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Tau
Tau's picture
"One punch knockout power"

I'm hoping some of you can dispel a myth, or indeed endorse the truth,

So, hitting the mandible from almost any angle with enough power will illicit a knockout. Great. 

I don't fight full contact and I've been lucky enough to avoid nasty situations since leaving school. I've never KO'd anyone although I've "buzzed" people with a knock to the mandle and indeed with strikes to the temple, occiput and so on.

I watch MMA. The comentators talk about "one punch knockout power" and we see fighters taking strikes to the jaw with little effect. How likely is it that the average Martial Artist could achieve a knockout via a single strike to the jaw? Assuming it's a clean hit, of course.

PASmith
PASmith's picture

I think there are just way too many variables to say for certain.

In MMA for example there are fighters known for their "chins" (Mark Hunt, Chris Leben) and fighters known for being easier to KO (Andrei Alovski). The power needed to KO Mark Hunt is markedly different from the power needed to KO Arlovski.

There are fighters known as KO artists (Paul Daley) and fighters know as volume punchers (The Diaz brothers). But when Diaz fought Daley it was Nick Diaz that got the KO.

So a fighter being decribed as having "one punch knockout power" is partly due to who the fighter has fought in the past.

The thing I think is that, a strong, clean shot to the jaw will do "something". Probably not a KO in many cases but certainly something beneficial for the striker. Even if it's just a momentary window to hit the guy again!

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

Tau wrote:

How likely is it that the average Martial Artist could achieve a knockout via a single strike to the jaw? Assuming it's a clean hit, of course.

I think you've got to take the element of surprise into account when discussing knockouts. In an MMA bout both fighters are amped up and are, if not actually expecting to get hit, not going to be shocked to take some shots.

In a civilian self-protection situation a good blow to the jaw that the aggressor doesn't see coming can be most effective.

Mark B
Mark B's picture

Hi all,

A clean knockout is achievable, whether by a Martial Artist or an ''untrained'' individual. As  Lee says, the element of surprise is key, a clean knockout will be more likely from an untelegraphed pre-emptive strike than from impact delivered ''in-fight''. The reason is quite simple, if an opponent fails to see, and therefore respond to a strike with decent impact, brainshake will be achieved because the head, being attached to the neck will be easy to move. If, however the opponent has the chance to flinch, however small, he will instinctively tense his body, meaning you are now delivering impact into his entire body mass, rather than just the jaw/head which will greatly reduce brainshake. The impact may rock the opponent, but it won't knock them out.

Peter Consterdine tells us that by utilising the ''slap'' with open hand, rather than a closed fist, and delivering significant impact to the side of an opponents face/ear knockout can be achieved not so much by brainshake, as by overloading the sensory capacity of the brain, forcing shutdown.

Tau, for some excellent footage of real world, pre-emptive knockouts I would direct you to the forum on John Skillens website. you will need to join before you can view the content but much of the footage on there will pretty much answer your own question, plus its a great forum populated by excellent people.

All the best'

Mark

Tau
Tau's picture

Thanks, guys.

shoshinkanuk
shoshinkanuk's picture

One of the areas we focus on alot is what I term 'breaking the armour', effectivly opening people up to a finishing blow - this assumes a reactive responce mostly and one which is most typical in actual violent defence, for most of us.

Pre-emptive striking is another subject entirly IMO. Theres a time and a place for that for sure.

However this does not change the 'need to develop power' focus for us all, that is a given IMO but it is not the only, or indeed the most important skill - not getting knocked out has to be more significant IMO.

Dale Elsdon
Dale Elsdon's picture

Hello all,

This is my first post on this forum so I hope I have not broken any rules, written or otherwise in posting here. Apologies if I have. I will waffle a bit then answer the original post.

A sudden ‘KO’ can be caused by a number of factors including an increase in intracranial pressure (vascular choke, haemorrhagic stroke/aneurysm), a drop in blood pressure, or a blast shockwave, however these are unlikely to be the cause of a KO punch. The theory I have most often heard for the KO punch is that the brain ‘bounces around inside the skull’ thus producing the KO. Despite this being a commonly accepted mechanism by medical Doctors I tend to believe this is not the full story, and will discuss my reasoning below.

1. The brain is a pretty snug fit in the skull and it is encased in fluid, which fills the space around it with no air bubbles, thus protecting the brain from slamming into the side of the skull every time we change direction. For this theory to be correct the mechanism by which the KO was achieved would be a rapid change of direction causing brain injury. We know that KO’s don’t often occur in motor-sports, where participants wear neck braces, despite high-speed impacts and rapid deceleration accidents.

2. There are many people who suffer traumatic brain injury without a loss of consciousness. An example of this is soccer/football players who ‘head’ the ball or incur head injuries from tackles without a KO. If ‘bouncing the brain around’ was the only mechanism for KO then the ‘sweet spot’ would be the temporal region, where there is the highest chance for shockwave transfer to the brain due to its relatively flat surface.

3. As discussed in previous posts some of the more common places to administer an effective KO strike, such as the mandible, would not seem sufficient to cause enough direct force transference to ‘bounce the brain around inside the skull’.

Now, to be clear, I am not suggesting that brain trauma never causes a KO but rather I am suggesting that this is may not be the most common, or reliable, mechanism for the ‘KO punch’.

In observing KOs in fight-sports or in actual acts of violence I have observed that a KO most commonly occurs when there is likely to be traction, torsion or compression of the brainstem at the atlanto-occipital (AO) or atlanto-axial joints, that is where the brainstem exits the skull through a relatively small hole and enters the spinal column.

If you look at the skull in profile, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is positioned just anterior to the foramen magnum, the hole where the brainstem exits the skull. A left hook thrown at the side of the mandible would cause a ‘Chinese burn’ effect on the brain stem or torsion, as the head rotates while the body remains relatively still. If one were to ‘roll with the punch’ then this effect is negated and a KO is unlikely.

A jab, straight or cross, thrown at the point of the chin, causes a sudden flexion of the neck and an opening of the AO angle causing traction on the brain stem. A nice uppercut to the chin would cause sudden extension of the neck and closing of the AO angle and traction to the brainstem.

Having discussed this the mechanism behind the old fashioned ‘Rabbit punch’ or tegatana/shuto strike to the occiput needs no further explanation.

The Peter Consterdine 'slap' may well be an example of a KO by sensory overload or shock transfer directly to the brain, but it also may be due to lateral translation of the head on the AO joint. The research also tells us that there is some relationship between rupture of the tympanic membrane (ear drum) and brain injury in blast victims, so perhaps there is something to this also.

As one of my students says, "I don't care how it works, I just care if it works!".

So, to answer the original post, the MMA fighters you see getting hit in the jaw without being KO’d have a number of things going for them, such as good muscular development in their necks, an awareness that they are likely to be hit, and the experience to either brace against or roll with the punches.

I apologise if I have been patronising or if I am ‘preaching to the choir’, and I hope my first post has been useful to someone.

 

Regards,

Dale Elsdon

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

Dale Elsdon - Wow! Fantastic post! Welcome to the forum.

Dale Elsdon
Dale Elsdon's picture

Lee Richardson wrote:

Dale Elsdon - Wow! Fantastic post! Welcome to the forum.

Thanks!

ky0han
ky0han's picture

Hi everyone,

Dale Elsdon wrote:
In observing KOs in fight-sports or in actual acts of violence I have observed that a KO most commonly occurs when there is likely to be traction, torsion or compression of the brainstem at the atlanto-occipital (AO) or atlanto-axial joints, that is where the brainstem exits the skull through a relatively small hole and enters the spinal column.

If you look at the skull in profile, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is positioned just anterior to the foramen magnum, the hole where the brainstem exits the skull. A left hook thrown at the side of the mandible would cause a ‘Chinese burn’ effect on the brain stem or torsion, as the head rotates while the body remains relatively still. If one were to ‘roll with the punch’ then this effect is negated and a KO is unlikely.

A jab, straight or cross, thrown at the point of the chin, causes a sudden flexion of the neck and an opening of the AO angle causing traction on the brain stem. A nice uppercut to the chin would cause sudden extension of the neck and closing of the AO angle and traction to the brainstem.

Dale, could it also be the result of a kind of passive traumatising the medulla oblongata (MO)? A severe impact to the head can cause a kind of whiplash which affects the MO.

The only other point that works reliably is the carotid sinus. It doesn't even matter if you do it slow via strangulation or fast via a shuto blow (or something else).

Regards Holger 

Tau
Tau's picture

Dale: very useful and considered post - thanks. Certainly food for thought.

To clarify, "brain bouncing around inside the head." This is indeed a significant part of a head injury. When I examine victims of head injury one of my main questions is the point of impact and the point of headache, if any. If the impact was to the forehead and the headache is anterior then great, it's likely to be a minor head injury that I'll discharge with written advice. When there's pain to the opposing point, this is caused by "brain shake." Bear in mind that the inside of the skull has several bony protuberances which would seem a bit of an evolutionary error. This is a "contra-coup" injury and required A&E referral and likely a CT scan.

Where an injury is significant enough to cause contra-coup, there is usually also also whiplash, which is consistent with your text.

This is why it is *thought* that G&P is actually less dangerous than it appears - the head may be braced against the floor and so forces are transmitted through the head into the floor with little brain shake. Implications to this - proprioceptive elbow strikes (E.G. in Heian Yondan) - should the feeling hand be withdrawn in order to maximise brain shake / neck hyper-movement? I would argue not since by using the feeling hand you retain control, but that thought remains.

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

Tau wrote:

Proprioceptive elbow strikes (E.G. in Heian Yondan) - should the feeling hand be withdrawn in order to maximise brain shake / neck hyper-movement? I would argue not since by using the feeling hand you retain control, but that thought remains.

The way we train elbows is to locate with the off hand and to 'pass' the head to the striking elbow so as not to brace the target on impact. We aim to make this as small and quick a movement as possible and do not withdraw the hand in case we need to relocate and continue striking.

Neil Cook
Neil Cook's picture

Hi All,

First of all, what is the average martial artist? if we assume that the average is practising with impact equipment, using the right mindset and training for the environment to expect in SD, then i say YES, you can deffinately get knock out power. I havn't had to do this myself but i believe whole heartedly that i can generate the power needed, whether i get it right at that moment is another matter.

After a very quick search on youtube i found this example, i can't for sure how much training the 'hitter' had but you may be able to see clues to say he has ( positioning of feet, use of hands) I don't think you can get anymore knockout than this guys.

http://youtu.be/wSal-bK1rqw

I also agree with what has beeen said earlier about sport fighters (mma/k1) are expecting that there opponent is trying to knock them out so that alone will have an effect. Below is a link to a video you may have seen, an mma fighter gets knockout before that match starts, i don't think he was expecting that.

Neil

Just to be clear, these is an example the knockout power that can be generated, i am in no way endorsing them.

Dale Elsdon
Dale Elsdon's picture

Tau wrote:

Dale: very useful and considered post - thanks. Certainly food for thought.

To clarify, "brain bouncing around inside the head." This is indeed a significant part of a head injury. When I examine victims of head injury one of my main questions is the point of impact and the point of headache, if any. If the impact was to the forehead and the headache is anterior then great, it's likely to be a minor head injury that I'll discharge with written advice. When there's pain to the opposing point, this is caused by "brain shake." Bear in mind that the inside of the skull has several bony protuberances which would seem a bit of an evolutionary error. This is a "contra-coup" injury and required A&E referral and likely a CT scan.

Where an injury is significant enough to cause contra-coup, there is usually also also whiplash, which is consistent with your text.

This is why it is *thought* that G&P is actually less dangerous than it appears - the head may be braced against the floor and so forces are transmitted through the head into the floor with little brain shake. Implications to this - proprioceptive elbow strikes (E.G. in Heian Yondan) - should the feeling hand be withdrawn in order to maximise brain shake / neck hyper-movement? I would argue not since by using the feeling hand you retain control, but that thought remains.

Hello Tau,

You are of course correct that the 'bouncing of the brain' is a significant part of head injury, but not necessarily the mechanism behind the KO punch. That is not to say that contra-coup injuries are not likely in a KO, just that in my opinion they are more likely from a head trauma resulting from the fall rather than being the KO punch mechanism.

You are also likely to be aware that in assessing trauma victims for cervical fracture the second question asked after "do you have pain in your neck?" is "did you lose consciousness at any point?", this is due to the strong relationship between cervical injury/whiplash and LOC, as you mentioned.

As for G&P being less dangerous than it appears I tend to think that the opposite may indeed be true, for the very reasons you mention. As always this is just my opinion which I will explain below.

G&P usually happens with the receiver in a supine positionwith their neck flexed, which puts their head off the ground. A blow to the head in this position may not result in a KO in most cases, as the neck is flexed and therefore braced, giving the illusion of safety. However, once a KO is achieved then the head has the double impact of fist to head then head to floor, which would result in the contra-coup brain trauma you described. An even worse case scenario is when the floor acts similar to a headrest in a car and the fighter recieves multiple brain-shaking punches without being KO'd because the neck is relatively stabilised. The lack of KO effect, despite looking safer to an outside observer, means the fighter endures repeated brain trauma. Is this better or worse than the boxers KO where they hit their head on the floor from a height? I honestly don't know. I do however know that most professional football/soccer players have multiple brain lesions as a result of repeated low grade head injuries without LOC.

I would go so far as to say that in MMA fights an early G&P KO actually may prevent the greater brain injury and save a fighter from brain lesions in the long term. Obviously the same is not true in a combative situation outside of a sporting context where remaining conscious is of the highest priority.

Lastly, the mechanism behind the carotid sinus causing a KO is different again and is most likely due to nervous system shock (striking to the vagus nerve) and stimulation of carotid baroreceptors, which would register a sudden raise in blood pressure (BP) to the head and cause LOC in order to lower the BP. The vagus nerve also has an effect on the regulation of BP.

Regards, Dale Elsdon

JWT
JWT's picture

Great thread and really interesting perspectives.

I spoke in anothe thread of my preference for cradling the head because I have found that it causes a rebound effect and a greater likelihood of a knockout.  What I suspect is happening though, based on the posts above, is that the cradle is imperfect.  Rather than being protected from movement, the head moves fast with the strike, but after a short movement (one to two inches)  it then connects with another surface (a hand, a forearm, a wall) - because of the momentum this impact has the effect of a second strike, sending the head back towards the original striking surface where it connects as a 'third strike'.  This means three separate shockwaves (although decreasing in intensity)  in 3 directions pass through the skull and I think this is the reason that I have found it more likely to cause a KO.  The brain is essentially rocking on the brian stem within the skull.  By contrast while strikes without a rebound at certain angles can cause KOs, the ability of the head to roll can often mitigate the trauma to the brain stem.  Personally I have found the slap to GB20, the rabbit punch and a direct hit to the top of the skull to be the best angles I've seen to cause KOs - all of which really jar the brain stem.  I don't use uppercuts much, but we do train a type of palm thrust under the chin that I think would jerk the head back so severely as to cause a KO.

With regard to G&P I had the unfortunate experience back in 1996 of being held down in a pub and receiving a beating.  I took a large number of mounted punches to the face which chipped my front teet, cracked my jaw, broke my nose and gave me beautiful black eyes.  During this my head was pulled back (by someone else - it was a lovely tourist v locals situation), by the hair and my arms were pinned down.  My head and neck were braced.  I watched each punch come in and had no dizziness or loss of consciousness whatsoever.

edit - that's not something I try on a regular basis. smiley Just anecdotal evidence that strikes to the head that do not affect the brain stem do not cause knockouts!  I've not repeated the experience.

Les_Lacey
Les_Lacey's picture

CCTV footage of the last moments of Andrew Malloy, who died in March after being hit by a single punch outside a pub in Oldham. His family are backing Greater Manchester Police's "one punch can kill" campaign launched Monday, 13 December. Mr Malloy's family and GMP are warning people not to get involved in drunken fights, as it only takes one punch to kill someone and destroy lives forever.

Tau
Tau's picture

Dale Elsdon wrote:
You are also likely to be aware that in assessing trauma victims for cervical fracture the second question asked after "do you have pain in your neck?" is "did you lose consciousness at any point?"

I'm picking holes a little here and in no way criticising your view point which although not consistent with my training is certainly interesting.

For me, neck comes after head as head is part of the ABC approach. The question of loss of concioussness comes before neck assessment. But all (apart the very simple knocks) head injures should indeed have a neck assessment done as part of it. We''re moving ttoward the use of Canadian C-Spine rules if you want to google it.

What I would like to emphasise for the sake of other readers is that the information you're presenting is very interesting and may well come to be accepted medical physiological understanding. For the moment this is supposition.

Quote:
Lastly, the mechanism behind the carotid sinus causing a KO is different again and is most likely due to nervous system shock (striking to the vagus nerve) and stimulation of carotid baroreceptors, which would register a sudden raise in blood pressure (BP) to the head and cause LOC in order to lower the BP. The vagus nerve also has an effect on the regulation of BP.

Yes, but this is a side issue altogether. The vagus nerve regulates not just BP but heart rhythm too. Just last week one of my patients was brought out of supra-ventrivular tachycardia via carotid sinus massage. Another part of the concept that the healing and destructive arts should go hand in hand.

Dale Elsdon
Dale Elsdon's picture

Tau wrote:

For me, neck comes after head as head is part of the ABC approach. The question of loss of concioussness comes before neck assessment. But all (apart the very simple knocks) head injures should indeed have a neck assessment done as part of it. We''re moving ttoward the use of Canadian C-Spine rules if you want to google it.

What I would like to emphasise for the sake of other readers is that the information you're presenting is very interesting and may well come to be accepted medical physiological understanding. For the moment this is supposition.

Hello Tau,

To clarify, I was referring to clearing the c-spine of a trauma patient who is concious and stable, not as a first responder, when of course c-spine should always be assumed to be injured until cleared by medical staff but DRABC takes priority. You are, of course, correct regarding the ABC protocol being highest order of priority.   

I would also like to confirm that what I have written is my own personal hypothesis regarding the mechanism of a KO punch. This is not medical advice and is certainly not broadly applicable to treatment of head/neck injuries in general. As discussed previously a person who is KO'd may suffer head/neck/brain injury from a fall or other head trauma regardless of the mechanism behind the KO.

Regards,

Dale Elsdon

Tau
Tau's picture

Dale Elsdon wrote:
To clarify, I was referring to clearing the c-spine of a trauma patient who is concious and stable, not as a first responder, when of course c-spine should always be assumed to be injured until cleared by medical staff but DRABC takes priority. You are, of course, correct regarding the ABC protocol being highest order of priority.   

I'm talking multi-contextually, but main in trauma victims who are conscious but may yet to be established as stable. 

In any given joint that I examine I examine the joints either side for reasons that I won't go into here. As I said, aside from simple knocks any head injury gets a neck exam too but this is because the head is connected to the neck and so an associated injury may be present.

The reason I raise this is because I din't do it for the reasons you describe but your discussion potentially makes it more valuable an examination. All fascinating stuff.