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Pressure Points and Martial Arts

Taekwondo takes time to master

Martial arts use several techniques that utilize certain points in the human body and are commonly known as pressure points. The knowledge of pressure points was available to several ancient civilizations of the world. Additionally, it was also known that the midline of the body contained the most vital pressure points.

The pressure points can be used:

—to heal

—to hurt


Energy flows through channels, which are also known as meridians. Sometimes, the energy gets blocked. To clear the blockage, the pressure points are either pressed, rubbed, punctured, hit, or activated.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is largely based on the rationale of the pressure points and utilizes the methods of accupressure and accupuncture to access these pressure points. More than four hundred acupuncture points are used, located on meridians, which run throughout the body and transport “qi” or “chi” or “prana”.

System of main meridians with acupuncture point locations.

Image Source and Attribution: By KVDP – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8989443

UNESCO video “Acupuncture and moxibustion of traditional Chinese medicine”:

UMMCVideos video “Acupressure for Family and Friends”:

Cleveland Clinic video “Acupressure for Stress”:

Qigong Meditation video “PRESS THESE 3 POINTS DAILY For A Healthy and Happy Life | Qigong Basic Acupressure Daily”:

Goodful video “7 Pressure Points To Relieve Your Headache”:

There are many other medical systems of the world that use these pressure points in different ways to heal the human body.


Martial art, being essentially a fighting art, utilizes the pressure points to hurt the opponent, in different degrees, to stun, paralyze, or to inflict major damage to the opponent. For example, in the Korean martial art of Taekwon-Do, the pressure points also known as vital spots (kupso), are identified as given below.

Taekwon-Do vital spots (kupso)

“Vital spot in Taekwon-Do is defined as any sensitive or breakable area on the body vulnerable to an attack. It is essential that a student of Taekwon-Do has a knowledge of the different spots so that he can use the proper attacking or blocking tool. Indiscriminate attack is to be condemned as it is inefficient and wasteful of energy.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, Vol.2, p.88)

section of the body – mom dungboon
—high section – nopun boobun
—middle section – kaundye boobun
—low section – najun boobun

skull – dae sin moon
temple – gwanja nori
bridge of the nose – migan
eyeball – angoo
mastrid – hoo-i-boo
mandibula – tok gwanjol
philtrum – injoong
jaw – yop tok
point of the chin – mit tok
lips – ipsul
angle of the mandible – wit tok
upper neck – witmok
adam’s apple – gyol hoo
windpipe – soom tong
clavicle – swe gol
thenar – umjigoo
radical artery – maekbak sonmok dongmaek
back wrist artery – dung sonmok dongmaek
wrist joint – sonmok gwanjol
shoulder joint – eukke gwanjol
nose – kotdung
neck artery – mok dongmaek
sternum – hyung gol
heart – shim jang
solar plexus – myong chi
spleen – bi jang
liver – gan jang
epigastrium – sang bokboo
umbilicus – baekkob
lower abdomen – ha bokboo
pubic region – chiboo
groin – sataguni
scrotum – nang shim
instep – baldung
occiput – hoodoo
cervix – gyong boo
upper back – gyon gap
small of the back – gyong chu
kidney – kongpat
coccyx – migol
fossa – ogum
Achilles tendon – dwichuk himjool
ankle joint – balmok gwanjol
elbow joint – palgup gwanjol
armpit – gyodurang
floating ribs – nuk gol
knee joint – murup gwanjol
inner thigh – anjok hobok dari
tibia – kyong gol

Howcast video “Self-Defense Pressure Points | Self-Defense”:

Other martial arts have also likewise identified several pressure points in the body.


Tesshin ryū Dojo video “Bujinkan Takagi Yoshin Ryu Kyusho”:

Varma Kalai

eHowSports video “Varma Kalai Techniques : Athletic Training & Martial Arts”:


useracaunt video “Scott Rogers Authentic Pressure Point – Volume 1: Fundamentals of Pressure Points: Arms and Set Ups”:

Krav Maga

KRAV MAGA TRAINING video “KRAV MAGA TRAINING • Knockout Pressure Points (part 1 of 5)”:

Kung Fu

kuro-obi world video “Attack the Pressure points in human body! Tamotsu Miyahira’s Kung-fu.”:


KobayashiDojo video “Atemi and Pressure Points in Aikido”:


kuro-obi world video “Finger is a weapon of Okinawa Karate【Morio Higaonna】”:

Wing Chun

Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu video “Grandmaster William Cheung Pressure Point Striking Seminar Day 1”:

Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu video “Grandmaster William Cheung Pressure Point Striking Seminar Day 2”:


The same pressure point can be used to heal or to hurt. For example, the pressure point on the forehead between the eyebrows, also known as the third eye, can be gently pressed to calm the mind and gain concentration, or it can be violently struck to result in severe damage. Martial artists may learn both the healing way and the hurting way; nonetheless, the usage of the learning should be employed responsibly and with extreme caution.


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