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Dim Mak, (traditional Chinese: ??; simplified Chinese: ??; pinyin: dianmài; literally “press artery”; Jyutping: dim2 mak6), alternatively dianxuè (traditional Chinese: ??; simplified Chinese: ??), more famously known as the Death Touch, is an attack on pressure points and meridians in some styles of Chinese martial arts used which is said to incapacitate or sometimes cause a delayed or even immediate death to an opponent. The points of attack used in Dim Mak correspond to the same locations as acupuncture points and other Chinese healing arts.
There are many different legends concerning the origins of Dim Mak. Pier Tsui-po says secrets of Dim Mak were only passed along to close family members and trusted students, making professional trainers of authentic Dim Mak nearly impossible to find since Dim Mak isn’t a normal martial arts training activity.
Adherents of Dim Mak say that its practitioners are capable of inflicting serious harm to an individual by disrupting their qi or energy flow throughout their meridian channels, causing stagnation of qi, which in turn can lead to injury or death.
The technique depends on the ability to strike precise locations along an appropriate meridian at an appropriate time of day during which specific points are “open” and are thus vulnerable to attack. In these circumstances, certain vital points move throughout the day, and must be struck in relation to their position in the body at that particular time of the day, taking into account the circadian rhythm and associated changes in blood flow on or near the skin surface to have the desired effect. Thus, it is an easy matter for a novice to learn the stationary vital points, but to understand and use the “fatal” moving points in combat is akin to a relatively inexperienced person who can see the electronic elements in a diagram, but without the deep understanding of what they do individually or with each other.
Dim Mak is a practice whose validity is often held in doubt, due to its effects, use, and apparent potency. Some instructors like George Dillman are accused of being frauds, and demonstrations are viewed by some as little more than stage acts.