Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Our face is the window to the world. Our head is the top of our body and leads us where we need to go. Our mind is what keeps us focused and on point.
Thus it should come as no surprise that when we talk about weak points of the body, there are many that are located around and about the face. Many of these points in combat focus on disabling our abilities to see, lead, and think.
Top of the head: Often referred to as the “crown shakra” in many arts and yoga, the top of the head is a vulnerable place of the body. It is the last area of the skull to form after we are born and thus the weakest in terms of structure. A heavy blow to any region in this area can start an internal chain reaction of bleeding that can pressurize the brain and cause concussion or death. This impact can result in long-term damage that is often not noticed immediately. It’s what doctors often refer to as shocks to the brain and can come from any major impact to the skull area. This is why many competitions have strict rules around attacking the head/skull region of the opponent.
Temples: Located along the sides of the forehead, behind the eyes. The temples are a common weak point of the body and a major pressure point. When we feel headaches, often they are located or associated with the temples. Thus a common technique to relieve that headache is to rub the temple area. Likewise, a strike to this area can cause a person to blackout.
Eyes: It should be no surprise that for many people, the lack of ability to see often renders them immobile. The eyes are a very soft organ protected only by the eye socket. Attacks to the eyes can render the opponent blind and cause a great deal of pain from the pressure that is applied to the delicate nerves behind the eye.
Bridge of the nose: Many fighters go through life with many a broken noses. While not as “deadly” as some of the other attacks, a properly placed strike to the bridge of the nose can stun an opponent long enough to get away. The soft cartilage of the nose is easily damaged and the resulting effect is often more bloody than harmful.
Ears: The ears are responsible for the balance of the body. By disturbing the natural function of the ears, you can set your opponent off balance. The ear is very sensitive to changes in pressure, such as what we see when going up in an airplane. Thus, it should be no surprise that to effect the ears, one doesn’t even need to actually hit the opponent. A strong enough motion or strike that lands just before the ear can also set the equilibrium of the body off.
Ridge of the chin: The ridge between the ear and the chin are filled with vital pressure points that link the head to the rest of the body. Pressure applied to the jawbone with the palm of the hand can actually alter or guide the opponent to whatever direction desired.
Because there are so many weak points in the human body in the face, most every form of Martial Arts trains one to guard the head as a vital region of the body. A successful strike to the face can often result in an immediate loss and longer term damage. Most full-contact Martial Arts will stress additional safety in the form of head gear which protects some of these vital regions.