Vital Point Strikes by Sang H. Kim (the full title is “Vital Point Strikes: The Art and Science of Striking Vital Targets for Self-defense and Combat Sports”) is an interesting book to brows, but I got disappointed with it for number of reasons.
First: Information about 409 vital points are comprehensive enough for non-medical text, but too excessive for martial art book: for martial arts application you don’t need to know all intricate details of live meridians, but you need to know what surface aria to strike, press, or grab to inflict desired effect. Over-detailed presentation (and impossible practical attempts to follow it) is exactly a reason for vital point strikes to be seen as a mythical thing from martial art’s ferry tails.
As it (correctly) stated by many (see for example “The Way of Kata” by Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder), strikes at vital point are the bonus. In the rash of fight you can’t rely on it alone as you will NOT have calm to exercise needed precision on moving un-cooperated target (not to mention that adrenalin rash of you “target” will increase his pain-tolerance well above normal level). Well, the bottom line is that vital point strikes can't be the basis of your combat stratagy.
Second: Application techniques showing author’s competitive (sport) Ta Kwan Do background that supersedes any other training, he received (I have no doubt that he received military H2H training). This is how it should be, but unfortunately he’s not filtering out “sport only” techniques, like round kick in a head, that, by all accounts, are too risky to be used in real-life fight (self-defense and combat sport applications, both are suggested by the title, aren't clearly separated which by itself is troublesome). In the ground-fighting he’s missing “feel” for simple balance distracting moves that will render some of his proposed applications useless (what he’s showing can be done, but rare if ever never needs to).
Third: Author’s knife and handgun defense applications seriously missing their purpose.
Knife defense is presented in “duel” or “threatening” scenario. This definitely can happened in a “gang life” when two “wolfs” are fighting for dominance, but not in self-defense situations facing law-abiding folks or even in police or military situations (in such cases “expected” scenario is “unexpected” attack out of “nowhere”).
Gun defense also proposed in scenarios where compliance (to a point) will work batter. But, well, things happened – if compliance mean to get into kidnaper’s car, you better fight. However, he’s omitting critical details, such keeping contact with the gun and… (Well, book review is not a good place to go into details; see handgun defense)