Dim Mak

Yesterday I had the honor of training with Shifu John Fanning and his team, in the art of Dim Mak. Normally, when I think of Dim Mak, I think of some poorly edited movie from Hong Kong whereby one person inevitably and “miraculously” defeats 22 others and saves the day.

Training with Shifu Fanning changed my opinion. His 50 years in the martial arts, extensive knowledge of Chinese (history, language, culture and of course, martial arts) as well as his incredible skill levels were eye opening.

Dim Mak, most commonly known as “the death touch” consists of a series of 270+ point on the body, whereby if struck at the right angle, with the right force and at a precise time, can cause death.  This was the art taught to the bodyguards of the Emperor (in China) for centuries and one can certainly see the benefit of this art in this context. Today, its application for law enforcement and military are obvious.

In the short 3 hours of training (along with my background in Oriental medicine), it was very clear that this was the real deal. The points were spot on and in the controlled training we did, one had a taste of the devastating effect that the strikes had and potential they could have. Many around the room were left wobbling, a post-strike effect.

As Shifu Fanning was identifying the points (or regions), I was very familiar with all of them as they are acupuncture points. I found it ironic that I used  all of these point in a fashion that is 180 degrees opposite what is being taught; that is, they will just as easily heal someone if used properly of course, as they will kill.

Though I had tremendous respect for Shifu Fanning’s skill and dedication, I was left with mixed feelings about the whole seminar and the art of Dim Mak. For me, it was disturbing to see the degree of viciousness that the art seemed to espouse. There were no “life lessons” or opportunities to better oneself via the martial arts. It was about killing. . .  period.

Despite being a die hard martial artist, I have also spend more than 20 years in the field of natural medicine, with the goal of healing everyone who crossed my path (or at least doing the best I could). The thought of using the same concepts to severely injure, destroy or kill was abrasive to my being.

Though I respect this art, it is not something I would have any interest in pursuing.