Pressure points in Aikido

Some time ago i became interested in pressure points in aikido. International researchers like Rick Clark viewed that there was a conspiracy of silence. But a few other schools like the Dillman method and Patrick McCarthy had begun to uncover how they were built into the techniques of the striking arts like karate. There is a yahoo group dedicated to this, the address is ,its made up mostly of karateka exploring the hidden meaning of their kata as well.

I've attended the odd seminar exploring/mentioning kyusho here
are some of my thoughts - for what they are worth.

- Looking for pressure points (often twenty cent piece size) in the middle
of technique can slow technique dramatically and you can lose the 'lead' in
your technique

- As an icing on the cake of technique they are great - you can take the
opportunity if it presents itself (or for help dealing with a recalcitrant uke)

- Joe Thambu (yoshinkan instructor and well known security specialist)
suggests pressure points are ineffective in the presence of 'chemicals'
i.e. drugs and on some individuals, never rely on them!

- Many of the atemi from the Dillman school (as taught by Leon Jay, Wally
Jays son) correspond to hand positions used for aikido techniques. For
example apply kaiten usiing tegatana rather than 'hands of loving harmony'
to have a rather effective knockout, where the cut to the inside of the
forearm also causes the knees to buckle on uke.

- A popular naysayer view on pressure points is 'How come if we have these
points all over our body, how come we aren't knocking ourselves out every
time we bump into something?'

- In the scientific literature there is some evidence that pressure point strikes are a means of fooling the body into thinking it has undergone major trauma (such as loss of limb) and the bodies response is to go into shock, withdraw blood from non essential limbs (limb collapse)  and possibly pass out 

My favorite vital points that are reliable and easily added to your
repertoire for 'sneaky aikido tricks' are
- the golgi tendon (just above the elbow) for a knuckle rub helps ineptly
applied ikkyo's work
- an Achilles tendon lock for nasty ukes that kick their legs up after you
have applied irimi/kokyu nage

Personally I've found it fascinating to see just how many of our gentle
techniques exposure these vital points to nage - I guess this just shows
the evolution of aikido from the daitoryu and other killing arts into
todays 'art of peace' where we choose the gentle option.