One example- a strike to the temple. I have read and heard from uncounted instructors how devastating a strike to the temple can be. Some talk about the skull being thin there, some about the geometry of a flat place on a generally curved skull, some about the trigeminal nerve...
But you know what? I've been hit there. A fair amount. And hit people there. And seen people hit there. And not once did it have any effect whatsoever. Maybe once, but that was with a tool. And sometimes the little blood vessel under the skin bursts and you get a nice, dark, bulging hematoma...
My sources say it is a high-percentage target. My personal experience has it as a near zero.
I only know one striking target that hasn't failed in my experience; and asking around, with the usual caveats (not missing, proper hitting) no one else has seen a failure either, despite size, strength, drugs or altered states of consciousness. One technique... and it's not something you can really play with because relatively severe injuries are common. (And, no, I'm not going to describe it here. Most likely you already know it, anyway.)
I have another small batch that I consider high percentage. But there's stuff I don't know. Got to play with an excellent BJJ instructor over the weekend who commented that a rabbit punch in a certain position wouldn't have an effect. Not that either of us were eager to risk a brainstem/cervical shot to be sure...
Hmmm. There's a target band that I really like. Essentially a reset button for the human brain. It has been incredibly reliable for me. It's also considered deadly force in most jurisdictions. But the mechanism of injury may not be what I think it is. If it is percussion to the brainstem, then the position we were discussing wouldn't matter. If it relies on creating even a minor and temporary separation of the upper cervical vertebra or C1 and the skull, then simply splinting the head against the opponent's shoulder would provide more than enough protection, at least at the only reachable angle.
And the only way to be sure would be to get a bunch of stup... I mean young, healthy martial artists and try it out. Full intention of finding the point (angle, force, position, freedom of action vs. splinting) that transmits the maximum shock to the brainstem.
It's a good core technique. I've given (and received) extremely severe concussions from relatively light force at the right angle. But waiting for the happenstance of combat (especially without access to an institutional memory in the form of thousands of force reports) gets small amounts of random data, often not clearly remembered.
Maybe we need a secret society of lab rats willing to put their brains on the line.
Guest blog post tomorrow. Some author is doing a blog tour.
Port Townsend this weekend, two day seminar + Conflict Communications.
All of March in California, with seminars in Granada Hills, Oakland, Santa Cruz and San Diego.
"Talking Them Through: Crisis Communication with the Emotionally Disturbed and Mentally Ill" is up on SmashWords and Kindle