Throat

Discuss the medical implications and realities of close quarters combat as it relates to human anatomy and physiology.

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Throat

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:12 pm

Dave Lorenson wrote:From: Sifu Dave
To: All
3/6/01

Target: Trachea (windpipe, throat).

Effective Strikes: Open hand, hammer fists, chops, knees, elbows, and kicks as well.

Patho-Physiology: What really happens with this strike is familiar to most of us, at least when talking about the trachea. Someone gets hit, and then it is hard to breath. When the windpipe is struck there are actually several things that can, and do, happen. The trachea can collapse, the larynx (voicebox) can be fractured and collapse, the cricothyroid cartilege (ring below the voicebox) can be fractured and collapse, and swelling takes place in the soft tissue in the area of the trachea, and this swelling can cause occlusion (blockage) of the airway.

I can speak from first hand experience here. When I was in high school I was struck by a baseball bat in the throat (yes, it was during a game; and I didn't see it coming with my peripheral vision). My head was up, and my eyes were looking up to catch a high ball. I never dreamed that the batter would swing, but he did and hard. Immediately, I fell to my knees unable to get my breath. I never did lose consciousness, but for 50-60 seconds there was no passage of air. Fortunately for me, no major swelling took place, and after the laryngospasms (muscle contractions in the larynx) subsided I was able to exchange air again. For two weeks I had difficulty talking, but survived the ordeal.

So, if you want to bring about this reaction in combat; then hit hard!

Also worth mentioning, are other structures located in the front of the neck. The carotid arteries -- the only two vessels (with two branches each); which carry blood to the brain. Located on either side of the trachea the arteries are not difficult to find. Often people lose consciousness during strangulation because of occlusion of the arteries, and subsequent lack of oxygen in the brain, before they lose consciousness from airway blockage.

It is also interesting to note that striking high up on the airway, just below the jaw, will bring acute pain without as much chance of severe airway damage. There are several glands in this region (parotid and salivary glands); which are very sensitive. Also, you can cause damage to the tongue or its innervation (where the nerves supply it); by striking here.

Also interesting to note, is that in saving someone's life when the airway is occluded the trachea is usually entered below the larynx, and above the cricothyroid cartilege (emergency tracheotomy); or through the cricothyroid membrane (cricothyroidotomy).
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Re: Throat

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:19 pm

Dennis Kirby wrote:From: MasterBear1
To: Sifu Dave
3/9/01

Dave,
You are right about the bundle of good things to hit around the neck. When I went through my A & P classes, and we worked on cadavers, it was incredible. Lots of nerves and arteries, and of course the throat.

I was also interested in the reaction of the impact of a four finger jab to the knotch at the top of the chest, base of the neck. Many students try to hit it straight in, and that does do some damage, but I have found that if the strike is thrown into the knotch and then applied downwards, behind the bones, the result is stunning. Besides making your opponent cough uncontrollably; it affects the trachea in a dramatic way.
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Re: Throat

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:31 pm

Dave Lorenson wrote:From: Sifu Dave
To: MasterBear1
3/9/01

Dennis,
Again, you make a good point. As you know, it is not just the neck where things like this are true. Just as you described the "follow up" to the 4 finger jab to the throat by digging down behind the sternum, this same technique is also dramatic in other areas of the body, such as: the eyes, under the ribs, the groin, etc. We can learn in Kung-Fu San Soo the strikes, which are effective, or we can learn the science of striking, which is more effective because we learn the particulars. I prefer to dig deep and learn everything I can about each particular target, and the strikes that are best used on that target. In these threads I find that I am always very basic, but I think it opens up some great discussion. You, San Soo Sifu, Robert@TMI, and others, will bring up somethings I have not experienced. Put all of it together, and a more clear picture will be seen. Thanks again!

As a side note: Actually the trachea can be dislocated, and the tissue holding it in place can be torn. I find that if you grab the trachea (separating it from the rest of the neck); and reach your fingers in behind it, people are more than willing to follow your lead.
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Re: Throat

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:54 pm

Dennis Kirby wrote:From: MasterBear1
To: Sifu Dave
3/9/01

Dave,
So right about the trachea. I was once a bouncer in a local bar, and discovered a couple things about the throat grab. I don't usually grab the trachea by itself, unless I am just trying to crush the trachea for maximim damage, it is not the best way to hold for restraint. If you grab and place your thumb beside the trachea and loop your fingers around the front muscle structure, on either side (I don't remember the name of the muscle); you get a very good grip, inflict lots of pain by pushing the trachea sidways, which really helps in restraint, and also starts a trachial contraction, which cuts down breathing ability. I also like to apply the other hand to the back of the neck simultaneously to give a more secure hold. Just a slight squeeze at this point really does take the fight out of a person. I have done this to people to help them leave the bar, and it really gets their attention. Also, if you grab the throat really hard, at impact you hit the nerve laying beside, and behind, the throat; and the natural body reaction, which can be severe, is to jerk backwards. This sometimes dislodges your grip; care and an experienced touch is needed, at this point. Note to anyone trying these, use care. I grabbed a student in my Anaheim school once, in demonstration of this grab, he resisted and I applied just a little more pressure, not wanting to be shamed by a lowly white belt student. He did not get away from me, but he couldn't breath for about 90 seconds, the longest ninety seconds of my life. I realized how close I had come to sending him to the hosplital. His windpipe constricted so much that he was unable to continue working out until the next day. Scared the heck out of me. I was more careful in the future. This grab is dangerous and deadly.
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Re: Throat

Postby San Soo Sifu » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:14 pm

From the April 2001 (Vol. 2, No. 2) issue of the National Teachers Association of Kung-Fu San Soo Newsletter.

Is there a specific name for the hollow spot of the throat directly above the Esophagus? We have a couple of lessons that require us to strike at the target, but the description seems a little long and I want to know if there is a better term for this spot. JM, Lakewood, California.

BRUCE NETTLES responds: Yes there is a term for that specific target, unfortunately it's worse than the long-winded description. If I have all my anatomy terms correct, the name is: the Suprasternal space, directly above the Suprasternal notch. However, since that really isn't much help, let me pass on the term I revived from a doctor of acupuncture. He refers to that particular body cavity as the "Tiantu."
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