Bannon Institute of Combat Neuroscience
Integrating Medical, Martial and Media Arts
                  About the Institute



   Body - Mind - Spirit 


"A Partnership For Mission Success"




Dear Prospective Martial Arts Student, Writer, Film Producer, Actor or Seminar Host,



Welcome to the Bannon Institute of Combat Neuroscience® where Medical Science, Neuropsychology, Media Arts, and the Martial Arts are integrated  as one. 


The Bannon Institute is a Southern California based Professional Research, Development, Consulting, and Training Corporation which develops customized training and educational curriculum, as well as film and literary specific technical advising.


All programs are designed to positively impact and empower individuals or groups. The Institute provides bonifide technical accuracy and tactical superiority in an effort to increase the odds of success and survival to any high risk military or para-military operation; executive protection team; specialized law enforcement mission; or traditional civilian martial arts training and self defense program.



The Institute's Primary Mission ~



What We Do ~ Empower and Train people to protect themselves, their mission, and their loved ones; as well as to protect the integrity and realistic accuracy of film and literary projects.


How We Do It ~ Many students who train in the martial arts or study a script for a part in a movie, study and memorize movements (forms / techniques / speech lines) by simply inputting information into the human brain's frontal cortex. Unfortunately, under the stress of an attack or the "heat of a moment;" most of this "stored information" is not readily accessible from this area of the brain. It is the Limbic System of the brain that dominates during this time of passion or stress. Therefore; in order to be ready for and naturally respond to a stressful event; the Limbic System must be 100% involved in the training. The techniques presented at the Bannon Institute; focus on this Limbic System of the brain which actually reroutes the brain's circuitry in an effort to make our natural responses more tactically effective and efficient.


Why We Do It ~ To expose false securities that people tend to develop through frontal cortex based training and to prepare them for either real life combat or technically realistic film productions.



Combat Neuroscience® ~ 



Combat Neuroscience® is a term introduced to the martial arts community by the Bannon Institute in 2005 to explain the psychological, physiological and neuromuscular changes and attributes that preexist and take place during a violent encounter; whether it be on a foreign battlefield, or on a city street. This concept has also been referred to as "fog of war," "combat stress," or "tachypsychia." This important element to martial arts training is often overlooked, misunderstood or minimized in many training curriculums.


It was this research concept, program development, and training methodology, that paved the way for the induction of the Bannon Institute into the United States Martial Artist Hall of Fame as "Pioneer of the Year" in 2009 for "scientifically improving the effectiveness of the martial arts in general at the human brain level." 



Therapeutic vs. Tactical Combat Neuroscience® ~


  • Therapeutic Combat Neuroscience® is used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in soldiers, law enforcement officers or any other individual who suffers from the effects of battle, or other traumatic event that they may have experienced.

  • Tactical Combat Neuroscience® is used to reprogram the human brain to respond more effectively during combat by creating combative mindsets and redirected neural pathways within the part of the brain that is stimulated during a "fight or flight" syndrome. If the brain fails in combat; so will the body and any weapon or technique that is being used by the body. Thus the traditional term, "Body - 'MIND' - Spirit."

Surgical Strike System of Dim Mak Gung Fu® ~


The Surgical Strike System of Dim Mak Gung Fu® is the proprietary fighting and defense system of the Bannon Institute. This fighting and defense system is a modern application of an ancient Chinese Medicine based martial art simply referred to over the years as "Dim Mak."

Although the original intent of Dim Mak was to produce devastating damage including a high probability of lethality to an enemy opponent; the word does not literally translate to "Death Touch" as many have presented the concept to the Western World. The word Dim Mak is more accurately translated to mean "Pressure Point Attack" or "Attack of the Body's Most Vulnerable Points." Dim Mak has been known as a "Secret Martial Art" for centuries. But once something is accurately and scientifically explained, it is no longer a secret. Institutions such as Harvard University have done excellent research in this field and can articulate the science of Dim Mak as a form of what the Western World Academia refers to as Neurology or Neuroscience. Oriental Medicine Experts can explain it even more accurately.

There is no proposed magic to this art. The truth of the matter is that the human body inherently contains some very vulnerable nervous system and energy system points that when struck or manipulated in a certain way, will produce devastating results to the well being of an individual. Dim Mak has also been referred to as "Black Medicine" where "Acupuncture" has been viewed as "White Medicine." Dim Mak has also been referred to as Acupuncture's "Evil Twin Sister."

The "Five Tigers" or  "Five Basic Elements" of Dim Mak ~

  1. Tearing, Ripping, or Causing Severe Pain of Tendons, Ligaments, and Muscles.
  2. Dislocation or Destruction of Joints and Breaking of Bones.
  3. Sealing (Occlusion) of the Breath (Respiratory System).
  4. Sealing of the Veins and Arteries (Circulatory System).
  5. Cavity Press and Pressure Point Attack of the Chi (Ki) Energy System. 

Element number "5" is where much of the confusion of Dim Mak has come from over the years and does require some education in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Principles to fully comprehend it. Simply put - "An Eastern Philosophy cannot be fully understood or explained by a Western Mindset." This is what Bruce Lee meant when he asked us to "Empty Our Cup" and "Taste a New Flavor of Tea."

Please see the "Surgical Strike" page for a more detailed explanation.  


Reality Based Training ~



All of our programs conform to the survival concept of "reality based" training. Unfortunately in today's training world, many so called "fool-proof" martial arts techniques that are taught in a controlled environment just don't work in the heat of battle. Nobody said it better than Israeli Special Forces Commando Avi Nardia; "It is better to remain a student of reality, than to become a master of illusion." We base our training programs on reality, not illusion.


In plain words, "don't spend countless hours memorizing and practicing 'survival techniques' that appear to work in a controlled training environment (school), with a cooperative training partner (friend), that either won't work or have not been tested in an uncontrolled environment (street or battlefield), with an uncooperative and hostile assailant (enemy), when the attack is spontaneous and unexpected, with no rules, referees, or tap outs."


All of our training programs are custom tailored to meet the needs of the individual client, group, corporation or government agency.   



We Offer Training, Consulting, Red Cell Testing, and Program Development in the Following Unique Specialty Areas:


  • Naturopathic Medical and Holistic Healing Arts.
  • Actor Training and Character Role Preparation.
  • Hollywood Film and Literary Script Review and Technical Advising.
  • Presidential and Heads of State Level Executive Protection Training.
  • Psychological Stress and PTSD Management and Debriefing Programs.
  • Gun / Knife Fighting, General Combat, and Combative Firearms Training. 
  • Mortal Combat, Small Team and High Risk Martial Arts Warfare Training.
  • Individual, Family, Small Group, Government and Corporate Training Programs.
  • Military, Para-Military and Specialized Law Enforcement Close Quarter Combatives.
  • Martial Arts and Self Protection Programs for Both the Government and General Public.


The Meaning of Our Logo As Seen Above ~ 


  • “Ancient Shaolin Wisdom coupled with Modern Medical Science” is the phrase which describes the knowledge of the old world (Yin) pairing up with the knowledge and technology of the new world (Yang) and that both together are better than either one by itself. Albert Einstein said, "science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind." The same stands true with the martial arts. Martial arts were originally designed to be a "Lifestyle" and "Holistic" in nature, while cooperating with the laws of physics.
  • The black background that these words are written on represents the darkness or secrecy of this highly protected knowledge over many centuries that were only passed down from ancient family to family. The red outer circles represent the blood that was shed over the years by the families and clans who were protecting the essence of these secrets both relative to mortal combat and healing. They gave their lives to protect themselves, their loved ones, this secret knowledge, their martial and healing arts, and their beliefs.
  • The gold inner circle or disc represents the sun and the Chi energy of the universe. Some call “Chi” the Holy or Creative Spirit of God or of the Universe. This is the life-force that permeates every living being on this planet. Healing restores the balance of Chi causing life. Dim Mak or Destruction imbalances the Chi and causes injury or death. But the same energy is used to accomplish either end point – it is only the intent of the practitioner's mind and hand at the time that is different.
  • The “Surgical Strike System” of Shaolin Dim Mak – Gung Fu™ is predicated upon the ancient martial arts principle of Economy of Effort. The practitioners of the arts taught at the Shaolin Temple (495 AD) referred to this concept as “One Hit – One Kill” or “One Hit – One Knockout” utilizing medical and scientific concepts to facilitate immediate overwhelming destruction and incapacitation in the body, mind and spirit of their opponent. The martial art of Dim Mak also referred to as “Death Touch” focuses on attacking the most vulnerable and devastating acupuncture points and vulnerable locations on the human body. The word Gung Fu is more correctly pronounced in the Chinese language with the English "G" rather than the familiar "K" sound.
  • The Chinese character located over the thumb means “poison.” The other Chinese character located underneath the small finger translates to the word “hand.” Both together present the concept of "Poison Hand" which is an ancient Chinese concept used historically only within the most lethal of all the martial arts. The original intent of the martial arts was to maim, cripple, kill and destroy. We do have to consider its righteous application in our current litigious modern times however.
  • The morphing of the venomous snake from within the "white light" healing hand represents the Yin - Yang concept of - “the same hand that heals one person will kill another” depending on the intent of the practitioner and the environmental need of the situation at the time.

Medical and Healing Arts ~ 



Although the Bannon Institute does not "practice" medicine per se; it offers classes, seminars, individual, group, or university level consultation in most areas of Medical Science, Holistic Healing, Oriental Medicine, Nutrition, Exercise, Physical Fitness, Overall Wellness and Integration of the Body, Mind, Spirit Triagram. Theocentric Spiritual and Clinical Psychology, Anatomy, Combat Stress Physiology (Physio-Psychology), Behavioral Science and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Management. 



Martial and Specialized Combat Arts ~ 



The Institute is sanctioned by the United States Martial Artist Association (USMAA) as an officially recognized martial arts advanced training academy with the authority to grant rank, certifications, colored belts or sashes to any of its domestic or international students. These USMAA approved ranks and certifications are recognized anywhere in the world. All combative, defensive and survival programs are based on the concepts used in Secret Service Presidential Protection Philosophy such as "Situational Awareness" and "Conflict Avoidance." When a physical confrontation is absolutely unavoidable; the Chinese Medical Based Martial Art Concepts of Dim Mak (Pressure Point Fighting) and Neuropsychological "Brain / Body Desynchronization" also known as "Brain Fighting,"™ become the basis of all of our training programs. The intent is to terminate an attack as quickly as possible while expending the least amount of effort. 



Media, Consulting and Technical Arts ~ 

The Bannon Institute offers complete technical advising and consultation for film, literary, and screenplay projects as well as actor role training, script review and scene choreography. Our technical advisors put the "real in the reel."


Prior Hollywood Film Productions (click here)


History ~



The Bannon Institute was founded in 2004 by Grandmaster and (13) Time United States and International Hall of Fame Inductee, Joseph F. Bannon, who's vision was to reclaim the original essence and effectiveness of the ancient martial arts that in some cases, have been diluted and taught incorrectly over many centuries. Most martial arts movements and mindsets have hidden meanings and subtle nuances that are rarely understood by the western world. These hidden meanings and mindsets are the true power and effectiveness behind any striking technique or counter attack response.


The projects promoted by The Bannon Institute are overseen by a corporate advisory board of distinguished experts referred to as "The Council of Masters."


Grandmaster Joseph F. Bannon is the Founder and CEO of the Bannon Institute. He  holds the rank of Judan (10th Degree Black Belt) and is certified by the United States Martial Artist Association (USMAA) Board of Elders as a Sijo (Head of Style) and a Martial Arts Supreme Grandmaster.  



All Rights Reserved. Bannon Institute. Copyright © 2004.