05/26/2004: Thought for the Day:
Even martial arts enthusiasts don't take this one too seriously, except for the impressionable souls who think assassins used the touch of death to kill kung fu star Bruce Lee in 1973. (The more widely held view says he was done in by an allergic reaction to painkillers.) One smartarse on a martial arts message board observes, "One time I hit a guy in a pressure point, and he EXPLODED! It was like something out of a video game man! I swear, there is a point somewhere that makes a human being just burst into giblets if you hit it right!" However, we scientists don't dismiss such phenomena antecedent to inquiry. Having browsed the medical literature, I'd say the verdict on whether this mysterious Oriental skill has any basis in reality is as follows: The touch of death, no. The less-forceful-blow-than-you-might-expect of death, occasionally yes.
--Cecil Adams [on the question, "Is there a ninja death touch?"]
Len on 05.26.04 @ 07:35 AM CST