I joined this community because I had seen this question and felt able to answer it. However even though I had a textbook on martial arts vital points to hand AND had used the methods from the book before to treat the kind of pain/stiffness described in the question, it seems to have attracted negative attention as I am unable to quote clinical trials of this method.

After answering one or two other questions and meeting similar if not worse negative response. I am starting to think that this community has a problem.

If only truly evidence based answers are accepted by the community as objective (and by this I mean quantitatively analysed video footage or reference to textbooks or equivalent) how can any questions get asked or answered? In other words how can this community function? There isn't enough evidence to really know what works when trained people fight the untrained. Let alone some kind of theoretical street fight between people who would obviously know better.

Martial arts are essentially an aural tradition in that you can only learn them from other people who know them. Much like folk stories.

If I asked a question on here about something as simple as how to punch correctly I am sure I would get many conflicting answers each based on a different style. We cant run trials about the effectiveness of different strikes to the cause damage. no one would agree to get punched for science.

In other words I can't think of any question that could be answered in the manner stack exchange seems to require. I think some people more senior than myself in the community need to discuss what direction they are going to take this site to make it more useful and accessible.

4 Answers 4


Putting up answers

You can always put an answer up - and as long as it attempts to answer the question and is decently readable, people can see it. It may or may not get votes from there on, and the questioner may or may not choose it as the best answer, but at least it's there.

On this site, more people will vote for things that have backing - studies, video, and similar evidence.

If you can't pull up direct evidence, detailed explanation of how you have used what you are talking about, and how the questioner can use it, is the next best thing. (example: "In my training, and these specific styles, we use the sword in this fashion. The goal with this kind of stance is to do this.")

There are some answers, which may be true in your experience, but useless to a questioner. For example, I see a lot of injury related questions and I preface it with "See a professional" because "Hey if you learn 5-8 years of kinesiology and sports medicine, you could do it yourself" is not a realistically useful answer. (also sometimes people ask questions that are framed incorrectly or too big to meaningfully answer - "How do I become invincible?" etc.)

There's also some answers which may be true in your experience but people won't believe unless they experience it themselves. There's no point in trying to convince people (and, it's not a religion, you don't gain anything by converting folks anyway), so generally you're best off either leaving a small comment ("You may want to check out XYZ") or just leaving it alone.


There's a lot more evidence out there than you think. While sports is providing us with a lot of video footage, there's also studies, crime reports, and so on.

"Will this technique work?" is not a matter of opinion - maybe it can, maybe it can't, and most likely it's combination of the conditions and your skill when you attempt to apply it. If you can point to people successfully using it or parallel examples, then you have some evidence.

Stackexchange leans towards skepticism and unless something has a good amount of evidence or being in line with evidence, it's not going to be popular. So if you want to talk about a technique or method that you can't frame in that fashion, it won't fly well here.

That said, it's not necessarily a bad thing - most importantly when it comes to people's health and safety. I've seen a lot of bad teachers giving people advice that will destroy their knees or backs, or leave them in extreme danger if they need to defend themselves.


I agree with the answer given by Bankuei that answers that are backed up by references tend to get much more upvotes compared to answer just based on personal experience. However, I do think that some people on the site are overly critical. I suspect this has something to do with wanting to prove that one's own style is superior and trying to falsify claims about other styles. For example, I get the feeling that the recent question about the effectiveness of Aikido was asked primarily to back-up someone's opinion.

The fact that there has been much more debate and arguments in recent months has stopped me from participating more. Don't get me wrong, I think debate is good and necessary to make good answers even better, but lengthy discussions should be done in chat and not in upvote/downvote fights on the main site. Also one should be careful to keep the tone of these discussions positive. It's been my impression that overall the tone in discussions has become a bit more negative/hostile. I liked Martial Arts SE better a while back when this wasn't the case.

  • "The fact that there has been much more debate and arguments in recent months has stopped me from participating more" This is what I mean. I think this is a huge problem for the community. I don't mind people downvoting my answers or correcting me. That's just part of SE. But a lengthy argument about whether my evidence is valid seems unnecessary.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 13:44

I downvoted that answer because the evidence given is inadequate. Here is why.

There is evidence that the effectiveness of acupressure is currently not well documented for any condition. In addition, acupressure is based on the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body for which there is no scientific evidence whatsoever.

The reference given is to one book written by some random author. While this is not necessarily wrong, looking into the book, author, and publisher yeilded some interesting facts. It has been published by "Weatherhill" which appears to be have been bought by Shambhala publications. This is hardly a scientific publication house. Marc Tedeschi is apparently a 7th dan. Good for him but no lineage is given: who awarded this rank to him? He has created his own style of Hapkido, either really impressive or smelling of hubris. No medical training whatsoever is listed apart from "healing art". I view this as a sign of quackery.

Furthermore, the fact that it "works" for one is nothing more than a cool story bro. Anecdotal evidence is nothing but wishful thinking. It is utterly irrelevant and should have no place in any argumentation as to whether something is evidence based or not.

Even if I were to accept both acupressure and your statement that "it works", I still would be left wondering if any pressure point injury can be cured by the same acupressure points. This seems highly suspicious on its own.

Based on the guidelines

Use your downvotes whenever you encounter an egregiously sloppy, no-effort-expended post, or an answer that is clearly and perhaps dangerously incorrect.

I used my down vote as no credible evidence was used to sustain the answer.

This is my opinion and mine alone. Anyone else on the site is welcome to disagree with me and cast an upvote. This is how the site works.

  • I'm as skeptical as you @Sardathrion. I can't see the paper you link. perhaps you have to be logged into the site. In any case I agree It would be a huge mistake to think that acupressure or acupuncture could be used to treat a health condition. However as martial artists we all use these points. We don't all call them acupoints and try to pretend they are based on science. But I for one know of no study on these either. All I'm actually saying is massage your leg like so after a kick to the schoolboy's dead leg kick and it will loosen up and stop hurting. easily tested.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 16:39

Develop a thick skin

Scientists argue a lot, over things like whose terminology to use, what assumptions are OK, whether something constitutes original work or is merely derivative, or whether results are significant. Sometimes they just argue to look smarter. If you submit the same academic paper to different reviewers, you may get wildly different responses. This is normal. Do not expect things to be different here.

Scientific evidence is best

Science defines questions in a very narrow way, so that other people can reproduce results. There is a reason why the scientific method and rigorous academic approaches have been the foundation of huge advances in human knowledge. The world is full of charlatans and swindlers as well as people who simply don't know better. Science provides a method to verify people's claims so collectively we can make progress.

Science is not neat and tidy

The trouble is that science is not easy because there are so many variables, possibly unidentified. Given how narrowly scientific questions need to be to run experiments, the availability of funding, and the complexity of the human body; it is very hard to answer many questions about arts well scientifically.

People need to make recommendations in the absence of total information. For example, doctors need to tell you what to do when you sprain your ankle. For decades, icing has been part of the standard treatment protocol because icing reduces swelling and pain. More recent research suggests that icing actually impairs healing. The question you ask makes a big difference; yes, it was scientifically proven that icing reduces swelling and pain, but people should probably be more interested in healing than temporary symptom improvement. Icing has been standard practice for a long time and because information can take a long time to propagate, it's likely people will continue icing for many years. And then consider that new research may change this newer recommendation too.

Much is unknown

I think people overestimate what is known scientifically, especially about the human body. There seems to be this idea that if something is true, there must already be confirmed scientific results on it, which simply is not true.

Example: What kind of running shoes should you wear to prevent injury? Running is one of the most common forms of exercise. If we haven't settled a question like this, why would you expect something as obscure as pressure point recovery to have received attention?

Do the best you can

For those of us not interested in waiting years or decades for scientific answers, the best you can do is answer questions with the knowledge available.

In your case you are advocating massage, which though widely used is not really scientifically proven, for particular points on the body (which people seem to think are okay if called a pressure point but not if called a meridian point), which is also not scientifically proven.

Massaging your leg after getting hit is free and should be without side-effects. Given the dearth of other treatment answers, I think it's entirely reasonable to try this yourself to see whether it works for you.

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