Excerpted from Vital Point Striking: The Art and Science of Striking Vital Targets for Self-defense and Combat Sports by Sang H. Kim
A vital point is a pressure sensitive point on or near the surface of the human body. Vital points function like gateways to the nervous system, the main controller of the body, allowing you to use pain to influence the actions and reactions of an opponent. Even a single strike can cause serious damage, unconsciousness or, in rare cases, death.
For example, a forceful strike into the Wind Mansion (GV16) at the base of the brain can result in instant death. The gallbladder (on the right side of the trunk, below the liver) and the Sauce Receptacle (CV24) on the tip of the chin are targets for potential knockout blows in boxing. The carotid artery, temple and Philtrum are common targets for striking in a selfdefense situation.
Vital Points Can Shut Down the System
Because the human body is a highly complicated interconnected system, it is vulnerable to attacks that disable key points of the system, thereby causing systemwide failure. By attacking one of the vital regions of the body, you can paralyze the entire system.
Particularly damaging are attacks on the nervous system. When the nervous system becomes disabled, so does the rest of the body. Injuries to the brain and spinal cord are among the most lethal. A relatively minor injury, like a concussion causes a temporary loss of mental faculties while a serious injury, like a severance of the spinal cord can cause permanent paralysis or death. Because it attacks a key area of the human system with a specific objective, a vital point strike can turn a physical brawl into a tactical fight and render an opponent powerless.
Self-defense and Vital Points
Generally in fighting, size, power, speed, and aggression matter. In order to survive, you need to have something that makes you superior to your opponent. Physically, it is nearly impossible to always be the bigger, stronger fighter. Size is relative. If you are 5 feet tall, you may encounter an opponent who is 6 feet tall or 4 feet tall so your size and power can only be effective relative to a situation. Your knowledge and fighting strategy, however, are constant.
By practicing and understanding vital point strikes, your striking power can be 3 to 5 times more effective than randomly striking an opponent.
The key to successful vital point striking is combining technical knowledge of the human body with physical precision. For example, a strike to the carotid artery in the neck can knock out an opponent in a matter of seconds. Vital point striking can help you overcome a deficit in size and power.
The question then is how accurately and forcefully you can strike a lunging, moving, resisting opponent. With practice and knowledge, you can improve your speed and accuracy, increasing the possibility that in a real confrontation you could strike a successful vital point blow.