copyright Ė Marc Wickert

Doctor Michael Kelly, D.O., was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and at the age of six commenced classes in Koei-Kan Karate. "I used to like the Saturday afternoon Kung Fu theatre. At that age I thought it was really cool, so I told my mom that I wanted to try it, and she took me along to the dojo to sign up. I stayed with the Karate classes until adolescence, and then got caught up with girls and high-school wrestling, which resulted in my martial arts training being put on hold for a couple of years," says Dr Kelly.

At seventeen, after achieving an impressive career of more than 100 wrestling victories, Michael returned to martial arts and commenced training in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate, which he currently practises. In 1988 he earned his second-degree black belt, and through his competitive spirit, has won many competitions in both sparring and forms.

In addition to studying Shorin Ryu for over fifteen years, Michael has also practised Aikido, Tang Soo Do and Shiatsu. But it was during a visit from Grand Master Shuguro Nagazato that Michael first became aware of Dim-Makís application in martial arts. "Our Grand Master used to come over from Okinawa every couple of years, and I noticed he always seemed to be doing things differently. It was just a subtle variation, but nothing was ever explained because he didnít speak English. Iíd heard a bit about pressure points, and after observing our Grand Master training, I went out and bought a book called Self-Defence, Nerve Centers and Pressure Points by Bruce Tegnar, and that just opened up a whole new world for me."

This new interest compelled Michael to investigate everything he could find on pressure points, and saw him enrol in a Shiatsu course to become more familiar with the points. About a year later George Dillmanís books began to appear and Michael attended many of his seminars. "I purchased a number of his videos and books which were quite beneficial, and then I came across Earl Montaigueís books. He actually came out with a book called Dim-Mak Death Point Striking which opened up a new doorway, and explained a lot of things from a different perspective to Dillmanís. It was like a different approach to the pressure points. At the time I was obsessed with it all, and I just wanted to swallow up everything I could on Dim-Mak." 

Unfortunately, Michael was forced to test the applicability of Dim-Mak in a real-life situation whilst attending a bachelor party. He had only been studying pressure-point manipulation for a short time when he encountered the typical, obnoxious drunk at the party. "I was playing pool with friends at the party, when this intoxicated guy sat down where I couldnít shoot the cue ball without hitting him. So I politely asked him if he would mind moving, and he got offended. I told him I didnít mean anything by it and that we were just playing pool. We went on with the game, and a couple of minutes later he returned and started pushing the balls all over the place. I looked at him and tried to avoid the confrontation, telling him that I didnít know what his problem was, but that I didnít want any trouble and was sorry if Iíd offended him. He then splashed his beer on me and went in to grab me, so I struck him with a double palm-strike to both Stomach 18 points, and he just went out cold. He was much larger than myself, and it got me out of a really tight situation."

Through Michaelís unquenchable thirst for knowledge, he encountered an array of fancy medical terms, which sparked an interest in medicine, and prompted him to enrol in medical school. To work his way through college during the day, Michael served as a State Police Officer at night, and it was during this period, that he had many opportunities to test his martial arts skills and knowledge of Dim-Mak through some hair-raising experiences.

"On one occasion, I had to arrest a guy who was a blackbelt in a karate style, and he had been smoking crack, so he was very wired. We had a battle that seemed to last for hours. It wasnít until I managed to get a strike in to his Gall Bladder 20 point that I dazed him enough to get him cuffed. Thatís when I realised just how applicable Dim-Mak is and that it really does give you the edge."

When Dr Kelly was told of the inclusion of two new regulations, "No small joint manipulation" and "No pressure-point strikes" into the UFC Japan rules he was not surprised. Nor was he opposed to the earlier outlawing of elbow-strikes to the back of the head and neck area. "At the Bladder 10 point at the base of the skull, there are actually a lot of reported cases in medical journals where trauma in that area results in tears to the vertebral arteries. There is an interesting case of a young girl who as a gymnast, and whilst performing on the horizontal bars, she fell and died instantly. At autopsy, there didnít seem to be any physical damage to the girl or any explanation for her death. There was just a little bruise in that area, and we know from many years of research, that the nerves in that area tend to have an influence on the autonomic nervous system. So the death was attributed to autonomic nervous system disfunction."

And what does Michael think of the applicability of the kubotan (palm stick) for striking Dim-Mak points? "If you know the points that well, and your comfortable with them, you may not need the kubotan, but for somebody who hasnít developed their hands enough to get into the points, then the kubotan can be very effective. I actually kept one on my utility belt when I was a cop, and I got into a grappling situation with a guy on the ground. I got him cuffed, but he refused to get off the ground and into the squad car, so I put the kubotan just under his ear at the Triple Warmer 17 point, and applied a little pressure. He got right up and into the car."

As a result of Dr Michaelís extensive studies into Dim-Mak, he has published a book on the subject, entitled Death Touch: The Science Behind The Legend Of Dim-Mak. In it he explains in laymanís terms such enigmas as the relationship between acupuncture and Dim-Mak points, the hidden use of Dim-Mak attacks in many martial arts forms, and how the delayed death touch works.

"I was always fascinated by the bodyís pressure-point system, but there seemed to be a void. Nobody was explaining it in western terms, and there had to be a more tangible explanation for the western mind than from just the yin and yang aspects. Then when I went to medical school, I had access to so many more resources, and I just went off into my own world. All my free time in medical school was spent on reseaching why these pressure points worked, and tying it all together with solid, modern medical finds.

"Ironically, I undertook this research for my own benefit, and not for the purpose of writing a book. Along this time I wrote a number of articles which Earl Montaigue published in the World Taiji Boxing Association (WTBA) magazine, Combat & Healing, and I realised that I had a whole bunch of information that wasnít out there that I believed explained Dim-Mak from a more western view. I actually sent an email to Earl, asking him if he thought it would fly as a book, and he said he thought it was great, and that there wasnít anything around from that viewpoint."

Earl further endorsed Dr Michaelís Kellyís book, Death Touch: The Science Behind The Legend Of Dim-Mak by writing the forward for the book and stating, "For those who are skeptical about Dim-Mak and need further scientific evidence for the various points and why they work, this book is a must."

For further information on Dr Michael Kelly, D.O. and his book Death Touch: The Science Behind The Legend Of Dim-Mak visit www.dimmak.net/dr_michael_kelly.htm



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