Yonkyo: Part 2, Exposing the Nerve
I am sorry about the delay in posting this in timely manner. I had started working on it last week when promised but it was even boring to me so I deleted everything I wrote over the weekend. I have been traveling on business the first four days of this week so I haven't had a chance to write. I will try to keep this short and as non-boring as possible.
Disclaimer #1: I am not an M.D. nor an anatomy expert, the following piece is written from the point of an anatomy user not an anatomy authority. To those that are anatomy experts please realize this piece covers a general concept that works. Some of the scientific reasoning may not be exact so please don't hammer away, although please add any insightful comments.
When we stand at rest without any outside influence our body is designed to give a degree of protection to each of our systems, the more vital the system the more protection. As we move this protection may be affected or weakened due to various stresses placed on the body.
The nervous system is surely a vital system, although by it's very nature it is present though out our bodies, thereby being vulnerable in many places. With regards to yonkyo there are a number of different nerves that can be worked or even tendons (which contain nerve endings). Please look at the articles contained in the web address that Jun provided above. I found these articles to be interesting and they contain great diagrams of the arm.
These nerves and tendons in the arm are protected to some degree by the skin, fasciae, muscle and soft tissue surrounding them. This surrounding tissue provides some degree of cushion, or perhaps slack is a better work, to lessen any penetrating force. This slack created by the surrounding tissue is enough to reduce the success rate of yonkyo (the nerve pain portion at least).
Disclaimer #2: The following information will only help those that are using kuzushi properly, maintaining proper posture and body mechanics. This information will not correct or replace any errors of the above elements, it will only help those that already are moving correctly, i.e. if you can't get it to work it is most likely because you have fundamental issues that need to be addressed first.
The question is now how best to deal with the slack in the soft tissue to enhance our opportunity for success with the given technique. I would like everyone reading this to take their right arm and place it in front of themselves, parallel to their body and lightly grab their right forearm with their left hand. I said lightly so loosen that grip until there is compression only on the skin. The compression should not even affect the fasciae directly under the skin….well maybe a tiny bit is ok. Now I want you to run two tests from this start position:
1) Squeeze down firmly in the manner described in my earlier post. Drive the third knuckle of your forefinger into the soft tissue as far as you can. Do this slowly and concentrate on the feeling in your arm directly under your knuckle and also note the feeling in the surrounding tissue for a couple inches. Do you feel the slack in the skin and soft tissue slowly tighten up? Do you feel the soft tissue from a couple inches away slowly being stretched and tightening up? All of this reduction in slack is absorbing the energy of your squeeze and reducing the amount of pressure placed on the nerve or tendon. This, my friends is not good.
2) Return to the initial start position described above. Remember apply very light pressure. Now slowly rotate your hand around your arm. Note your entire palm should be in contact with your forearm so when you rotate you will be affecting a large area of skin. Since the skin is connect to the other soft tissue below you will also be affecting that tissue. Note the feeling in the skin directly below your palm and the surrounding skin. Feel how the slack is being taken out of the soft tissue directly under you palm and around your hand. How far can you rotate you hand around your forearm before all the slack is removed? Now squeeze as described above. Note the difference from test number 1. With the slack already removed a much greater portion of your pressure is directed inwards towards your final target and less of it is absorbed by the surrounding tissue. This, my friends is good.
Some of you have undoubtedly already figured out how to use this information to your advantage for yonkyo, however I will spell it out in case there are any slow people like myself in the audience. When doing yonkyo, or just about any nerve technique or choke, one needs to remove the tissue slack prior to applying pressure for maximum affect. In order to do this one must grab slightly off the desired target they wish to affect, then rotate the soft tissue to remove the slack. As the slack is removed by rotating the hand will arrive on target and pressure is applied. This method results in less energy being absorbed by soft protective tissue and more being applied to the desired target. The old phrase ‘Work smarter, not harder' applies.
Hopefully this will help some of you and for those that still can't get it to work on a regular basis look at disclaimer number 2 again. Your answer probably lies there. Take care.
ps. If you found this long and boring you should have seen the crap I was writing last week. Ewwwheee it was boring.