Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Vital Point Bunkai Test

Many times martial applications are developed based on how it could work and not based on how it could fail. It's very easy to develop interpretations on a best case scenario basis. There are so many different scenarios that can play out that it's easy to find one where your five step wrist lock of death analysis fits and puts an enemy on their butt, however, we not only need to know when a technique will work, but more importantly how it can fail and fail hard. A way to test this is by knowing your vital points.

Vital points work both ways and there are several that require almost no power generation or skill to damage and are severely debilitating. These points are the ears, eyes, throat and where the base of the skull and neck meet (we'll call it C1 from here on out).

A cupped-hand slap to the ear can cause permanent deafness and loss of balance. A finger in the eye can obviously cause severe pain and blindness. Any strike to the neck including a nukite can close a windpipe or cut off blood flow. A strike to the C1 vertebrae can cause death with only the momentum of the arm.

These are the baseline vital points that need to be defended and denied access while performing a technique. If your bunkai allows easy access to these vital points than it fails and should either be modified to meet this criteria or abandoned.

With this in mind, it's easy to see why many preparatory uke positions begin with one hand or the other up by your ear with the forearm blocking your neck. It's a smart standard operating procedure.