Pressure Point of the Day: Mandibular Angle

A pressure point from the Police Pressure Point System as established by Professor Georges Sylvain, the mandibular angle is a nerve pressure point (as opposed to a nerve motor point) that can cause great pain to the recipient, yet causes no injury. Read Nerve Motor Points vs. Nerve Pressure Points to understand the differences. This makes it useful for controlling a person when you wish to limit the amount of force used, like when you’re extricating a non-compliant but non-assaultive subject. Not everyone is sensitive to this pressure point though, and subjects that are pain-resistant because they’re extremely drunk or high may not even feel the pain so it may not be a good choice if the stakes are high.

The mandibular angle is the place on the lower jaw bone where it starts to angle down toward the chin (as shown in the photo on the left). Just behind the bone is a spot where the inferior alveolar nerve tends to be closer to the surface, making it easy to manipulate to cause pain.To apply pressure to this point, anchor your thumb to your index finger’s knuckle and apply pressure in and up, while supporting the opposite side of the head with your other hand or your arm, depending on the situation. Alternatively, you could use a tool like a Persuader (or other type of kubaton) with the steel finger grip (as seen on the right).

Start by applying surface pressure until the desired result is achieved. If more force is required to gain compliance, apply deep pressure using a strong invasive movement. If this doesn’t work, then your subject likely isn’t sensitive to this pressure point so be ready to switch your approach.

Check out the video below for two applications we teach for the mandibular angle pressure point:

This video only shows 2 options for this painful pressure point, but I’ve found it useful in a variety of situations in which my hands are free and close to the head. Do you use the manibular angle in your training? What are your favourite applications? Please feel free to share them in the comments.

Comments (3)

3 thoughts on “Pressure Point of the Day: Mandibular Angle

  1. In our style we don’t use pressure points alot (in the sense of pinching certain nerves to produce pain) except in releasing grabs or holds as a transition to another technique. I was taught both applications you demonstrated but in my view it’s a risky technique to use solo (pinpoint accuracy is needed and if he doesn’t repond to the pain you’re in trouble since both his arms are free) so I’d limit it to very specific situations such as the ones you’ve shown. I imagine it’d be quite useful for bouncers, security personnel or law enforcement officers since they work under strict rules regarding the use of force and they usually have colleagues to step in when needed. I do think when applying a control hold to escort someone out it’s not necessary to shout since this may draw unnecessary attention or cause the subject to resist more: it might be better to speak in a calm, controlled manner making sure he understands you’re not going to hurt him unless he keeps resisting. I also wouldn’t put my hands on someone until you’re actually going for a hold since this might antagonise him even further since it’s an invasion of personal space but then again I’m not in the security business so I might be wrong. Still a good, informative video as always.

    I don’t know if you’d consider this a pressure point in your system but if found putting your fingers or thumbs on someone’s eyes as a means of control or release to be extremely effective since it’s a natural reaction to want to protect one’s eyes by pulling away from the danger, regardless of actual pain inflicted. Just yesterday we practiced it as a variation on the standard o soto gari, in the most destructive application it allows you to smash his head into the floor while throwing causing a concussion or worse. Obviously the situation should be serious enough to warrant this but against superior opponents or weapon attacks it’s a great way to even the odds and take someone out asap.


    PS: the look of utter dissapointment on the guy’s face when you released the hug in the second version was priceless 😉

    1. Thank you for your comments, Zara. All good points. The shouting depends on the situational. Context is everything as it is with most things in martial applications. If a person is in extreme pain, they sometimes have trouble registering what action should be taken to make the pain stop. Auditory exclusion can also be a factor if the subject is under an adrenaline dump. To counter these factors, we’re generally told to speak loudly and clearly with simple language so there is no confusion. But of course, if you’re getting compliance without that, the shouting may not be necessary.

      As for the use of the eye, we have used it in similar ways, though it wouldn’t be counted as a pressure point as they’re all related to manipulation of nerves. Glad you found the information useful! 🙂

  2. Hi Lori, I enjoyed this article on the Mandibular Angle Pressure Point. Nice video too. I used it as a reference in an article I have written on my website. Thank you

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