Book Review:Dragons Touch by Hei Long

Book Review: “Dragons Touch, Weaknesses of the human anatomy” by Hei Long

This isn’t a huge volume so the review will be pretty brief too.

The preface of this book is a comment on the USA martial arts scene and a plea for combining solid techniques with the knowledge of this book.

In the introduction, the author talks about karma to explain that this knowledge isn’t to be abused. He states his belief that if you take a life unjustly, you will be punished for it later in life. Next is the classification of the targets. Mr. Long uses 2 categories: Numerical, which describes the anatomical level (brain, cardio-respiratory, muscular, skeletal, etc.) and alphabetical, which describes the physical reaction to striking a specific point (pain, structural damage, unconsciousness and death). I very much appreciate this system for it’s clarity and lack of complexity.

The main part of the book now follows with an anatomical and physiological review of the target areas, followed by a series of photos demonstrating techniques that could be used to attack them. There are 43 targets described, located on the head, back, chest, abdomen, groin and legs. The author also shows from which angle the targets should be attacked.

The last chapter shows combinations of techniques, designed to kill an opponent. Mr. Long says these techniques should only be used if there is no other option and that you should be mentally prepared to kill your enemy. The book ends with the conclusion that you should practice the techniques diligently.

There are a couple of issues I would like to address regarding this book:

1) The anatomical and physiological explanations are reasonably accurate. I had a medical doctor friend of mine take a look and she didn’t really find anything negative to comment on this.

2) I have a lot of problems with some of the targets the author describes. They seem a little far-fetched a times. For instance:

  • The author claims that a 45° upward strike to the septal cartilage (nose) will drive it into the brain and kill an opponent. This myth of driving the nose into the brain is just that, a myth.  If anyone has a single shred of scientific evidence that you can make it happen, please present it because I’d love to see it.

3) The techniques to strike the target areas are sometimes a little strange. E.g.: using a hook kick to strike the neck area while defending against a straight punch, is a lot more complex than an easier and faster counter punch would be.

4) Mr. Long states that you should only use killing strikes when they are justified. Yet he goes against his own advice. He demonstrates defensive actions against a knife or a club attack and disarms the attacker. Once the weapon is cleared, he continues to strike and kills the opponent. In my humble opinion, once you disarm an attacker by jabbing him in the eye, breaking his elbow and hitting him in the face, the fight is over. There is no more need to break his neck or back, if the immediate life endangering threat is averted. Even more, legally speaking, you just committed murder…

Interest:
This book offers a couple of good ideas about targets, but a lot of its content is out of touch with reality. An inexperienced reader will not be able to distinguish between the good and the bad in it. If you do have some training already, you won’t find much that you don’t learn after a few years of practice. I’d recommend you buy this book only if you have money to spare.

Quality:
The quality of this book is very good . The lay out is comfortable with decent pictures and sharp illustrations. Excellent.

Buy it here:

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Comments

  1. Wim,

    Your comment that the defender ‘has just committed murder’ is exactly right. There are too many instructors teaching “return to sender” techniques: The attacker lunges with a knife, you disarm him and then stab him in the gut. You’re going to have a lot of trouble explaining in court why you stabbed an unarmed man. All the rational I’ve heard instructors make will be waved off by a judge before he sends you to that place where heavily tattooed men shower together.

    • Thanks Loren, I agree. I always figured instructors were either unaware of legal standards for self defense or they thought looking cool was more important. Or Maybe it’s the whole “rather judged by twelve than carried by six” thing, which is another cliché that needs to be burned to a crisp. That’s all fine and dandy, right up to the point where the LEOs put the cuffs on you because you have blood on your hands and all the witnesses remember you dealing out the killing blow and not who started it.

  2. Wim,

    Your comment that the defender ‘has just committed murder’ is exactly right. There are too many instructors teaching “return to sender” techniques: The attacker lunges with a knife, you disarm him and then stab him in the gut. You’re going to have a lot of trouble explaining in court why you stabbed an unarmed man. All the rational I’ve heard instructors make will be waved off by a judge before he sends you to that place where heavily tattooed men shower together.

    • Thanks Loren, I agree. I always figured instructors were either unaware of legal standards for self defense or they thought looking cool was more important. Or Maybe it’s the whole “rather judged by twelve than carried by six” thing, which is another cliché that needs to be burned to a crisp. That’s all fine and dandy, right up to the point where the LEOs put the cuffs on you because you have blood on your hands and all the witnesses remember you dealing out the killing blow and not who started it.

  3. All and all, it doesn’t sound like something that a reader would easily glean helpful knowledge from (eek, ending that sentence with a preposition is making me twitchy). In light of the whole chapter on killing techniques, I find it odd that the author suggested practicing the techniques diligently. In that case, I don’t think too many people would volunteer for sparring practice.

  4. All and all, it doesn’t sound like something that a reader would easily glean helpful knowledge from (eek, ending that sentence with a preposition is making me twitchy). In light of the whole chapter on killing techniques, I find it odd that the author suggested practicing the techniques diligently. In that case, I don’t think too many people would volunteer for sparring practice.

  5. Glad you did that review as it was a book i was thinking of getting – now i dont think i will. Have you seen a copy of Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim? I’m quite pleased with my copy and think its well worth a look.

  6. Glad you did that review as it was a book i was thinking of getting – now i dont think i will. Have you seen a copy of Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim? I’m quite pleased with my copy and think its well worth a look.

  7. Alright, Wim, but I’m NOT wearing the dunce hat. *grin*

  8. Alright, Wim, but I’m NOT wearing the dunce hat. *grin*

  9. Steve Holley says:

    Ending a sentence with a preposition! “That is the sort of arrogant pedantry up with which I will not put!” (Winston Churchill)
    Hei Long (real name unknown) wrote 12 book between 1983 and 1996. There was never a photo of him published until now. I think we can see why – people bought the book by “Hei Long” thinking they were getting the wisdom of a Chinese master, not this guy. Like Ashida Kim (real name Radford W. Davis), he’s made a lot of money that way. He’s actually in Inside Kung Fu this month, showcasing the collapsible baton video. Looks like normal Arnis stuff. I’m not sure what his martial arts background is, but I saw some video on his website and it was not impressive. I did see a video of him (on bullshido.com, I think) where he’s demonstrating levitation. He sits in a lotus and does a one point balance on his tailbone. An assistant then brings in a large ring and waves it around him without actually passing it between him and the ground. Curious.
    Add my name to Loren’s for the Law Enforcement viewpoint. Absolutely correct.

    • I saw that video too Steve. It’s not how I’d use a baton but that doesn’t mean anything: I’m a Belgian Neanderthal and just whack people over the head with a rock. :-)
      BTW, when I once posted a review about him years ago, I got some fun anonymous mail. Hilarious! One day I’ll do a series of posts with quotes from the mail I get. We can all use a good laugh now and then. :-)

  10. Steve Holley says:

    Ending a sentence with a preposition! “That is the sort of arrogant pedantry up with which I will not put!” (Winston Churchill)
    Hei Long (real name unknown) wrote 12 book between 1983 and 1996. There was never a photo of him published until now. I think we can see why – people bought the book by “Hei Long” thinking they were getting the wisdom of a Chinese master, not this guy. Like Ashida Kim (real name Radford W. Davis), he’s made a lot of money that way. He’s actually in Inside Kung Fu this month, showcasing the collapsible baton video. Looks like normal Arnis stuff. I’m not sure what his martial arts background is, but I saw some video on his website and it was not impressive. I did see a video of him (on bullshido.com, I think) where he’s demonstrating levitation. He sits in a lotus and does a one point balance on his tailbone. An assistant then brings in a large ring and waves it around him without actually passing it between him and the ground. Curious.
    Add my name to Loren’s for the Law Enforcement viewpoint. Absolutely correct.

    • I saw that video too Steve. It’s not how I’d use a baton but that doesn’t mean anything: I’m a Belgian Neanderthal and just whack people over the head with a rock. :-)
      BTW, when I once posted a review about him years ago, I got some fun anonymous mail. Hilarious! One day I’ll do a series of posts with quotes from the mail I get. We can all use a good laugh now and then. :-)

  11. I have the old version of the book, which is DEFINITELY not as good a production as this one seems to be. I sort of liked the book at the time I bought it, but it helped a lot that I bought really cheap as a package of books from eBay. I can’t really recomend it unless you can buy it fairly cheap, at whoch point it’s an OK book, not great, but OK. I agree with pretty much everything the Belgian Neanderthal said.

    One extra point: I think a lot of these books include stupid techniques with high kicking methods to cater to the Taekwondo/ Modern Karate/Kickboxing crowd. These practitioners – who probably represent the largest group of martial arts students, numerically, and are therefore the widest audience and customer base that can be reached in the martial arts community – have trained high kicks, some of them can pull them off well, and so from a purely marketing point of view, when selling to people who haven’t necessarily examined their martial arts from a more critical perspective (ie. economy of motion, efficiency of energy transference, angles, etc…) it makes sense to include the more “flashy” stuff. Plus, many of these practitioners sometimes feel the urge to connect to an “older” tradition and to the mysterious East, after years of doing their stuff, and what better way to do it than to buy a book from a guy named Hei Long? :-)

    • Ha! The Commie agrees with me! ;-)
      You’re probably right about the TKD/karate angle. The book was from a time when those were the biggest audience for these books. So that’s probably why he included those techniques. Not really high percentage moves though.

  12. I have the old version of the book, which is DEFINITELY not as good a production as this one seems to be. I sort of liked the book at the time I bought it, but it helped a lot that I bought really cheap as a package of books from eBay. I can’t really recomend it unless you can buy it fairly cheap, at whoch point it’s an OK book, not great, but OK. I agree with pretty much everything the Belgian Neanderthal said.

    One extra point: I think a lot of these books include stupid techniques with high kicking methods to cater to the Taekwondo/ Modern Karate/Kickboxing crowd. These practitioners – who probably represent the largest group of martial arts students, numerically, and are therefore the widest audience and customer base that can be reached in the martial arts community – have trained high kicks, some of them can pull them off well, and so from a purely marketing point of view, when selling to people who haven’t necessarily examined their martial arts from a more critical perspective (ie. economy of motion, efficiency of energy transference, angles, etc…) it makes sense to include the more “flashy” stuff. Plus, many of these practitioners sometimes feel the urge to connect to an “older” tradition and to the mysterious East, after years of doing their stuff, and what better way to do it than to buy a book from a guy named Hei Long? :-)

    • Ha! The Commie agrees with me! ;-)
      You’re probably right about the TKD/karate angle. The book was from a time when those were the biggest audience for these books. So that’s probably why he included those techniques. Not really high percentage moves though.

  13. Wim/Jose as a TKD geek myself i do have to say that there is a use for high kicks (which you guys probably agree with) but in the case mentioned in the review it is a little ridiculous as you would have to slide back and then kick giving a bit more time for the attacker to react, you would definitely be better doing a knifehand, punch, palm strike or elbow etc…ooh dont forget backfists i like them! :) though at the end of the day i guess it depends on what each situation is and what each person is comfortable doing. (but if there not comfotable they should train more haha)

    • There certainly is a use for high kicks Tim, but personally, I wouldn’t make them my first choice for hitting a vital point when some coked up lunatic wants to bash my head in. I know I’m taking things to extremes here, just want to give some context.

  14. Wim/Jose as a TKD geek myself i do have to say that there is a use for high kicks (which you guys probably agree with) but in the case mentioned in the review it is a little ridiculous as you would have to slide back and then kick giving a bit more time for the attacker to react, you would definitely be better doing a knifehand, punch, palm strike or elbow etc…ooh dont forget backfists i like them! :) though at the end of the day i guess it depends on what each situation is and what each person is comfortable doing. (but if there not comfotable they should train more haha)

    • There certainly is a use for high kicks Tim, but personally, I wouldn’t make them my first choice for hitting a vital point when some coked up lunatic wants to bash my head in. I know I’m taking things to extremes here, just want to give some context.

  15. true if someones under the influence, and so less reponsive to pain and fear etc proper in your face you’d just wanna take them out and the easiest thing i guess would be a fast counter to the face/eyes/neck/ear etc with your hands then maybe a kick to the knee in the hopes it they go down so you can leave quickly and safely.

  16. true if someones under the influence, and so less reponsive to pain and fear etc proper in your face you’d just wanna take them out and the easiest thing i guess would be a fast counter to the face/eyes/neck/ear etc with your hands then maybe a kick to the knee in the hopes it they go down so you can leave quickly and safely.

  17. Hey Wim,

    This is one I don’t have in my collection, even though I’ve seen it a number of times. It amazes me that the urban legend of driving the nose bones into the brain is still out there. In a chapter I just worked on this week for my novel, I mention that it is a myth, but is still out there. A tv documentary last year, forget if it was Human Weapon or Fight Quest, but one of the two, in an episode on Savate in France they perpetuated the tale by saying a kick could drive the nose bones into the brain to kill a person. I almost yelled at the TV. :-)

    Keep up the great work,

    Alain

    • Thanks Alain. I think “The Last Boyscout” with Bruce Willis did a lot of damage too. He took out a bad guy with an uppercut to the nose, claiming the same idiotic thing. If it’s on the screen, it must be real… :-)

  18. Hey Wim,

    This is one I don’t have in my collection, even though I’ve seen it a number of times. It amazes me that the urban legend of driving the nose bones into the brain is still out there. In a chapter I just worked on this week for my novel, I mention that it is a myth, but is still out there. A tv documentary last year, forget if it was Human Weapon or Fight Quest, but one of the two, in an episode on Savate in France they perpetuated the tale by saying a kick could drive the nose bones into the brain to kill a person. I almost yelled at the TV. :-)

    Keep up the great work,

    Alain

    • Thanks Alain. I think “The Last Boyscout” with Bruce Willis did a lot of damage too. He took out a bad guy with an uppercut to the nose, claiming the same idiotic thing. If it’s on the screen, it must be real… :-)

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