Vital Points & Weak Spots - Self-Defense

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Vital Points & Weak Spots - Self-Defense

Self-defense strikes to most areas of the body cause damage. However, strikes to the body parts listed below are considered very dangerous as they can be crippling or deadly. Martial arts students must learn how to defend or avoid strikes to these vital points when under attack.

Strikes to vital points should only be used in life or death situations because a person can severely injure an opponent or training partner. Moreover, these techniques should only be practiced under the careful supervision of a trained martial arts instructor. To avoid injury, many martial arts schools only practice vital point strikes against training dummies (i.e. BOB - Body Opponent Bag).

Martial artists interested in this topic should also visit the wiki's section on pressure points.

Vital Soft Points

  • Eye - A martial artist must guard their eyes from techniques such as the eye rake.
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Front of neck - Trachea + Jugular Notch
  • Side of the neck - Carotid Artery + Vagus Nerve
  • Pectoral tendon
  • Solar Plexus
  • Kidneys
  • Hip flexors
  • Groin - The groin is often targeted via a groin kick.
  • Inside of thigh - Hamstring Tendon + Skin
  • Calf + Achilles Tendon

Vital Hard Points

  • Temple
  • Zygomatic Arch
  • Atlas
  • Jaw
  • Clavicle
  • False + Floating Ribs
  • Elbow - Elbows can be targeted with arm bars, joint locks, etc.
  • Fingers
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Knee
  • Shin nerves
  • Foot +Toes


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