One of the joys of researching a topic in depth are the little gems of knowledge you often uncover. Several years back I camp upon a reference to a manuscript that was translated by Herbert Giles. One of the reasons this caught my eye was the name of Herbert Giles. He was one of the men responsible for developing the Romanization of Chinese (Wade-Giles).
Then there was the title, “Instructions to the Corner” or “Records of the Washing Away of Unjust Imputations”. With a Masters degree in Criminology I began to wonder what type of forensic information might be discussed in an old Chinese manuscript. The “Hisng Yuan Lu” dates from the reign of Shun Yu (1241 – 1253) and was written by Sung Tzhu. Giles first came across this work while stationed at Ningpo in 1873 and subsequently translated this text. It was then published in the “China Review” in 1874 and later republished in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine” in 1924. Once I acquired a copy of the translation I quickly scanned the text and to my pleasure there were two charts showing vital points! Not here indeed was something to look at. A text that dated from the mid 1200’s, translated into English in 1874 that clearly addressed vital points. This may be the earliest text in the English language that mentions vital points. Consider, the “Hisng Yuan Lu” made available to us information on vital points forty eight years prior to the introduction of Karate into Japan by Gichin Funakoshi in 1922. Also, remember there are a number of books published in the early 1900’s that clearly discuss and demonstrate the use of vital point techniques.