The information contained in this article is intended for instructional use only. Physically striking another person can cause serious injuries. Therefore, never physically strike another person. If you feel the need to hurt someone, consult a therapist because there is something wrong with you. If you hurt someone after consulting any material written by Robert Walsh or MonkeyFighter.com, it an act of your own devise. I, Robert Walsh or MonkeyFighter.com, are not responsible for the choices you make, the distruction you cause or illnesses you may have.
Dim-mak is the art of vital point striking and it is often associated with exotic warriors who have been training in some mysterious cult for decades oly to emerge later with the power to kill people with the touch of a finger. While this is the premise for a great kung fu flick, in real life, dim-mak can be performed by anyone; without the cult. All that is needed is a simple understaning for how it works.
Proficiency comes from knowing where to strike, how to strike it, when to strike it and what will happen when it is struck. With over three hundred points, this is a daunting, if not impossible, task for a novice. If one want to get anywhere with this art, it must be simplified and structured in a way that allows the practitioner to become immediately adept with its crude functionality while showing a clear path for its finer aspects. For example, blood choking a person in a headlock (the sleeper hold) is a crude form of dim-mak. However, stopping a person with a strike to the forearm is considerably more elegant. So, if you believe that the first statement is possible, then it is not impossible for you to learn to perform the latter.
A Place to Start
Before delving into the art of vital point fighting, one should have a fair understanding of some fighting techniques. Preferably, this would stem from practicing katas (structured sequences of movements appropriate for defending ones self). However, dim-mak modifies a fighting system like an adjective modifies a noun. So, no method of fighting is exempt from dim-mak modifacation. Any fighting style can be changed to include vital point attacks.
A good time to begin vital point training is when one first becomes comfortable defending ones self. Now, that doesn't mean you have to be Jackie Chan. You jst need to be able to deliver and parry a simple punch. That will form the foundation ofr the complex vital point striking system that will develop with continued study.
Acupuncture and Dim-Mak
Begin by becoming familiar with where to strike. Any acupuncture chart will show the location of vital points. These points are the same points struck for self defense. There are far more vital points on the chart than one would ever use when defending oneself. A good fighter may use only 30 points - only 1 is needed; but that is boring - so pick 3.
Don't fool yourself into thinking that you can learn all the points at once. It is better to know everything about a few points than to know a little about many. A crucial aspect of vital point fighting is to become adept with each point, one at a time, to avoid the inherent sloppiness associated with learning too much too fast.
Three Free Points
As mentioned previously, it is good to start learning dim-mak by studying three points simultaneously. This will help eliminate the monotony of having a single point in your repertoire while allowing you to practice advanced concepts which require more than one point. However, once you have nastered these three pionts, continue by learning one new point at a time.
The points you choose need to be useful alone and in conjunction with each other. Picking any three points at random would be futile. Therefore, an excellent set of three point is given here. And, needless to say, each point is useful alone and in conjunction with each other. And, those new to self defense can easily strike any of the points correctly.
One caveat of acupuncture charts is that they tend to show points in slightly removed locations. Thus, it is best to reference several charts and then, verify the locations of points by finding them on yourself.
A Method to the Madness
Once you are familiar with the location of these points, you can begin to learn the theories behind dim-mak. There is a lot of philosophy associated with vital point fighting ranging from the mundane (attacking a nerve) to the exotic (cycle of destrution). To cover all these concepts is beyond the scope of this article. Instead, this article is limited to three concepts (isolated effect, yin/yang and setups) that are intentionally kept pain and practical with the hope that they are easily understood.
The isolated effect of a point refers to the useful effect produced when a point is struck in isolation (without striking any other points). This only refers to the observable effect such as pain, weakness, or loss of consciousness. However, it is important to note that pain is not the isolated effect. Rather, the isolated effect is the result caused by inflicting the pain on a particular point. For example, stimulating Triple Warmer 11 (backside of the arm, just above the elbow) will cause ample pain (and a weakness in the elbow) in most people. This is useful when trapping an attacker with an arm-bar. The attacker will move downward away from the pain allowing the defender to pin the attacker to the floor. Law enforcement officers refer to this as 'pain compliance'.
Yin and Yang
Yin and yang are opposites and there is a significant amount of philosophy surrounding it. However, to keep things simple, the only part of the yin/yang philosophy discussed here is that of the physical body and how it can be separated into halves - the front half as opposed to the back half; the left as opposed to the right; top and bottom. The idea behind this concept is that points should be struck sequentially alternating between yin and yang strikes. So, when a point point is struck, a good follow up point would be one located on the opposite half of the body. This is a good rule of thumb and is easily performed in the 'heat of battle', but remember, the best follow-up point may not be on an opposing half of the body.
Imagine that your right forearm hurts from just being struck on Pericardium 6. While your mind busy focusing on subduing the pain in your forearm, your right bicep is struck adding to the pain. Since the bicep is on the same half of the body as your forearm, you have little problem focusing to subdue the added pain. In contrast, imagine that while your right forearm is throbbing with pain that your left ankle is kicked with a cowboy boot. Your mind will have greater difficulty dealing with this attack since it crosses two different halves - the top/bottom and left/right. This is the essence of yin and yang as it applies to the physical division of the body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine states that energy runs through the body along pathways known as meridians. The state of health of an individual is dependent upon a smooth flow of this energy. Anything that disrupts this balance affects ones health.
Stimulating a vital point is one way to disrupt the balance of energy within the body. However, the effect produced is dependent upon the current state of body - which, as previously stated, can be altered by striking a bital point. Thus, different results are produced when points are stimulated in a particular sequence. In other words, some points can be used to set the body in a state which leaves it vulnerable to an attack at another point. These points, which set the body into a vulnerable state, are the setup points.
Most setup points are used to make another point vulnerable to knockouts. Thus, the points used to achieve knockouts are known as knockout points. However, knockout points don't always produce a unconsciousness. A point may be known as a knockout point if the effect caused by striking the point grants a similar control grants a similar control over the fight, as would a knockout. An example of this is Triple Warmer 11. A hard strike to this point can cause the elbow to break. While this is not a knockout, most attackers lose the will to fight when their elbow is broken.
Some knockout points don't become vulnerable with a single setup point. Likewise, most knockout points become more vulnerable by attacking another point immediately after striking the setup point. Thus, the points used to increase the vulnerability of a knockout point can be referred to as setup points.
By now, you should have enough knowledge to perform easy dim-mak. Of course, some research is still required to become proficient. However, the following information should serve as a template for expanding your knowledge.
Although Pericardium 6 (P6) can be used alone, it seldom is. Therefore, P6 is almost always used as a setup point. In the example below, P6 is struck inward to cause the legs to go weak. This is an excellent time to kick the leg out from under the attacker. While nothing visually exotic took place, the attacker is laying on the ground thinking twice about running after you as you make your get away.