The move was developed by quarry workers, and it is utilitarian in nature; through intense mental training, the user can detect invisible "fault lines" in inanimate matter, allowing them to destroy such matter with a touch of the finger. Although not directly useful in combat, the technique dramatically increases the martial artist's resilience as a side-effect of the training; inured to physical impact, the trainee can shrug off blows that would normally hurt other people.
The training is brutal; the trainee is suspended in mid-air via a rope harness, with only one finger free to strike with. A sizable boulder, similarly suspended, is then swung at the trainee; they have one chance to strike it before it slams into them. The trainee batters themselves against the boulder, time and time again, until they learn how to destroy the boulder with just the strike of their finger, instinctively toughening themselves against both the boulder's impact and the shrapnel from when they do manage to explode it.
It is also possible for the technique to be modified to work on other materials. In the manga's Mushrooms of Time Arc, Ryoga displays a variant for exploding wooden floors. In the anime, Cologne uses a variant of the move to disintegrate a falling steel I-beam in her initial appearance, and another to explode a log into an ear-pick in Ranma Trains on Mt. Terror.
Genma Saotome claims that a variant exists that allows the Breaking Point to be used to kill living beings. However, Cologne contradicts this in the ending for The Breaking Point!? Ryoga's Great Revenge, where she assures Ranma that the Bakusai Tenketsu has no effect on living beings. This discrepancy can be explained by the fact Genma Saotome does not actually know the move by anything other than rumor, as he freely states that the technique would be part of the Saotome School of Anything Goes Martial Arts if he knew it.