By Erle Montaigue
3 September 1991

These Techniques are dangerous and should never be used for demonstration or to experiment with. Even the experienced dim-mak practitioner will take a course in CPR before learning this art.

Flavour of the month? Dim-Mak. We've got guys going into martial arts shops and showing the latest point strike, "Hey look what happens when I strike you here", bang, the shop assistant is knocked out. The perpetrator neither knows nor cares that he could be causing irreparable damage or that he could cause the shop assistant to die up to seven years later from a stroke. Just as long as he has made a big man of himself and shown all and sundry that he is capable of knocking someone out with a medium powered strike. Of course, the guy is not actually attacking him; he isn't even being abusive! He's just another sitting duck for an ego demo by some megalomaniac who has picked up a few points on dim-mak.

Unfortunately, this is what this very deadly art has come to it would seem. Much the same way that many of the 'breakaway, modern' styles of karate have also done. Wam-bam, thank you, I'll have that black belt now.

Dim Mak Information: How it Should Be Used

Dim Mak is not a case of learning a few points or even a few directions for the strikes and then using them, it is a whole way of life which involves control of oneself up to mastery of the self, and not some cheap way to show off to one's friends at a party! It takes many years to learn dim-mak to the level that it was intended to be learnt and by that time, the men have been weeded out from the boys, the boys usually leaving it at an early stage because it was just too difficult.

Dim Mak Information: The Know it Alls

So why is it that we now have many people knowing 'all about' dim mak? A workshop here or a seminar there and they know it all! The reason is simple; people are now teaching a small part of this art at seminars to anyone who pays their money. Some of these teachers go so far as to say that the students are able to go away and try it out on their friends, as it is not dangerous! Twenty years ago, I would not be writing about this subject, back then it was taboo to even talk about it. Now we tell everyone about dim-mak so that people will become educated as to the dangers of this most advanced of all fighting arts. Fighting art? Yes, but it is also a healing art as I will explain.

Dim Mak Information: Striking the Points

Knowing a few points or even the correct directions in which to strike these points is not dim-mak. This is only a minute part of one's training, this you can learn at a seminar. It's not too difficult for someone with any brains at all to note down that St 9 point (stomach 9) when struck with an inward strike will cause knock out. What is difficult is knowing why and more importantly also knowing what happens when this point is struck in up to four different directions with differing powers and what are the long term effects if any. We must also know what to do if someone is struck in these points accidentally, using the revival points. We must also know that sometimes we strike points against the flow of energy and sometimes we strike with the flow of energy to cause certain things to happen. We must also know the difference between a 'set up' point and a major point strike and the correct directions to strike each point. Then we must learn the difference between the five ways to knock someone out and also how to revive them. We must learn about combinations of knock out techniques and what they do. And at the most advanced level, we learn about how to heal using dim-mak!

Dim Mak Information: Where it Comes From

The background to dim-mak is as secretive as the art itself used to be. Chang San-feng invented it around 1300. (Haven't I heard that name before?) Yes, he's the guy who invented Taijiquan (T'ai Chi). So what's a guy like this doing inventing two arts that seem to be on opposite sides of the fence? They're not. Chang was a famous acupuncturist also involved in the martial arts of China. He had this penchant for the most deadly and efficient fighting art and so he set about using his knowledge of acupuncture to create what would become the most deadly fighting art, T'ai Chi! The T'ai Chi was only a means whereby Chang could teach his family and closest students this deadly art without others being able to take it from him. The dim-mak movements were hidden within a beautifully flowing kata or form and when people would see someone practising this art, they would think that it was some sort of dance or health exercise. Nowadays, T'ai Chi is known as some sort of dance or health art and many of the dim-mak moves have been softened down through many generations to the point where it is difficult even when told what they mean, to find them.

Dim Mak Information: Being Used Today

Some of the things that Chang discovered in his practise are today used by the medical profession to cure certain states of mind and body. Like for instance the fact that St 9 (stomach 9 point) or carotid sinus will when touched or struck cause the blood pressure to drop dramatically causing knock out. Some people I am told by some cardiologist friends have hypersensitive carotid sinus conditions, which will cause them to knock themselves out even by wearing a tight tie and turning suddenly. So when we know about this point, it is an easy thing for us to strike and cause knock out with very little pressure. What some people do not know is that this point is also known as a delayed death point and can take up to 7 years to cause a stroke by the internal wall of the internal carotid artery slowly disintegrating! I have talked about the dangers of this strike before so let me get on to the intricacies of dim-mak.

Dim Mak Information: 5 different ways to cause knock out 

Dim Mak Information: The First

Everyone knows that if we are struck with a lump of wood over the head that this causes knock out. The brain causes the body to black out to try and help itself to recover using all of its available energy for that recovery. This is the first and most basic way.

Dim Mak Information: The Second

Is to cause the muscles around the lungs to constrict violently by going in to spasm thus causing the person to black out. This can be achieved by a strike to St 15 or to SI 11. See Photo No.1 for stomach 15 & Photo No. 2 for small intestine 11. A person can be struck on the scapular for instance which will have the same effect as a good kick in the guts. We are also able to use the Choke out to stop the air getting to the lungs and this again is at a very basic level.

Dim Mak Information: The third

Is to stop the blood getting to the brain by squeezing the carotid artery, the old sleeper hold. This can be dangerous though if put on for too long and people have been known not to revive after such a hold. This hold is not as easy as it looks however. In Photo No.3 see how the head of the attackee is turned to one side to allow access to the carotid. As well, notice that I have pushed his head forward to heighten the effect on the carotid. The way that we revive from the sleeper hold is to either use CPR if he has been knocked out and the heart has stopped, or we lift him into a sitting position placing our hands under his chest from the rear and jerk him upward while squeezing inward lightly. This should bring him around. If not, a medium slap on the back in between the scapular should work. See Photo No.4 for the basic revival position.

Dim Mak Information: The Fourth

Is to strike at certain points to cause the heart rate to drop as I have already mentioned with the carotid sinus or (St 9) strike. See Photo NO.5 for an application to get at this point. Perhaps we are struck with the most common strike, the old haymaker or hook punch, the left palm would swing out to take the point known as Neigwan or (Pc 6) in an adverse (against the flow of energy) while the right palm would strike inward to St 9 point.

There are three other organs which when struck in certain directions will also cause this blood pressure dropping effect. Gall bladder and intestines are the ones that are the easiest to get at. We have gall bladder points all over our bodies from the feet right up to the head and any of these points will cause the knock out when struck in the correct direction. GB (gall bladder) 14, just above the eyebrow in the middle is one point which when struck in three different directions will cause three different effects. If for instance we strike with an upward blow to this point, it causes what is known as an energy or Qi rush to the head causing knock out or death. The brain sort of explodes! Now this is where dim-mak can also be used as a healing art. We also know that the antidote for this point is GB 21 just on the shoulders. If we put pressure onto this pint and quickly brush to both sides, this will bring the Qi back down out of the head. It is exactly the same when a person is suffering from a bad case of sunstroke. So we know to use these same points to heal the sunstroke! Sunstroke is the same condition of too much yang energy in the head. See Photo No 6 for the initial attack. Notice that I now block his right arm in a towards me strike. This is going with the flow of energy. This point on the outside of his arm is used as a 'set up' point. It causes the energy to be dragged to this point leaving the more important point of GB 14 more vulnerable which I strike in an upward way.

If I were to strike GB 14 in a downward way it would cause the heart to slow dramatically or even stop to lower the blood pressure thus causing knock out or death from the heart not starting up again. However, this time I would use the initial block to strike his arm back up his forearm thus causing an adverse energy flow, this would also cause him to lose power from the lower body and this is called an energy drainage point strike.

Dim Mak becomes even more complicated when we learn that there are certain points that when struck will cause seemingly totally unrelated parts of the body to react. For instance if SP 20 (Spleen 20) is struck in an inward way, it will cause either the right or left leg (whichever side was struck) to lose control and the person falls on the ground.

Dim Mak Information: The Fifth

Is to cause the body to go into neurological shut down. Neurological shut down is a strange human phenomenon, which the martial artist is able to use to his advantage. There are certain parts of the face which when struck with a slapping motion will cause the whole nervous system to shut down. Martial artists wanting to show off have used this practise for yonks. However, the dangers of this type of strike are even worse than the others. This is because it seems as if there has been no real damage but years later the recipient of such a strike turns into a raving lunatic or in the very least becomes paranoid. Certain nervous disorders will also grow over the years and all because some bozo wanted to show off at a party or out the front of a building or at an airport etc.

Dim Mak Information: Combining the Strikes

We are now able to combine three dim-mak strikes in the most deadly fighting art ever, commonly called "THREE DIM-MAK" from the Chinese or simply, combination dim-mak. This is where we a take the nerve strikes, combine them with the 'set up' strikes and the real dim-mak strikes and then add the neurological shut down strikes. For instance, I might be attacked again with a right hook or it could be a straight right. The 'soft' back palm is devastating when used correctly, is slammed into the crease of the right arm, this causes the nervous system to partially shut down from the arm up to the shoulder, if done correctly, this type of strike will also take the shoulder out and tear ligaments. Photo No.7. Notice that the left palm is ready, shaped into a 'tiger paw' and coming up under the right forearm. The knuckles of the left palm now, almost simultaneously strike to a point called H 3 (heart 3) which can also be struck in up to four different ways but here we need to strike it straight in to cause the heat to weaken and thus take power from the 'seat of power'. The knuckles now strike H 3 causing damage to the heart with a major dim-mak strike, Photo NO.8. While the back palm almost simultaneously slaps to the area of the face to cause neurological shut down! Photo No.9. This whole technique has only taken a fraction of a second to execute. The application itself dictates where and how to strike to these points and if one is performing his or her kata or form correctly, this application will already be sub-conscious and it is able to be performed with no thinking at all.


Dim Mak also has a lighter side in that it can be used to only control someone who has perhaps had a little too much to drink and wants to fight. Now, we're not going to in this instance use any of the dim-mak combinations! Here we use a very deadly point called TW 17 (triple warmer 17) just behind the ear. But we use it in a lighter way to cause him to lose power to the lungs and thus fall on the ground or simply allow us to take him out into the street where he can no longer be a danger to others and himself. He might try to strike as in Photo No.10 so I would slap the inside of his arm and then slap his face to stun him, then my left index finger would poke into the back of his ear. If he goes to again strike, I simply apply pressure to this point thus causing him to lose power and not want to resist. Photo No.11.

Dim Mak Information: TRYING IT ALL OUT

No matter how many times I or anyone else tells people not to try these points out, someone will always want to prove it. The 'big' martial artist will not allow his ego to enter into it and will ward off all attempts to cause him to demonstrate. However, there are a few lighter techniques, which can be shown so those sceptics can be appeased. For instance, the point that I was just talking about TW 17 just behind the ear. This point which when struck using the T'ai chi application known as "Shooting the Bow" as in Photo No.12 will cause death and it does not have an antidote! The posture when done in the form or kata dictates the direction for this most deadly strike. However, being a dim-mak point, it is also a healing point. When pressed lightly it has a healing affect upon the lungs but when pressed with medium pressure it causes the lungs to go into spasm thus causing weakness in the lower portion of the body. If you press this point on yourself (and dim-mak can be done on yourself, contrary to what others might say!) you will feel a tickling sensation right down into the lungs. The direction is from rear to front. Feel around until you have found this point. It is not right in the small recession just behind the ear but rather a little lower behind the ear lobe. If there was a safer way of demonstrating dim-mak, then this is it, at a healing level.

Dim Mak Information: To Summarise

Dim Mak is as intricate as it is deadly and should never be taken lightly for the purpose of demonstration. It used to be secret knowledge but nowadays the knowledge is slowly seeping out into the general public, it is no longer a mystical lot of mumbo jumbo, it is real and does work. So please use the knowledge carefully and above all know that it is dangerous no matter who tells you or how softly you use these points, you don't know what might happen a few years down the track.