You will find a number of martial arts enthusiasts, or people who claim to be, that will tell you the touch of death is real, but so far, it has not been proven to science nor have any reliable witnesses come forth to testify. The touch of death, known popularly by its Chinese name dim mak, cannot be traced very far back. The earliest known references are in the kung fu noves of author Jin Yong published in the 1950s.
The dim mak did not enter popular American culture until the 1980s, but it was whispered of during the popularity of Bruce Lee in the 1970s when it was referred to as the quivering palm. It was after the release of the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie Bloodsport in 1988 when it really began to take off. It has since been identified with the ninja arts, or ninjutsu, although originally, it was thought to have been developed by kung fu monks such as the Shao Lin.
In the 1990s, some martial artist entrepreneurs began to espouse the reality of the ninja death touch by selling books and videos that could supposedly be used to learn the technique. Despite the popularity of this ultimate move, nearly all experts in the martial arts will tell you it is not real. However, a few will tell you it is real, but only a handful of people have mastered it throughout history because it takes a focus of concentration that is unattainable by most people.
While the dim mak is probably not real, it is based on real techniques. The dim mak is supposed to be a technique that uses pressure points or the body’s meridians to cause one of three eventualities: instant incapacitation, instant death or delayed death. The martial artist using the technique must focus his or her vital energy, or chi, while striking a combination of pressure points either simultaneously or in succession.
Medical science has not been able to verify the death touch, but it does concede that people can die from relatively light strikes in the right places. One such phenomenon is called commotio cordis, or cardiac concussion. This is when someone is struck in the chest and they die instantly. It has happened by being struck by a baseball, a hockey puck or a fist. In one incident, a 44 year-old teacher died when she was elbowed in the chest trying to break up a school fight. Doctors estimate that the average speed of the striking object is only about 30 mph. Experiments say that this type of accident occurs when someone is struck at just the right moment in the heartbeat cycle. The window when this can occur is only a maximum of 20 milliseconds.
Posted 603 day ago