Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

June 11th, 2006

From Kyoshi Baker, Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo

Target: solar plexus

Our three primary frontal targets - nose, solar plexus, and groin - are all
located on the midline of the body. They are each 1) convenient - the midline
is the easiest to hit during a moving, dynamic fight (and a near-miss will
still usually impact the lateral area of the same body part), and 2) neither
bodybuilding muscle nor body fat amass at these three points which could
safeguard
them from attack.

Of the three, the most popular one in our kata, the solar plexus, is ideal in
it's own right because 1) its height is within reach even if the person is
much taller or much shorter than we are, and 2) it is more difficult for our
opponent to body shift it out of the way, to avoid our attack, than is the head.

The solar plexus (also called the celiac plexus or c?liac plexus or
epigastric plexus), in addition to being located on the midline when viewed from
the
front, is also located in the center when viewed from the side. (Halfway between
the front and back.)

You can reference the Gray's Anatomy book for this information, or find it
online at http://bartleby.com/107 or http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray.

Therefore, it is approximately five inches behind and slightly below the
xiphoid process of an adult male. Consequently, for a technique at the solar
plexus to be effective, we must get the shockwave of our attack as deep into the
body as possible. (Our fist won't actually reach the nerve center of course, but
the force of our technique must.)

See http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/illustrations/figure?id=838 for
the location of the solar plexus (again, sometimes listed as "celiac plexus.")

To understand the effect of an attack on the solar plexus, you can view
http://education.yahoo.com/reference/gray/illustrations/figure?id=839, which
shows
the various organs that are controlled through it. In addition to those
listed, the diaphragm, which controls our breathing, is located directly above
it.
Note too that the smaller nerve centers in the torso are closely connected to
the solar plexus and therefore affected as well.

Related to trauma to the solar plexus, there are several stories of
accidental deaths that have occurred from strikes to the chest, such as youths
being
struck by baseballs or other objects, and a Medford, MA cheerleader who died
when she hit the ground with her chest, was conscious at first, mistakenly
thinking that she merely had had the wind knocked out of her.

So the solar plexus is an excellent target. This nerve center controls the
cardiorespiratory system.

1) A strike here is extremely painful and can temporarily stop one's
breathing. 2) A powerful strike can cause unconsciousness from neurological
shock to
the autonomic muscle, the diaphragm, that produces our breathing; from
neurological shock to the nearby organs; as well as by slowing the heart's
functioning
by constricting the blood flow in the body's largest vein, the inferior vena
cava, from the body back into the heart's right atrium. 3) And a penetrating
blow can, in addition, damage the integrity of the internal organs themselves.

You just have to hit hard, through the xiphoid process at that slightly
downward angle that Hanshi describes ("bead of oil") at
http://www.shorinryu.com/tec.library/t081098.htm, and deep: always accelerating
through the point of
contact.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi David Baker


From Columbia University Press:
http://www.answers.com/topic/solar-plexus
"solar plexus: dense cluster of nerve cells and supporting tissue, located
behind the stomach in the region of the celiac artery just below the diaphragm.
It is also known as the celiac plexus. Rich in ganglia and interconnected
neurons, the solar plexus is the largest autonomic nerve center in the abdominal
cavity (see nervous system). Through branches it controls many vital functions
such as adrenal secretion and intestinal contraction. Popularly, the term
"solar plexus" may refer to the pit of the stomach. A blow to that area, if it
penetrates to the true solar plexus, not only causes great pain but may also
temporarily halt visceral functioning."

See also, Sensei Joe Knight's Nov. 24, 2003 Technique on chudanzuki at:
http://www.shorinryu.com/thought.library/tho112403.htm

And "Solar Plexus Impaction" at http://www.chiro.org/rc_schafer/mono-21.shtml