Different Styles of Traditional Martial Arts – Dim Mak and Mizongyi

Dim Mak

Dim Mak is an ancient art that consists of hitting various points on the body-known as “vital points” or “pressure points”- to cause injury, illness, or death. Although disputed, it is claimed that the art-famously described as “the death touch”-was created by Chang San Feng, who also founded taijiquan. However, their close association with traditional Chinese medicine, which has a recorded history of over 5,000 years, suggests that its origins are much older.

The technique depends on striking precise locations along an appropriate meridian (or artery) at a time when specific points are “open” and vulnerable to attack. To be a master of the art, a practitioner needs to have a sound understanding of acupressure points and circadian rhythm-the 24-hour biochemical, physiological, and behavioral process of all living things.

Shrouded in secrecy

Because of the serious nature of the injuries it can cause, dim mak was only taught to the most advanced and trusted students. As a result, the art is considered to be highly secretive and has been the subject of much speculation and debate. For example, after the death of Bruce Lee, rumors flooded Hong Kong that he had been killed by a dim mak master. It is more likely, however, that these unfounded suggestions were fueled by fans struggling to come to terms with the death of a legend in his prime.


Of Shaolin origin, and belonging to the chang Quan School of martial arts, mizongyi’s most unique movement is its “fajing” (the discharging of body force). This is a spectacular technique that is brought about by the simultaneous twisting of the practitioner’s knees, hips, waist, elbows, and hands in a corkscrew like action toward an off-balance target. During sparring, it is common to see masters issuing fajing into their opponents and knocking them backward by up to 6 1/2 ft (2 m). Another characteristic is that practitioners are quite willing to engage in combat in order to establish their reputation as good fighters.

Jing Wu martial-arts school

Mizongyi has been growing in popularity since 1901 due to the deeds of Master Huo Yuanjia, who was a practitioner and head of the renowned Jing Wu martial arts school in Shanghai. In tournaments and in arranged fights against other masters, he defeated martial artists from all over the world. Yuanjia and his school has been the subject of many films, in which Jet Li and Bruce Lee have played lead roles. Another possible reason for the style’s popularity is the well-known legend that tells the story of an ancient kung-fu practitioner who mastered the mizongyi style and joined the famed “Outlaws of the Marsh.” This was a group of bandits who revolted against the emperor of the time and went on to do good deeds: robbing the rich and giving to the poor, and using their skill in martial arts to help the weak and oppressed. Despite numerous attempts by the authorities to capture this group of martial outlaws, they proved elusive.