Was Bruce Lee killed by a nerve strike technique known as DIM MAK? — Published 2009


I am the man who killed Bruce Lee.I am the man, silenced by lies to forget me.

No actor mind you, nor a man of fiction. Nor superhero, nor invisible man; but a champion of obscurity.

I am transparent. Hong Kong’s greatest victory belongs to me. Those who created Daniel Rand knew of me. The first to plunge my hand into the heart of the dragon. Jane Hallander once spoke of me.

Those men, those great bosses, they once had use of me. For it was in a room of silence when they first approached me. Promises of fame and riches — more than that of Lee.

Fearlessly, I stepped forward in 73. Plunging my hand into the heart of the dragon; sent on a journey of loneliness and anonymity. This was all done, to provide solace and comfort for the widowed Lee.

The streets of Hong Kong mourned him and shunned me. The world sings of him, turning its back on me. I step forward now; before the end and boldly share the wizardry.

You’ll have to forgive me. During the past few months, I’ve been slipping in and out of reality. Frequent conversations and meetings with martial arts masters; many feeling like seances.

During these meetings, It seems as though these men are being guided by some unseen force. Prodded until finally, they feel the urge to relate to me, with great confidence — as if I am someone with whom they must divulge a great secret. These masters spoke on the unexplained death of martial arts cinema’s greatest star — Bruce Lee.

It has been continually suggested, that Bruce Lee was actually killed by someone who used a technique known as Dim Mak. In the 1980 film FIST OF FEAR, TOUCH OF DEATH martial artists, Aaron Banks discussed the death of Bruce Lee at the beginning of the film. Banks indicates that Lee was probably killed by THE TOUCH OF DEATH. A recipient of that strike would not die until days or weeks after. During an obviously scripted interview, Banks makes several interesting points, one being the excellent physical condition of Bruce Lee, and how it would have been impossible for him to have died of natural causes.

The 1985 Black Belt Magazine article KUNG FU PRESSURE POINT ATTACKS, written by Jan Hollander, mentioned that Bruce may have received the Dim Mak strike several weeks before his death. According to the article, Dim Mak means “Touch Points”, not “Death Touch” as it has been marketed by the likes of Count Dante. The Japanese name for this technique is known as ATEMI. These techniques focus on attacking pressure points in the body.

These pressure point strikes operate much like acupuncture. An acupuncturist goal is to release blocked energy on areas of the body known as meridians. By doing so blood circulates freely in the body, thus promoting health.

A person who executes a Dim Mak strike does the opposite. Instead of releasing energy, this person seeks to disrupt blood flow and prevent the victim’s energy from flowing freely. In addition, the pressure points supposedly correlate to each hour of the day. So if a particular point is hit at a certain time, the body will sustain greater damage. For instance, the liver is said to correspond to the 1am to 3am time frame. The liver is working hardest during these hours, so this will be the best time to strike that area or meridian in order to inflict the greatest amount of damage.

According to Hollander’s article, there are four categories of Dim Mak: Pain, numbness, unconsciousness, and death.

The article also states that knowledge of the points would not be enough, the person executing the technique would have to know how to harness their own energy or chi, in order to make the strike truly effective.

Dim Mak is said to be a form of Bak Mei kung fu. Martial arts cinema fans have come to know him as the infamous White Lotus. You’re probably familiar with the white eyebrow champion from movies like FIST OF THE WHITE LOTUS. Bak Mei, the chief of the White Lotus clan killed his enemies with the 7-step-death-touch and 100-Pace-Punch. The victims who had been struck by Bak Mei would either die in 7 or 100 paces. There was a delayed reaction that Bak Mei had controlled. The movie strongly referenced pressure point fighting throughout and the protagonist defeats the White Lotus by striking his vital nerve.

A document named HIS YUAN LU which was published by the China review in 1874 supports the theory of delayed death. A core portion of this document covered vital points. The HIS YUAN LU was used as a reference for coroners while investigating a cause of death.

The document identifies two classes or groups of pressure points. The first, those that are struck cause immediate death. The second, which are points that are less significant; those that if they are struck, death may take several days from point of contact.

A Dim Mak practitioner may have struck Bruce Lee with this strike, intending to murder him, and avoided notice because of the delayed reaction.

During the movie BLOODSPORT, the protagonist is required to prove his worthiness to the tournament, by demonstrating the Dim Mak technique. What was actually executed, was a form of the Iron Palm technique. One of the few people in the United States who can actually execute the Dim Mak and Iron Palm techniques is Soke Grandmaster Irving Soto.

Irving Soto

Irving Soto is a 10th-degree black belt, who has studied Atemi Jujitsu for several years. He is a member of law enforcement and he has trained the federal police, FBI DEA, US Treasury and the Navy Seals. I sought out the Grandmaster to find the truth about these pressure point attacks.

Although he had started studying Atemi Jujitsu in Brooklyn, Irving would learn Iron Palm techniques from a teacher in Chinatown. He would use these techniques to give him the advantage in tournaments. He recalled his main reason for studying the technique, saying “My reason for studying Iron Palm, it was one of my techniques to knock out an individual.”

He then recalled the method his teacher suggested for preparing his body to execute the technique, which was reminiscent of scenes in the movie FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH.

“I would put sand in a grill, then stick my hands in there, and then work on the bags. I would then heat up the sand and add gravel. I did that for seven or eight years consecutively. Then when my hands got stronger, I added gravel and glass, and did that for a year, after that I added rocks, my hands got very strong. I was able to break bricks with my fingers” said Soto.

I asked Irving if it was possible to strike someone and for them to have a delayed death, and die a few days later.

“I have hit people in a demonstration and three days later, they tell me that they are coughing up blood” said Soto.

He recalled instances where those who have participated in demonstrations with him and have received an Iron Palm blow, have said that they have had to go to the hospital and doctors could not explain why their bodies were traumatized.

Irving then went on to explain that Atemi was the Japanese version of the Dim Mak technique. It was a technique which focused on the serves and pressure points within the body. He explained how real these pressure point attacks were, saying “It is a fact. It is a secret from the masters for many years. Many people stopped practicing Atemi for years. I was really fortunate my teacher taught me. It’s a proven fact, you can grab someone with a hand and with enough pressure, with a wrist lock, a man can die if you suppress that nerve. Most people don’t know this. This is something that that all martial arts [all forms] have, but people aren’t doing it… If I hit you below the fragment of your nose, on the bridge of your lip, you’re dead, if I hit you on the back of your neck, you’re dead! These are actual Atemi strikes. I have studied meridian and pressure points to the max, this is one of the things I am an expert at. I can contort and put pressure on your nerve and you will bleed and have a blood clot and die later. It is a dangerous art. I’m afraid to teach it. I only teach it to black belt level, but a lot of them don’t do the things I did to cultivate it” explained Soto.

It took Irving over thirty years to develop and cultivate the strike and make it effective. Irving then stressed one and important area of cultivation, saying “Breathing techniques. In order to learn how to hit someone, you have to learn how to breathe.”

I asked Irving about the death of Bruce Lee and if he was possibly killed by a pressure point strike. He said “I believe Bruce Lee was killed by a Dim Mak strike. According to Chinese people I know, he got into a fight with someone on the set. One guy challenged him and this guy was an expert on pressure points.”

In the highly unpublicized book UNSETTLED MATTERS: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BRUCE LEE” author Tom Bleeker suggest that Bruce Lee’s death may have been linked to organized crime. Various triads were after him because they wanted him to sign exclusive film contracts. There were others who were offended because Bruce Lee had not attended the funeral of his former teacher Ip Man because he was busy filming ENTER THE DRAGON.

Knowing that Dim Mak attacks are physically possible, I myself wonder who the unknown fighter is.

So there it is, or some of it. Hopefully, you will begin to see.Your greatest champion, your greatest hero; killed by me.

Now, when you hear the name Dim Mak or Death Touch, you think on me. I am the man, destroying a generations greatest hero, the “W” belongs to me.

Sparring now, heavily with Ellison’s champion; yes that is me.

Forget Douglas. Forget Toyko. I scored the greatest knockout in 73. I am Dim Mak, I am Bak Mei, I am Irving Soto, yes that is me.

I am the most unknown — the man who killed Bruce Lee.