Karate - Budo  
  The key features and principles for understanding karate  


  >> Stage karaté Vincenzo Figuccio 19-21 mai - Belgique english français
A Selection of Sensitive or Dangerous Spots
  Styles of karate
  Aims of karate
  Kihon, kata, kumite
  Physical principes
  Aggression and stress
  Kumite in pratice
  Dangerous spots
  Japan, Buddhism & Zen
  Karate and emptiness
  The book
    Shotokan kata
    Shitoryu kata
    Goju-ryu kata
    Takedown & MMA
    Physical training



All these points must be avoided during training or in competitions. Nevertheless, it is important to bear them in mind and work on them with perfect control, as they may be useful when faced with a stronger adversary in a real self-defence situation.


Eyes: the primary aim is to blind the opponent, even if for only a few seconds, in order to launch attacks. But beware: strong pressure on the eyeballs can cause irreversible damage as well as a drop in heart rate and blood pressure.

Temples: the squamous part of the temple is the thinnest bone in the skull. A perpendicular strike can result in a depressed fracture of the skull.

Nose: the bones in the nose are relatively thin and are only attached to the skull by their rear edges. A perpendicular strike to the nasal bones causes a sharp pain and often results in a fracture accompanied by a disabling nosebleed for the remainder of the fight.

Tip of the chin: a circular strike (e.g. mawashi geri or mawashi tsuki) to the tip of the chin causes a rapid rotation of the head. The brain, located inside the cranium, has a certain inertia and is struck by the skull bones. This concussion of the brain can lead to a loss of consciousness, a subdural hematoma by pulling the vessels at the periphery of the brain or an intraparenchymal haemorrhage

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2. Neck

Mandibular angle region: upward pressure on the submandibular angle or horizontal pressure between the ear lobe and the bottom of the ascending branch of the mandible causes discomfort, probably through pressure on the pharynx and the branches of the facial nerve.

At the submandibular angle we find the carotid bifurcation with its glomus, a kind of baroreceptor that measures arterial pressure. A strong impact or strong bilateral pressure on the glomus (using a blood choke) is incorrectly interpreted as a rise in blood pressure. This results in a reflex drop in heart rate and blood pressure.
Secondarily, brain hypoperfusion results in a loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, this can result in a heart attack.

Larynx and trachea: impact, simple pressure simple or constriction cause discomfort and breathing difficulties. Be careful: increased pressure on the anterior surface of the trachea or larynx can cause severe damage or even choking.

Nape: pressure applied with the distal end of two or three fingers on the middle and upper part of the nape just under the occipital bone causes pain by compressing the ligamentous structures between the spinous processes. This pressure often helps to control the opponent before striking a blow or carrying out a throw.

Neck lock: if you apply one hand to your opponent’s chin and the other to the back of the skull, you can twist the head by applying pressure to the right on the chin and by pulling to the left on the back of the skull. This highly dangerous manoeuvre may cause serious damage to the cervical spine: ligament tears, disc lesions and vertebral dislocations and, secondarily, damage to the spinal cord.

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3. Thorax

Ribs: the muscles give little protection to the ribs in the dorsal and lateral portion. The last, thinner ribs, which are not attached anteriorly to the sternum, are particularly sensitive. A perpendicular strike at a tangent to the costal margin can easily cause a fracture. If it is accompanied by a displacement of the bone fragments, the latter may injure the pleura and / or the lung, thereby resulting in a hemothorax, pneumothorax or pulmonary contusion.

Trapezius: the upper edge of the trapezius muscle is easily accessible. Pressure applied with one or two fingers or a pinch here causes a sharp pain.

Breast: a strike to a woman’s breasts can be painful, especially during the second half of the menstrual cycle. In both men and women, biting or pinching whilst twisting the nipples causes sharp pain. These simple manoeuvres may be helpful for disposing of an assailant who tries to immobilise you on the ground or against a wall.

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4. Abdomen

Hypochondria: a strike to the hypochondria can cause a broken rib or bleeding in the underlying organs, namely the liver on the right and the spleen on the left.

Solar plexus: the solar plexus is a nerve network located in front of the lumbar spine level with the upper abdomen. A slight upward strike here causes temporary breathing difficulties, the pathophysiology of which is unclear. It could be due to a compression of the solar plexus or diaphragm.

Flanks: the umbilical region and the hypogastric region are protected at the front by a powerful muscle: the rectus. By contrast, on the flanks the protection is slender, consisting of three thin muscles: the transverse, external and internal oblique muscles. A strike to a flank will, therefore, result in more significant depression and pain.

Lumbar region: the left and right lumber regions are located in the angle defined by the medial gutter muscles (large paravertebral muscle mass) and the lower ribs. This area is protected only by thin muscles that can be easily depressed. The kidneys are found here. Consequently, a blow to the lumbar region can cause a renal haemorrhage.

Scrotum: an upward blow to the scrotum causes sharp pain or scrotal and / or testicular hematoma.

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5. Lower limbs

The groin: this is a frontal region between the abdomen and thigh traversed by the femoral vessels, femoral nerve and, in men, by a cord that contains the testicular vascular pedicle and the vas deferens. A strike to this region may be painful, probably due to the presence of the femoral nerve and genitofemoral nerve.
Centre of the buttocks: the sciatic nerve becomes more superficial and thus more accessible to a strike.

Knees: an internal or external lateral strike and an anteroposterior strike to the knee may cause disabling ligament lesions (lateral and cruciate ligaments) and sometimes even a fracture.Tibia: the inner face of the tibial shaft is subcutaneous. The periosteum, the peripheral portion of the bone, is especially sensitive. As a result, a perpendicular strike in this area can cause a sharp pain. A fracture is, of course, possible; however, it requires a substantial force in view of the diameter of the bone and its strength. We should remember that the force is all the
more effective when its trajectory is close to being perpendicular to the long axis of the diaphysis, as the bone structure is weaker in this direction.

Ankles: a lateral and crushing strike (such as fumikomi) on the distal end of the fibula is painful and likely to cause a fracture or ligament injury.
Metatarsals and toes: a crushing strike with the heel in a direction perpendicular to the shaft of the metatarsals and phalanges may cause severe pain or a fracture, especially if the foot is placed on the ground.

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6. Upper limbs

Shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger locks. Locks can be performed on all limb joints. It is simply a question of applying a force that is greater than the joint’s capacity for extension or flexion. Pressure is exerted on or near the joint, with a second pressure applied in the opposite direction, away from the joint, to create maximum leverage. This manoeuvre may result in a torn ligament, a dislocation and sometimes a fracture.

Deltopectoral groove: a slight upward pressure on the external side of the deltopectoral groove causes a painful compression of the distal end of the clavicle.

The median nerve can be compressed at various points: the bottom third of the inside groove between the biceps and brachialis on the inner side of the front face of the elbow (near the brachial artery) and on the median part of the front face of the wrist.

The radial nerve becomes superficial on the outer edge of the biceps muscle a few centimetres above the elbow crease and superficially downwards to the outer side of the front face of the elbow. Pressure applied to these two areas can result in sharp pain.

Inner olecranon gutter: located on the inner, rear side of the elbow, an impact here causes a sharp pain by compressing the ulnar nerve.

Metacarpals and fingers: a strike in a direction perpendicular to the shaft of the metacarpals or phalanges causes a pain that can be useful for extricating yourself from a hold or for dissuading your assailant from mounting a new attack. A fracture is possible, especially if the hand cannot move backwards when it is struck.

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