Applying pressure to vital points (called Kansetsu in Japanese) includes joint manipulation, limb entanglement and gauging/digging/seizing nerves, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. These are all designed to attack anatomically vulnerable areas such as head, neck, fingers, arm, and wrist.
Kansetsu techniques are effective for those students of smaller stature e.g. females, as these techniques do not require strength or big movements. Instead these techniques rely on an understanding of the body’s vulnerabilities and exploiting these opportunities. More specifically a small defender can use to their advantage weapons such as bony elbows to inflict significant pain.
These techniques are particularly useful on the ground or in close range combat as it focuses on anatomical structures. They are easy to apply, don’t require strength and can be used in most close range conflict situations.
Pressure point strikes are valuable in controlling a situation rather than escalating one. These techniques can also vary in their intended effect, ranging from inflicting extreme pain (as when faced with a violent attacker) to more subtle controlling techniques (such as handling “drunk Uncle Phil”).