They made it sound like as soon as you learn the general weakpoints of the body, you just hit that spot and voila your opponent is KO.

This wasn't the first time I seen such things. So many self-defense vids on Youtube and even a few I've met irl to states similar things about quickly taking out a person by striking their vital points rather than using techniques trained fighters use like the Jab or sweeps saying you'll hurt them far more.

They make it all sound all you have to do is memorize the weak point and you just go hit it and you'll KO someone trying to murder you. Like you don't even have to practice the techniques daily after taking a few class sessions nor do you need to be conditioned and develop strength and speed to hurt someone.

Is it as simple as this?

ANSWER: The answer is yes and no.

The concept is simple. Application ... not so much.

The problem with a lot of people's approach to this subject is they want a magic pill. They want the effective stopping power of a gun, the speed of stopping a threat of the movies and they want to be able to hit like a professional -- after watching a video.

The premise of hitting vital targets to more quickly and effectively change someone's mind about attacking you is valid.It's just not that simple.

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QUESTION: I have a question in relation to this. One of the problems I have with these videos, books, and instructors is that they ignore one point: Wouldn't comeone who's boozed by drugs or totally committed to killing you be able to ignore the effects of pressure points based attack?

I mean a lot of people think if you just do  a well placed hit say on the neck even with minimal damage...... Let me use an D and D analogy.

Say your enemy has 1000 POINTS of armor. You only have 1 point of attack. So no matter where you hit them they will shrug it off and laugh. Except you just realized their groin is completely unprotected. So you stab on the ground and big bad giant knight in armor falls and dies.

A lot of people think that if you could just strike the weak the damage will always be considerable.

Except I seen stories of hardcore criminals get stabbed in the neck and still go at their victims and guys getting their testicles cut off but still proceeding to rape a victim.

Is attacking pressure points not enough?

I have a friend who used to figt int he Streets of New York and he tell me that when you HURT SOMEONE you don't just use PAIN but you DELIBERATELY crush their bodyparts.

He tells me that pressure points are 100% legit and its far easier to disable someone by attacking weakpoints than trying to KO them with a hook or break their legs with around house..........

EXCEPT he tells me that many of the "pressure points"" people are being taught to use are to disable someone you don't wnat to hurt  but are not actually effective against the predators he fought during his youth when he was a gang member.

That the pressure points he always attack in fights are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT and HARDER to hit than merely "punching the neck" or "palm fisting the solar plexus". For example attack the leg joints with kicks that will crush the necessary bodily structure needed to  get up and walk or break parts of the arms that will completely prevent omeone from swinging a knife.

He basically tells me presure points is one of the most effective concepts out there....... But whats being taught as so in the RBSD and martial arts world are INCREDIBLY limited tools piiarily for people you don't want to hurt like your raging brother.  That the really effective pressure points that are intended to KILL someone are so ignored even most martial artists and RBSD instructors are completely ignorant thhey exist

The answer is "It depends."

There is no, one shot, guaranteed, you just do this move/target etc. The problem is that is what a lot of people are looking for and that is what a lot of people are selling. I call this the search for and the supplying of "Dr. Bonner's Miracle Cure-All Elixir. In other words, snake oil.
But oh how people want snake oil.

Fundamentally you have three issues to contend with.
One- Do you have the mechanics to deliver force during a crisis
Two - Do you have the opportunity to do so?
Three - Is the guy susceptible to it?  

Any one, much less all three can fuck things up.

#1 Mechanics: Ever swam in the ocean? It's different than swimming in a pool. Still the core mechanics of swimming -- that you learned in a pool -- don't go away in the ocean. They just have to be augmented with other knowledge, skills and abilities. Just practicing how to deliver power against a stationary target isn't enough. You have to learn how to deliver force while moving and against a moving target. Then you have to add in doing it while being attacked and defending. A further complication is have you trained yourself to know the effective ranges of your moves. Trying to throw something at the wrong range causes a power drop off worse than falling off a cliff.

Simply stated, most people can't do that. So yeah, you got a vital target that seriously could have jacked the guy, but your blow there has about as much force as a fly. It's not the vital target failing, it's the hit.

#2 Opportunity: I know a lot of really, really good ways to drop someone with just one good blow. The question is am I going to get a chance?

Where this gets utterly screwed up is you need to have two fundamental skill sets. Skills that if you DON'T have, you better just pack it up and go home.  One is the ability to recognize and immediately react to when the opportunity is there. (I liken it to throwing something throw a window that opens and closes really quickly. But a Whack-A-Mole analogy works too. You gotta see it, recognize and react in time).

Two is the ability to set the circumstances up so you can do it. And this set up HAS to be fast. For example, I'm a big fan of blows, just under the ear and behind the jaw. This creates a 'brown out' in the guy's nervous system that gives me a second to manipulate him without having to fight against his muscles. But to get there I've conditioned myself to move off-line (avoiding his attack) and put myself into range. This allows me to -- basically-- move and hit at the same time. I'm using the force inherent in my evasive movement to manifest as a hit at the end of it.

You may know where to hit, but unless you get the opportunity to do so it's not the vital target failing, it's that I didn't set it up.

#3 Susceptible -- that's actually not really the case. We're all susceptible to these attacks. The question is how many will it take?

You hit one guy in one of these spots and he drops like a prom dress. You hit another guy and yeah, it will stagger him, but you have to do three more things before he hits the deck. Can you tell the difference? The first guy if you keep going, you've crossed the line into excessive force and you're going to jail. The second guy if you stop and look is going to turn and eat your lunch.  

So knowing when to stop and when to keep going is JUST as critical as knowing how to hit vital targets.

These three things are stuff people don't want to hear they want some kind of magic hit that does it all for them.

There ain't no such animal.

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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