Originally, the 12 secret deadly katas of dim-mak, or
death-point striking, were only given to the most
advanced students or family members who inherited
the ancient martial system in China.
One technique per year
was given over a 12-year period.
At the end of that period, the
practitioner was so adept at using his hands that no one could
Today, most of us don’t have the time or perseverance
required to achieve this kind of mastery, and author Erle
Montaigue acknowledges this.
“Because we are twentieth-century human beings,” he says, “we want things unnaturally
quicker, and most of us do not wish to spend the time learning a
new martial art, especially one as intricate as taijiquan [dimmak].”
In this book, then, he teaches the 12 most deadly katas of
dim-mak, offering his students a shortcut to learning the natural
circular body movement of dim-mak, or taiji, which is based on
the powerful points along the acupuncture meridians and can
be as healing as it is lethal. In addition, he provides quick, concise training in specific patterns of movement or forms based on
these points that can be used as a whole separate martial art.
Part One teaches the solo form—not really a continuous kata
but 12 separate katas.
Part Two puts it all together, with the student learning to respond to a training partner’s attacks with
each of 12 free-sparring techniques, called san-sau or kumite, that
directly correspond to the 12 katas taught in Part One.
“The 12 katas teach us many things, including how to
move the body naturally and in tune with the Universe.
this way, we become well physically and then mentally,
with the mind and body blending as one unit.
This is the
only way that any good martial art will work against real
attacks; the body and mind must act as one, instantly and
The 12 secret deadly katas are a way to