The thread that binds

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With the emergence of various martial arts as a sport the combative nature has been relegated to a secondary position. In some arts the combative usefulness has not been emphasized in favor of sport or mental and physical training. When this occurs, vital points tend to be neglected and forgotten. Black belts who have never been trained in the use of vital points will not have the skill or knowledge to teach that portion of the art to their students. It would take only a one or two generations of black belts to have this information cleansed from the curriculum of the school. Students and black belts would then have a natural suspension of the existence of such a body of knowledge because their instructor did not teach that type of technique to them.

This area of study at once had been reserved for only the most trusted students of an instructor. As far back as 1915 Yokoyama, Oshima, and Horiguchi stated in their book Judo(1915)that the use of striking vital points were secret techniques and keep from students. However, they also felt that the practice of vital points should not be kept secret and taught. By teaching this aspect of the art there could be an increase in the body of knowledge regarding vital points. Today we are seeing renewed interest in this esoteric aspect of the martial arts.

I would like to make the observation; all of the martial arts set down sets of weak portions of the body to attack. Each style can and does place varying degrees of emphasis on vital point techniques, yet, they can be found in their art. Each style will have various methods of utilizing these points. I find it very interesting that the use of vital points has been considered so important that it is incorporated into every system of martial arts. To me this indicates how significant these techniques are to the martial arts, and how much respect they must command.

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Last modified: 09/28/10