Thursday, April 8, 2010

Batman -- Martial Artist - 06.04 - Tien-Hsueh

Tien-Hsueh is the Chinese martial art that focuses on attacking vital points.

This art can be as simple as striking the obviously vulnerable parts of the body (i.e., groin, throat, kidneys, etc.), but ultimately it entails the ancient and difficult-to-master art of acupressure. Just as in acupuncture, this art relies on certain lines of energy ("meridians") that are alleged to connect a certain point on the body's surface to an internal, vital organ.

The training essentially takes the form of years of training for accuracy of strikes (most often with the index and middle fingers), and intensive study of anatomy as presented in traditional Chinese medicine. Basically, learning where the vital points are, and training to be able to strike them while fighting.
Traditionally, one must learn how to heal in concurrence with learning how to do damage using acupressure.

While one may not put a lot of stock in ancient ideas like meridians and chi, over thousands of years there has been a vast accumulation of anecdotal/empirical evidence for the efficacy of this art. There are modern scientific explanations for these things (i.e., nerves, impulses, etc.), but this is a traditional art/science.

Now, would Batman bother with Tien-Hsueh? Most likely. He would find it beneficial to know at least the basics of a system that has lasted for millennia. Also, if he can take out a perp without needing to exert himself to much, all the better. It would also make sense for Batman to know this art so as to be able to defend himself from its practitioners.
The best way I can answer this question is actually to point out that Batman has learned something similar. In the episode "Day of the Samurai" (BTAS: Season 3), Bruce Wayne travels to Japan at the behest of his old sensei in order to defeat his old rival. The ninja rival has sought out an ancient pressure-point technique that can kill a man with a single, well-placed strike. Batman deduces this very pressure-point in his investigation, and is able to protect himself. Since he knows where this point is, he could therefore use this technique (not that he ever would).

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