Legend, fantasy, tall tales, movie and television fight scenes and ignorance have all contributed to the misconceptions and cult stories about the secret deadly blows known only to an elect few of the masters of the martial arts.
Among the myths, legends and misconceptions which are solemnly repeated as though they were factual are those of the master who could reach in with his dagger hand and pluck out a still-beating heart, or pull the spine out of the living body of his adversary.
There is the tale of the death without contact and the terrible and mysterious seven-year death. One of the most widely circulated misconceptions is that a blow upward under the nose can cause death by driving the nasal bones into the brain.
CAN NASAL BONES BE DRIVEN INTO THE BRAIN?
This piece of nonsense can be disproved by looking at the human skull structure in an anatomy book, or by examining a skull in an anatomy class.
Any sufficiently powerful blow to the head could be fatal. But the cause of death from a forceful blow up under the nose would not be related to nasal bones driven into the brain. Fatality would result from shock transmitted to the brain.
Most of the nose is not bone but cartilage.
The bones of the nose are more fragile than the surrounding skull structure. A forceful blow would fracture the nasal bones more easily than it would fracture the skull. Even if the nasal bones were intact there is no channel through which they could enter the brain. The only entrances to the brain from the angle of an upward blow are the passages for nerves and blood vessels and they are much too small to accommodate nasal bones. So while it is possible to deliver a fatal blow by striking up under the nose, death would not result from bones entering the brain but from concussion or ruptured blood vessels
Excerpt from Self-Defense nerve centres