Brachial PlexusBrachial Plexus

For decades the martial arts and law enforcement agencies have be using the term "Brachial Plexus" to describe or label a strike to the side of the neck. It is used to stun an opponent or perpetrator so that further control or escalation of force is, more easily applied.

However there are many factors that must be explained and many misconceptions cleared about this target area and term "Brachial Stun" and the concerns each should have about this striking method. And we would like to offer a safer method as well as correct anatomical understanding.

First and foremost the Brachial Plexus is very deep in the body and virtually inaccessible with the bare hand... from striking in the neck there is also too much muscle in front of it... you can reach it from the hollow behind the collar bone, but not without a highly trained hand weapon or actual weapon.  The actual weapon will also remove this from being a legal target to totally illegal for law enforcement and ourselves.  And there are other targets easier to access and safer as well.

So we look at the area in question and ask a few questions:

  1. What are we actually targeting?
  2. How do we target it?
  3. What are the health implications?
  4. When can we best use it?
  5. How can we do this safely?

OK the podcast below should explain it all, but for a written explanation look below the film (this can be automatically translated into many languages using translate tab above).  This stemmed from a question on the from Craig:

Hey Evan, just doing some reading and had a question about the brachial plexus we worked sat. In the anatomy book it looks like the cervical plexus, no? Either way was there an exact nerve we were targeting? Supraclavicular, phrenic? Or any where in the posterior triangle?  I know the band goes around the neck an pretty much striking the side of the neck you will most likely hit a nerve and have effect. Just wanted the specifics , if it applies.  Thanks!



  • We see that the Brachial Plexus is too deep and that the target has been mis-named over time.
  • The Side of the neck when struck straight in may cause damage to the cervical vertebrae and cause severe problems:
    • Damages vertebrae
    • Cessation of breath
    • Para or Quadriplegic injury
    • Compression of carotid sinus
      • Loss of blood flow to brain
      • Possible initiation of stroke
      • Severe drop in blood pressure.
  • The better target is the more superficial nerve called the Great Auricular Nerve (most Kyusho practitioners call this LI-18).
  • This is not the Phrenic Nerve (that is too deep as is the Vagus Nerve or Cervical Plexus)

What will be crucial is to use the correct target of course, but also the tool and trajectory.

  • The target is not an acupuncture point, it is a rather large section of superficial nerve.
  • The best tools are a small bony knuckle as at the heel of the palm... also the iron bone hand or bushiken.  The forearm could do the same but will need more force as the weapon is a larger structure and will be prone to access more surface area not transferring the kinetic energy into the nerve, spine and brain as described in the film.
  • The trajectory is the crucial part... it is nt simply angle or direction,it is also how deep you take that and how well you penetrate in a kinetic sense.

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