Karate Chop Touted as Deadly Strike, But it Is Not!
Karate chop him, screamed the actress, and I had to stifle a grin. This was a cinematic effort where neither the actor, the writer, the director knew anything about the real martial arts. They were like those people back in the fifties who used to think that a karate chop to the neck would kill people in their tracks.
When I first began studying the art of Chinese Kenpo Karate I was told that a spear hand strike to the solar plexus or the neck was the deadliest martial arts attack one could deliver. Just stick those steel hard fingers in the soft areas and watch your opponent die. A spear hand was supposed to be better than a karate chop, but only by a little.
Then I heard about the Dim Muk strike, or what is referred to as The Death Touch. You tap a villain on a special spot on their body and they drop dead. Of course, it would take a couple of decades to master the Chi Power necessary, learn all the pressure points and times they were vulnerable to strikes, and by that time I’d be ancient and too slow to deliver such an attack.
One day a student was walking past my Karate instructor holding a piece of thin particle board. He stopped, grinned, and held the board out. Break this, he challenged my instructor.
My instructor’s name was Bob Babich, and he was a thin fellow with stringy muscles. Given the target, he sunk his weight, pivoted his hips, and snapped a single finger. A single finger, and when he brought it back, he had left a nice, neat, little hole in the particle board.
Many people think I am telling fairy tales when I relate them this story, but the fact is that the single finger trick could be done by no less than fifty people on Taiwan back in the 1950s. Many kung Fu masters from across China had sought refuge in that little nation to escape communism, and many were able to do this rather unique strike. Unfortunately, there were not enough students willing to undergo the training necessary to such a feat, there weren’t as many people to draw from as in China, and the single finger trick has pretty well died out.
Interestingly, one of the fellows who nibbled at the single finger trick was Bruce Lee. He could stick a finger in a soda (beer) can and leave a hole, and this was back in the day when cans were made of real metal and not this cheap aluminum stuff. This was good, and one wonders whether he would have mastered the single finger trick if he had lived longer.
At any rate, when students ask me what the deadliest karate trick in the world is I tell them about the single finger technique. It is not a made up fable, it is the result of real and dedicated training in arts such as karate, kung fu, or any other legitimate martial art that has stood the test of time. And, as for the karate chop, that is a good karate technique, but it is only the first step on a much more real journey.