Much confusion seems to have been created by people who practice martial arts other than dim-mak specific martial arts when they claim all kinds of things about this deadly art. So what follows is a list of things that one should consider when deciding upon a dim-mak instructor.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 1 Dim-Mak does work. But only if you have invested in the many years it takes to learn it and that the art has been learnt internally! It does not work if you cannot fight to begin with!
Dim Mak Facts: No. 2 Anyone is able to learn the very basic Dim-Mak strikes and make them work. We in the original Dim-mak arts such as Taijiquan call these strikes, the "Children's Strikes", those that are taught to children so that they can protect themselves very quickly not requiring any real training or power. These strikes include those to the back of the head using an open palm slap, those to the ST 9 point (carotid sinus) which works upon the physiology of the body to maintain a relatively even blood pressure. When struck, this point, which is located directly over the carotid sinus, causes the brain to think that extremely high blood pressure is present so it sends a message to the brain which in turn sends a message to the heart via the vagus nerve to either slow right down or to even stop! This is how this strike works. And literally, ANYONE can do it on a 'sitting duck', those who make themselves available in seminars for instance, to a teacher who thinks nothing of damaging those students just for a boost to his own ego. There are however, many other points on the body that also act to lower the blood pressure like those associated with the gallbladder, intestines and the urethra. The stomach for instance has nerve endings in the lower part of the stomach coming from the vagus nerve which when struck also cause the knock out from a sudden lowering of blood pressure and heart slowing. Those strikes to the back of the head using an open palm shock the brain when even light pressure is used, often causing a knock out. Strikes to the back of the neck will also cause the 'easy' knock outs by the action upon the 'brain stem' or reptile brain when it is kinked. This is a medical fact that when the brain stem is kinked, the brain goes into knock out.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 3 All knock outs or dim-mak strikes, no matter where they are performed are DANGEROUS! And should never be done in seminar for the sake of some ego hungry instructor! Many people, after being knocked out for instance by one of the new breed of ego hungry instructors who do not really know anything other than a few 'children' strikes', complain of sickness that comes and goes. This is normal for someone who has had his brain concussed or who has had his blood pressure lowered so quickly that the brain does not know what is going on. Even simple strikes to the arms can cause serious damage late on, perhaps a few days later or even a few years in later life as they all act upon important acupuncture points in the body causing an energy (Qi) blockage which grows with age! When we are young we do not notice the effects so much and by the time some of these strikes are beginning to take effect, we have forgotten all about being knocked out ten years ago! So we put it down to some old age disease state. Any good doctor will tell you that any knock out is dangerous and you will lose many millions of brain cells with every knock out. And never believe any of the new wave of knock out specialists who will lie to you, saying that these strikes are not dangerous, and that they are only putting someone to sleep! They are simply concussing the brain into knock out.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 4 It is impossible to knock out someone who does not wish to be! That is if the knock out specialist does not know how to fight and you would be surprised at how many very highly ranked martial artists do not actually know how to fight! It's one thing being able to knock someone out when they are standing in front of you begging to be struck. But when asked to perform the same knock out on a person who is simply covering up as in a good kick boxer or boxer for instance, these knock out specialists are in all cases unable to perform the same magical feat!
Dim Mak Facts: No. 5 Real dim-mak requires many years of training in the Internal Martial Arts, those arts that dim-mak was invented for. Stiff, movement as in many of the harder Japanese systems do not lend themselves to Dim-mak as one must be able to MOVE the body before performing real Dim-Mak strikes. Qi must be able to be transferred in order to work the many more 'electrical' point strikes rather than the more simple "children's strikes". And this takes many years of internal training such as Qigong.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 6 It is impossible to take Chinese ideals and ideas and ways of moving and simply place them over some Karate style. Karate has a totally different way of movement which does not lend itself to Dim-mak. Many will tell you that they have done this to the betterment of Karate, but this is not true. If you practice Karate, it is much better to stick with the way it was originally taught rather than trying to change it in some way to be more effective in the Dim-mak area, it just does not work. It is like trying to play checkers but using the movements that are used in Chess! It cannot be done. Many karate people who have tried have failed and eventually either give up the Chinese way or give up the Karate way, they have to eventually choose between either Chinese or Japanese/Okinawan. And in many instances by the time they realize this, it is too late as their body is unable to change to a more natural flowing and continuous way of moving. The best that can be done is to change the way you move in your karate system so that it is more flowing and continuous, this will help greatly! Many are now doing this to great effect.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 7 You would never purchase a motor car without the steering wheel or motor. So why purchase a martial arts system without it being a holistic martial system? All great martial systems have three areas built into them and all involve preservation of life and NOT the reciprocal. There should be the self-defence aspects which are only ever used in the preservation of one's life or that of one's family members or others less able to defend themselves. Then there is the "Self Healing' area where we learn to preserve out own health in order to protect ourselves and family from external attack by simply being healthy enough to use the martial arts for self-defence. Then we have the "Medical Area" where we preserve life from pathogenic attack by using our martial art to firstly diagnose disease states and to then heal those states by getting at the root cause. And if a martial art does not have those three areas then it si NOT a martial art. Many are now adding 'internal parts' to their hard styles in order to make them more holistic. This is possible but the way of moving must also be changed in order to achieve this. And something like Qigong has to be practiced in order for the internal therapy to work. So if you intend in taking up acupuncture for instance, then it is advisable to also take up Qigong so that you get the internal stuff necessary for all Chinese healing arts.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 8 Most Chinese Martial Artists have some knowledge of acupuncture, if not formally, they have an eclectic informal knowledge. However, by the same token, it is not satisfactory for someone who practices stiff and un-flowing movement in their martial art to take up any Chinese healing system as all Chinese healing systems require the same body movement and internal energy that is required for the martial arts area. There is no difference between the Qi that we use for fighting and the Qi we use for healing. So if you have learnt a tense, stiff martial art that will only impede the flow of Qi, then you will never be able to learn for instance Acupuncture other than at a very basic 'needle' level where you expect the needles to do all the work! We in the west go out and take a four year acupuncture course and at the end come out with a degree to put up onto the wall. While in China, I am talking about the traditional way here, the student does not even get to stick one needle into a human being until at least 7 years of being an apprentice. I know of Chinese western doctors who have spent 7 or so years to get their doctorate in medicine but who are still not allowed to stick an acupuncture needle into anyone having studied for the same amount of time! This is because in China, the Qi aspect is much more important than the physical knowledge of where to put the needles, how to put them and what points heal what disease states. To hammer home this point, I use an example of the NSW College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. At their final year the first lot of graduates had to travel to China for a 3 month stint at a real traditional Chinese hospital. At the end of the 3 months all were commended on their knowledge of point location and other knowledge of the points and what they do etc. However, the main doctor at this hospital said only one thing, that al though their technique was perfect, they had nothing coming from 'here', pointing to the tantien area. So after that I was asked to begin the first formal Taijiquan course as part of the T.C.M. graduate course. H However, having said all of that, often the best that we can do IS a four year formal course in acupuncture. In that case you must really train hard in your Qigong to make the acupuncture work correctly!
Dim Mak Facts: No. 9 You do not have to practice on people to discover how Dim-Mak works, only very basic beginners need this confirmation. When one rises to a high level of internal training, we are able to simply touch areas of the body showing the recipient that 'something' different is happening, this is at a healing level. The recipient then knows that if for instance that strike were to be done much harder and using 'adverse Qi' that the result would be negative instead of positive thus damaging the internal structure not healing it. The whole of Chinese Traditional Medicine and martial Arts is based upon Yin and Yang (opposites). But this is not quite true as Yin and Yang must be continually changing into each other and back again just as night must surely change into day and males become more female and we grow older and females become more male. So ti stands to reason that the healing arts can easily change into the killing arts with only a change in the mind and the pressure of the strike, the intent.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 10 Taijiquan is the original Dim-Mak art from whence all other Dim-Mak arts have come. Sadly, this aspect of one's Taijiquan training has been lost many times over until nowadays this once great martial/self-defence art is only a glimmer of its former self with most instructors only ever teaching a very basic form. Dim-Mak was invented by Chang San-feng and the secret forms that he invented to learn this deadly art were later to become known as H'ao Ch'uan or Loose Boxing and then later still as Taijiquan. Other system eventually discovered what Taijiquan had to offer and were able to lay Dim-Mak over their own styles. This was easy as they were all Chinese Systems making use of natural and flowing movement. The so-called 'Hard Styles' wanted this knowledge but were unwilling to change their whole system so they tried placing Dim-Mak over their own system. But because of the inherent nature of the hard styles, this did not work. And still does not work today no matter how hard they try.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 11 It is impossible to be proficient in a hard style and a soft style, it's like trying to mix oil and water or fire and water. I have many students who are not willing to give up their hard style as this is how they make a living. So they decide to practice both the internal and the external. This never works out and eventually they come to the realization that they must give up one of them. Problem is that they have probably wasted 20 years in trying to practice two arts when they could have been specializing in one.
Dim Mak Facts: No. 12 Size has noting at all to do with Dim-Mak as it's not the dog in the fight but rather the fight in the dog that matters. In the internal martial arts, we are taught about things like the Reptile Brain and how to access it. We are taught that real fights do not happen logically, that they happen totally illogically. So it is impossible to fight someone who is totally illogical using logical movements and ALL martial arts use logical movement. This is whey I always say that no martial arts is good for self-defence unless it has been turned into a self-defence art. And that is what the internal martial arts is all about. We take a logical set of natural flowing movements, learn them very well until the body moves freely and flowing and then take those movements into a sub-conscious illogical way of moving so that we are able to defend ourselves. But you cannot do this if you are taught that the movements that you learn in your martial system, kata/form etc., are what we use for fighting! And also, we can never use Dim-Mak if we are still at the logical kata stage. And that is the stage that unfortunately many instructors only ever see. And one of the main reasons for this demise of real martial arts is that most only ever wish to get that black belt quickly so that they can begin earning money or taking ego boosts from being a teacher of martial arts.
Learning martial arts should be a natural progression with not thought what-so-ever of ever becoming an instructor. If you have some lofty goal in mind when you begin, then this clouds the ultimate goal of simply becoming the very best that you can at your art. Then maybe you should think about teaching others, and only when you have given up your own ego and are able to teach for the good of others and not just for your ego or bank balance. A good warrior instructor teaches because he or she loves to see those that they teach advance in life skills. And to see the students overcoming life's hurdles in general, able to cope with western living and the ups and downs that we all face. This is what the martial arts is for!