Controlling the Neck – Revised Information
Originally, I was simply going to describe the various techniques I included in this article.
But to document the location where the techniques should be applied, I decided to look into the anatomical structures these techniques were working against. I was using the experience and material I’ve garnered over the past 25 years. Well I’m now prepared to say, I was wrong about much of it. The problem of an untrained person trying to interpret medical information.
Initially I had Dr. Paul Harper, a practicing Surgeon, review the neck locations I was describing, and he agreed what I had was substantially correct. Unfortunately I did not review the rest of my assumptions with him first. I have the privilege of having a Surgeon in class. His presence keeps reminding me how little I really know about anatomy, and how much I need to understand before I can make clear statements.
Frankly my material started with Joe Brague grasping my neck and my coming to on a locker room floor at a tournament where he was trying to demonstrate how neck locks could work. His description of a blood choke through the carotid artery made sense to me (after all he did put me down) and this material has been covered in other places, the carotid artery and the Jugular vein are in that location. Likewise I’ve seen claims that those techniques could affect the vagus nerve and that seemed logical to me too.
So, using logic and various sources I tried to explain why these techniques were working. Unfortunately, based on Dr. Harper’s descriptions I am quite sure I was not correct, nor, were the original sources correct either.
Conversationally anything which sounds reasonable can be sold. On the other hand if you don’t actually do the detailed research, or have same done by certified researchers, reasonable doesn’t constitute proof.
Dr. Harper feels the only real player working the sides of the neck is the carotid sinus. This area (as described “Level with the top of the Adams apple, just on the course of the common carotid artery, on the anterior border (back side away from the front) of the sternocleidomastoideus muscle.” Where you have to reach around the sternocleidomastoideus muscle and press into the neck, as the various chokes described, is actually used by Doctor’s to stop a patient’s heart during heart surgery. [Btw, this is also described in Montague and Simpson’s Encyclopedia of Dim Mak.]
Apparently when a heart goes into irregular rhythm during surgery, manipulation of the Carotid Sinus will stop the heart for a few seconds, then releasing the pressure the heart begins to re-beat with its normal rhythm. Dr. Harper says this is most effective if done on both sides. Also BTW, this does not render the patient unconscious when this is done.
On the other hand the vagus nerve is rather deep in the carotid sheath and he feels it very unlikely any manipulation would directly effect it.
Nor will pinching off the Carotid Artery cause a person to black out. Dr. Harper, on occasion, has had to close off the Carotid Artery during surgery, and there are secondary arteries which deliver enough blood to keep somebody awake.
On the other hand, non-ceasing pressure against the Carotid Sinus, stopping the heart, will stop the flow of blood to the brain causing black out.
Likewise the descriptions I gave of Rotating the Neck, affecting the vagus nerve to release one’s control of the body, do not stem from nerve manipulation. Instead almost any pressure, or threat of pressure, causing or implying pain will cause the head to rotate away from that pressure. The body following the head wanting to rotate away from pain causes the corresponding release of control.
Dr. Harper feels there is no nervous structure to explain this, only the pain response. Thus pressure against one side of the body causes a reaction in a different part of the body as the body is trying to escape from the pain.
On a reasonableness check, the aikido training I received from Tris Sutrisno was also based on the locks and throws working from the aspect of pain. Properly executed, there is very sharp pain (or impending pain) and the body throws, or locks itself trying to get away from same. Hence the individual actually throws themselves when you apply the lock.
Then in much more detail Dr. Harper analyzed the neck grabs.
The Eagle Claw is first striking into the larynx causing pain dropping the jaw making it easier to set the fingers into the carotid sinus.
BTW, Dr. Harper also described how the normal movie Sentry removal technique, where the head is pulled back extending the neck really doesn’t allow an easy slice into the carotid artery. Actually that pulls the carotid artery inside the musculature of the neck. The trachea would be sliced, however while eventual death would follow, that individual still may be able to work their gun killing you. Instead he points out that by pushing the head forward (the chin towards the chest) you actually open up the carotid artery making the sentry removal more likely. [This is simply offered as an example of common knowledge being less than optimal.]
In the case of Mr. Harrill’s grabs, with the little finger, or the little finger and the ring finger, are stabilizing the larynx from the front, the spine of course stabilizing the back, and the fingers grasping in from the side with the twisting motion, this grab could easily crush or damage the larynx, if you’re using enough finger strength.
This makes me critically question much of what has been written regarding Sealing the Artery/Vein in the Chin Na texts.
I suspect the real lesson is to never take anything on face value.