Kyusho Translates as the Vital Point
The Vital Point of all is Protection, be it in health, wellness, fitness, disease, bodily harm or even fiscal danger.
Karate Kata (slight divergence)
When looking at the Martial Side, we see many styles performing what is know as a Kata or series of them. Kata (型) translates as a pattern of actions or "Little Story" that is to be repeated consistently and daily.
Thought to be originated by the Indian Monk Bodhidharma or Da Mo in Chinese, who crossed from the mountains of India into China around the 5th century. He brought with him the practice of Buddhism and a series of exercises to the Shaolin Monastary. There he taught a series of physical exercises (the firt of Martial Forms)and an internal practice called the Sinew Metamorphosis Classic. Upon his departure from the temple, he left two manuscripts: the Yi Jin Jing and the Xisui Jing. Copies and translations of the Yijin Jing survive to the modern day. (Xisui Jing has been lost). These exercises morphed into more modern "Kata" adaptations such as; Sanchin, Nai Han Chi, Seiunchin and so many others.
Back to Kyusho
These Katas all had a "Vital Point" of Protection... not just on the basis of fighting, but even deeper into the anatomy, physiology and functionality of the human. As example there is a concentration on body rotations that serve to protect the health and fitness of the practitioner. All the actions of stepping, turning, extending, contracting, rising and dropping all serve further purpose of strengthening all the bodies components and functions.
As further example, we look at the simple action of twisting the torso and correlating it to the chart to the right... it stimulates the nerves of the spine that correlate to the specific organs. Not only does it stimulate and increase the spinal nerve transmissions to the organs, but the organs themselves are also massaged which helps all body functions,especially digestion and elimination.
The further actions of the Kata help to cleanse the lymphatic system that do not have a pumping action of their own to rid your body toxins, they require physical movement to press and release pressure on the nodes, especially around the neck,shoulders, inguinal creases (known as Qua in Chinese), the knees and ankles.
The Kata also strengthens your balance, dexterity, flexibility, brain functions and your stability (all fading functions as we age). But that's not all, the actions also strengthen the muscles, fascia, tendons which in turn strengthen the bones. We are protecting ourselves from the ravages of time and aging all as we study the art or self defense.
Knowing how these Kata use your vital functions such as nerve, blood, organ and the rest,we also gain a better understanding of how to use them against a physical assailant. You will realize their strengths and weaknesses especially. These targets are protected by nature and body structure, but the actions in the Kata depict the actions needed to access the internal and vital structures and functions of the opponent.
This is not what is commonly referred to as "Pressure Points", but it is not the working mechanism of Kyusho. Pressure Points are manipulations of the bodies Fascia, which will be discussed at a later time.
Not all Karate or Kata are the same
This information was handed down through the ages by the founders of the particular styles. They documented them in their books, scrolls and precepts. However as time passed only those special students received the training and therefore the knowledge and art has faded away in most styles. Most instructors therefore do not know the method of Kyusho, nor were they taught it or wish to learn it as it requires more research and training.
The deeper Bubishi keys are "hidden in plain sight"