A Few of the Key Pressure Points in the Arm

Arms. They make great weapons for fighting. You have fingertips for gouging, the edge of the hand on the little finger side for striking, knuckles for punching or back fist strikes. The heel of the hand is an excellent weapon. A cupped hand is also an effective weapon. The wrist on the outer side is good for striking or blocking. The ridge hand, on the thumb side, is one of the most efficient tools for transferring energy. Then there is the elbow, a devastating weapon capable of both forward and rear ward strikes as well as up and down strikes.

The arm also is a great target. It has several excellent points that are very effective targets. Let’s start with the back of the hand. Triple Warmer 3 is used extensively in joint techniques such as Single Hand Hold and Single Hand Throw. It is used in conjunction with Heart 6 and Lung 8 to rotate the wrist away from the midline. This is a common technique in jujutsu, aikido, hapkido, hwa rang do and can probably be found in many different Indonesian arts. It is used in Escrima in conjunction with stick and knife techniques. TW 3 can also be struck while doing the single-hand hold to effectively dislocate several of the eight little bones in the wrist and possibly cause a spiral   fracture . It can be pressed while you are stepping to provide the leverage and pain to effectively throw an opponent. TW 3 can also be used in a Reverse Wrist Lock, Arm Pit Wrist Lock, Hand Mirror and several other joint manipulation techniques.

The wrist contains several points that are useful. Already mentioned are Heart 6 and Lung 8. By squeezing these points you can twist an opponent’s wrist and hand when he has grabbed your lapel, allowing you to do a reverse wristlock. By using these two points in concert you can reduce the strength of an opponent’s arm as done in Single Lapel Escape. You want to make sure you are not grabbing further up the wrist because that splints the wrist and reduces the pain.

Moving up the arm to the center of the wrist approximately one hand width from the crease in the wrist is Pericardium 6. It is located between the Ulna and Radial bones. I have heard of people being knocked unconscious from a strike there but I have not seen it done. However by either pressing or striking P 6 you can reduce the overall strength of the arm allowing for joint manipulations. It is also found in the second movement of Kanku.

Elemental Theory contains five elements: Fire, Water, Metal, Wood and Earth. The radius side of the arm has the elemental value of metal. The Ulna side of the arm is fire. According to the elemental theory’s cycle of destruction fire melts metal. I don’t really know how this works but I do know that it does work. Grasp a partner’s wrist squeezing H 6 and L 8. With your other hand do a hammer strike on Lung 5 located on the top inside of the forearm just below the elbow. Strike inward and toward the hand. You will get a reaction known as a cross body reflex. His chin will jut forward and his opposite hand will fling to his rear.

Another useful point is Large Intestine 10 located on the top of the forearm about an inch below the elbow. This is where the muscles of the forearm bifurcate. Gee that is a fancy word for an old infantryman. This point as well as L 5 can be used in a bent-wrist lock sometimes called an S lock or a Z lock. In the instance of this particular joint lock we must retreat back down to the web of the thumb to Large Intestine 4. Squeeze this point (with your thumb) as well as H 6 (with your little finger) while pressing down on LI 10 or L 5 (with your finger tips or the head of the radial bone). Ensure you have the opponent’s wrist and hand rotated toward the midline until the little finger side of the hand is up. Base the opponent’s hand tight against your chest. In practice go gently. In combat, spiral  fracture  the attacker’s wrist by dropping your body weight onto his arm.

Heart 2 located on the inside of the triceps about one finger above the bony protuberance of the elbow. This point can be struck or pressed. I sometimes use a thumb press here with single-hand hold and is produces a weird kind of pain. This is probably caused by overloading the fire meridians or there are a plethora of nerves emanating from the brachial plexus. Whatever. It works.

One of the best points on the arm to work is Triple Warmer 12. You can locate it by placing your palm on a partner’s elbow. Make a fist. Your knuckles will be in approximately the correct position for TW 12 though I have seen it on various acupuncture charts as being higher up the arm near the center of the triceps. This is a strike point. Even by pressing this point it causes the arm to relax and be manipulated to your designs. For a technical application lets discuss Arm Reverse. Your partner punches at your face with his right hand. Do a sweeping block (ne gashi uke) to deflect the technique toward the midline. Grab his arm with your right hand and slide it down to his fist where you can grab and squeeze H 6 and L 8. With your left arm do an upward elbow strike to TW 12. Rotate the partner’s arm toward the midline so his elbow is pointing up. Step back and pull the partner toward you and at the same time use the ulna side of your left arm to “scoop” the triceps tendon towards his elbow. You can use this technique to face plant your opponent or put them on their knees so you can do an arm bar or other such nastiness to them.

There are folks out there that will tell you that the pressure point stuff does not work and they do not believe in ki flow or meridians. That is fine. It does not matter the mechanism that makes these things work, just that they work.

Learning the points can be challenging. The best way is to look at your techniques and identify the points used during the technique. A good acupuncture book or even some of the better martial arts books (there are not many) can show you the points. Learn the points by working the techniques. It is not necessary to memorize all of the acupressure points. In the martial arts we use about 108. Learn most of them. Master a dozen or so and practice them on a regular basis. Oh, did I mention that if you are to really study the martial arts you also need to know anatomy? Well you do. Besides it is your body, shouldn’t you know the names of the parts?

Train Hard!