Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Demystifying Death Touch: Ninjitshu Vs Kung Fu (死亡之触)

The mysterious ‘death touch’ has been interests of many kung fu fans in the east and the west. People are fascinated by the heroes in either Jet Lee or Jacky Chan kung fu movies or in the western style movies about ninjas. There are very little truth in all of those action movies about ‘death touch’ and most of those fascinated techniques and effects are no more than exaggerations meant to boost ticket sales.

If so-called ‘death touch’ is so lethal, then most of the world leaders would  had been killed by one of those martial arts exponents out there. The fact is that most of those leaders we love to hate still sitting comfortably in their seats better than before.

Anyone who has some kind of acupuncture training can cause harm to a person as he/she would know that a person’s weak points would be along his/her spinal cord, head, neck, joints etc. Navy seals as depicted in movies like to break one’s neck would be another feasible technique of death touch too.

Since we are in the topic of teach touch in ninjitshu vs kung fu, let’s see what their differences if any are. Perhaps I would start with the well familiar kung fu first:

In Chinese kung fu, death touch is normally administered through an exponent’s finger tips, namely the index, middle and thumb. The sources of the strength are first at the wrists and the waist. So in Chinese martial art may be you have already noticed, people would make horse stand (马步) and holding a jar of oil or some kind of weights with their fingers for as long as they could.

After about 3 years or so, the person’s fingers would be so tough that he/she can pulverize a piece of small pebbles with just three fingers. At this point, any flesh and blood under those fingers would be just like tofu figuratively speaking.

The Japanese ninjitshu is said to be originated from China and hence the techniques are somehow resemble the kung fu but with a twist. Same as with kung fu practitioner, a ninja similarly values the strength of his fingers because this ninja needs to grip and hang himself on tree branches or even house beams. Unlike the Chinese counterparts, a ninja puts much attention to how he would stand.

A ninja is trained to travel long distance and stand for a long time, so the weight of a ninja is on his thighs and he seldom stand straight like others. With the center of gravity on thighs, a ninja can swift the center of gravity swiftly hence he can move about quicker than a kung fu exponent.

The difference between kung fu exponent and ninja is that a ninja is never trained to be a tough fighter; perhaps it is best to describe a ninja as a cat. So in ninjitshu, an opponent is best to be killed by his/her own strength. This is similar to the Taiji boxing (太极拳) that uses ‘4 ounce for 1000 pounds’ (四两拨千斤) technique.

The theory is simple:

If an opponent has a strike of 150 pounds but a ninja has only 100 pounds, if this opponent’s strength can be used to the ninja’s advantage; then with only 100 pounds of force the person can be put down as soon as he/she strikes.

In order to use the opponent’s strength, the ninja must be very quick in perceiving the striking distance of his opponent’s fist; and the ninja only needs to move his body 1 inch, the opponent’s strike would be in void and he would lose balance. It is this time that the life of this opponent is at stake because by applying only a light punch to the opponent’s face, this poor guy would suffer a 250 pound force on his face within a distance of only 1 inch!

Of course, this type of action is very hard to be observed by third party as it only happened in a split of a second within 1 inch. In this way, a ninja need not spend too much time and effort engaging in lengthy combat.

The so-called death touch technique is also being used in Taiji boxing but it is mostly forgotten. 

In Chinese term:

“Making opponent force void.”

I would lament that this death touch technique originated from China but flourishes in Japan, now that even the local kung fu exponents have forgotten their own techniques and resort to flowery stances. No wonder I heard of an incident that a Western boxer can knock a Shaolin monk out cold with just one punch. That is indeed something for us to ponder about… Hahaha!

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