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The controversial area of martial arts which deals with disrupting the chi, or energy, of another person. Also known ominously as the death touch. This power could be used to help or to harm, and many deny its very existence! Only those who learn to master and control their chi can administer dim mak. It is similar to acupuncture in that points on the body have to be struck with great precision. Some believe that it has the power to kill a human.

The offensive art of dim mak is little more than a myth, it has never been proven to exist, yet there has been acts which are rather difficult to explain. This grey area can usually be attributed to extraordinary prowess in the martial arts, in particular, the soft styles of kung fu, such as the crane, praying mantis and drunken boxing, as opposed to direct, brute force styles, such as the tiger or the monkey. One can blame the existence of this myth on the American craze with ninjas in the 80's, and the obsession with Eastern martial arts.

The Touch of Death does not exist, that far has been proven. Rather, these instances of "instant death blows" can be explained by inhuman accuracy in the dealing of heavy blows to exposed nerve centers of the body. The temples, the back of the head, soft parts of the neck, etc. In other words, it has nothing to do with body energy or qi, but rather a mastery of the martial arts. Styles that emphasize force such as the Tiger can kill someone just as surely as the Crane style, it just takes a bit longer to bludgeon someone to death than one, single deadly blow to vulnerable areas. I suspect there must be luck involved, no skilled martial artist would allow his vulnerabilities to be exposed for a single instant, never mind long enough for a strike to contact.

As for the beneficial aspects of dim mak, it already exists in the form of Chinese massage and other therapies based on the manipulation of nerves and qi. Practitioners would gouge their fingers into sensitive nerve spots around the body, causing immense amounts of pain (I know because I've sat through it), but afterwards one would feel much more refreshed, full of vitality. I don't know how it works, but it has something to do with qi, nerve centers, and body balance.

Dim Mak is a Cantonese pronunciation of the characters for pressing/blocking and vein/artery. The 'Mak' can also refer to a Qi/Chi channel. These techniques are a sub-set of Qin Na that cause fainting, dizziness, blindness, paralysis, or death by striking nerve plexi, sealing arteries, or by blocking Chi flow.

I bring this information because it's important to note that this is not a "mystical art" and it is surely not Jean-Claude Van Damme destroying the "bottom brick" in Bloodsport. Dim Mak is a very real part of every martial art that shares the features or ancestry of Chinese fighting styles. If you are in a bar fight and someone grabs you in the soft tissue of your elbow you are now the proud victim of Dim Mak; You aren't going to die, this is no "touch of death", but you are going to be in pain, possibly debilitated from the pressing on joint, nerve, and artery. Hopefully the pain doesn't distract you because distraction leaves you open to all kinds of abuse.

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