A month ago (10/11th June) I had the pleasure (and pain 🙂 ) of attending a Russell Stutely Pressure Point Defensive Tactics Seminar, which I can thoroughly recommend.
First of all though, there has long since been a debate about whether or not pressure points work or not in real life, with arguments being made that:
- They are ineffective if the opponent is pain resistant due to drink, drugs or being highly adrenalised.
- They require a lot of accuracy which is not always feasible in the all out melee of a real fight.
This is something that I have written about before and my conclusion then was that pressure points can be very effective, but only if they are taught and trained properly by somebody who really knows what they’re talking about!
Well after a weekend training with Russel Stutely, a leading expert in the field of pressure point fighting, I feel that this opinion is well justified.
Russell established from the beginning that pressure points are no substitute for being able to fight! Also, there are a number of what he calls “players to the game” that you need to get sorted first before you even think about pressure points. What I really liked about this seminar is that it was largely about learning principles that you can take away and apply to almost any style and most parts of your own training. That’s why this seminar attracted people from Aikido, Ju Jutu, Kali, Karate and other styles. I like learning practical application to the techniques in the kata, but I do prefer learning principles that you can take and apply to many of areas of your training (regardless of style).
Some Of The Players To The Game
Balance Points: How to easily take somebody’s balance leaving them vulnerable to a strike, or simply put them on the floor so that you can escape! If you are off balance and somebody is hitting you at the same time, human instinct is to regain the balance first and worry about being hit second. That obviously give you a window of opportunity if you can off balance somebody.
Waveform: How to generate very high levels of power. I have talked before about putting a whip like movement into your technique, which is to a large extent the same thing! However, Russell does include some extra refinements to his waveform method, in particular the way the body weight is moved over the supporting front leg before initiating the hip movement on the reverse side. This waveform can be applied to strikes, pushes and even wrist locks (this is what I mean about learning principles rather than specific techniques).
45 degree angle: Most strikes to pressure points are more effective when applied at a 45 degree angle rather than direct onto the target. This can be 45 degrees up or downwards, from front to back or combination of both. It can apply to attacking the head, the torso, the limbs, the hand/wrist; etc.
Using Opposites: If you divided the torso into left and right, then again by top and bottom; you get the 4 quadrants. Now if you apply a wrist lock to your partners left wrist, then take it say from left to right (opposite side), the pain increases. If you take the wrist from left top to left bottom (opposite vertically), the pain increases. If you take the wrist from top left to bottom right, the pain increases even more as you’re applying 2 sets of opposites (45 degrees). The pain can be very intense! I know!
Wiggle It: If you apply a constant pressure to a particular pressure point, the body can after a while loose some of it’s sensitivity to the pressure being applied. However, wiggling it varies the pressure and you can never adapt to it.
Think It, Breathe It, Do It: This is about putting the breath in the in the right place. Decide your technique, exhale with a kind of “achoo” feeling and just as the breath finishes, apply the technique.
There was a lot more to it then this and this is just a very brief overview. However, the aim of this post is to give a small insight into how Russell teaches and the depth and breadth of his methods. It’s not just about here’s a pressure point, go hit it. It’s about how to do it effectively to make it work. In fact, not an awful lot of actual points were taught. Much of what we learnt would enhance your techniques even if you weren’t striking a pressure point.
If you can get to any of his seminars then I recommend that you do regardless of your style or grade. It can potentially change your whole approach and understanding of martial arts. Several of Russell’s senior instructors were on hand to assist; all very knowledgeable, experienced and extremely helpful. The rest of the students on the course were mainly quite high grades from a variety of styles, but there was absolutely no egos at all. Everybody trained hard, supported and helped each other and the whole event was really enjoyable.
If you get the chance to go on one of Russell’s seminars then I can thoroughly recommend it. If you can’t make it, then he has a selection of DVD’s and on-line courses you can choose from. I will be continuing my own training with him when I can (probably next year now due to other commitments).