Pressure Points Dim Mak
Targets for the Knife Hand Strike

This pressure points knife hand article gives you various dim mak striking targets if you are using the martial arts Knife Hand Strike in self defence.

The knife hand strike consists of a front knife hand or back knife hand depending on whether the palm is facing up or down. It has been used for centuries in many martial art systems. It is applied using the edge of the palm or region from the little finger down to the top of the wrist. Many people would be familiar with a ‘karate chop’ referring to a front knife hand in Kung Fu.

The application can be used to target areas including the side and back of the neck and collarbone for offensive techniques with wrist and arm points for defence. Some other systems like Karate and Taekwon Do also use a reverse knife hand, striking with the edge of first knuckle by moving the thumb towards the little finger to target facial points.

The knife hand strike is used to target several specific points and is generally limited to the side and back of the neck with the exception of the collarbone, which is used in Dim Mak. These points are Stomach 9 (ST 9) which is located on the side of the neck directly on the carotid artery and Governor Vessel 15 on the back of the neck located 5 fen above the hairline where a small depression can be felt. These targets are both death points and even a light blow can cause a knock out, delayed or instantaneous death.

Here's a link for more detailed explanation on dim mak point Stomach 9.

Pressure Points Dim Mak Targets for the Knife Hand Strike
Pressure Points Dim Mak Targets for the Knife Hand Strike

Beginner level Kung Fu introduces the back knife hand as a level one self-defence technique against a hook punch and high roundhouse kick. With a similar hand shape to the mid section block, a new practitioner can easily develop a follow up of back knife hand strike once a midsection of double vertical block has been initiated, as the hands are already in the correct position for striking.

To begin using this technique as a method of attack, from a fighting stance position, the front hand should be raised up to the side of the head in a small circular motion with the palm facing the ear. From here the back hand can be used to clear the opponents guard as the knife hand whips around continuing the circular movement towards the selected target (ST 9). A slight hip turn is also required to ensure maximum power is generated. Turning from a high horse stance to Riding Dragon enables this.

The front knife hand strike is generally a more advanced technique, as it requires a higher level of skill to generate enough power to be effective as a whipping action must be applied and takes much practice. It is initially introduced in the elementary five animals form which concentrates on the training of evasive footwork to get behind an opponent and then follows with a strike to the back of the neck. We also learn during black belt training that it is used (as a black belt blocking technique) by manipulating your opponent to open a specific target (ST 9) by blocking, clearing and striking with a front knife hand.

Dim Mak uses the knife hand as a self defense technique in a more brutal and viscous sense, by striking and slicing delicate pressure points to temporarily or permanently paralyse and immobilise, which then allows the practitioner additional time to follow up with devastating and deadly finishing techniques. For example the back cross step and slicing knife hand can be used in defense against a hook punch, by slicing Lung 9 (a point located on the wrist commonly where you would check your pulse) and following with a mid range pouncing knee strike or inverted square fist to Conception Vessel 17, in the center of the chest.

Attacking techniques include the file tap punch theory however applied slightly different to target side points, resulting in a file, trap and back or front knife hand depending on whether the Yin or Yang side of the body is targeted. These pressure points can be found in the Dai Sifu’s books the Top 36 dim mak points or the Dim Mak Manual. Overall the knife hand is an extremely good weapon when used as a defensive technique. It is simple to use, it can target pressure points located on the arm and wrist causing paralysis which gains additional time for the practitioner to follow up with more devastating techniques.

As an offensive technique it can only be applied in limited circumstances depending on the availability of target points. However the severity of these points makes it a formidable tool with minimal effort leading to maximum destruction. The knife hand is definitely one of my preferred techniques especially when accompanied with a short stabbing pounce sidekick smashing the leg and neck simultaneously.

Thanks to Glen Gebert, Golden Lion student, for this contribution.

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