It is actually not as hard as many people think to knock someone out with one punch. Watching a boxing match, mixed martial arts fight, or other combat sports you can get the impression that a knockout punch is something very difficult to get right. But in real life, in a street confrontation with no gloves and fighting against someone who is probably not trained to take a punch, getting a k.o. is much, much easier.
If you want to learn how to knock someone out with one punch the first thing you have to do is to think about what it actually is which causes the loss of consciousness. Some types of punch can be very effective at hurting your opponent, opening up cuts on their face or breaking their nose, but may still have little or no chance of knocking them out.
When a person gets knocked unconscious by a punch it is not the immediate force of the impact which does this, but rather the force of the brain being rattled against the inside of the skull.
This means that a punch which causes the head to jerk and move rapidly will be much more likely to knock someone out than a punch which causes less movement of the head, even if it is not as hard. It also means that speed is paramount. A very fast strike with just enough power to move the head will be more likely to knock someone out than a slower punch which has more power and weight behind it.
The need to create this movement of the head is the reason why you are more likely to knock someone out with a punch which they don't see coming. If you see a punch coming towards you you will tense your neck muscles and brace yourself against the impact, reducing the movement of your head when the punch lands. If your neck muscles are relaxed when a punch hits you then you will almost always get knocked out, whatever kind of punch it is.
Once a fight has started it is very difficult to engineer a situation where your opponent will not see a punch coming, however if you are in a situation where you are being threatened and a fight seems inevitable, but hasn't yet started, you can take advantage of this by suddenly throwing the first punch at an unexpected moment, such as while you are in the middle of a sentence, and by striking from a direction where they will not see it until it is too late.
When it comes to the actual punch a strike from the side, such as a hook, is more likely to knock someone out than a straight punch to the front of the face, simply because it will be harder for the neck muscles to prevent the head from being jerked. For the same reason an uppercut is generally better than a straight punch, but probably not as good as a hook. When trying to knock someone out with a hook the further away from the neck you can land the punch the more movement there will be and the more likely it is to knock them out. This means that the best place to land a hook is right on the end of the chin.
The ultimate knockout punch, however, uses and entirely different method. Rather than jerking the knead it uses the principles of Dim Mak pressure point fighting. The ultimate knockout punch is a strike to the temple. You have to be very accurate to get this right, but with practice you can do it every time.
The only trick you must know in order to knock someone out with a strike to the temple is how to hold your hand. It should be clear that an ordinary fist is much bigger than the area of the temple, and so it is very poor at focussing force on this pressure point.
There are two hand forms you can use instead. The first is the phoenix fist, in which you hold an ordinary fist but with the middle finger raised up a little out of the bunch. When using this you strike with the middle joint of the raised finger, rather than the knuckle.
The other option, which I personally prefer, is to use a sword hand. To do this hold your hand out flat with the palm facing downwards and turn your wrist so that your fingers are pointing outwards. This creates a fairly sharp point from the joint at the very base of the thumb, just above the wrist. With this hand form you strike using a swinging motion of the arm.
When practicing either of these strikes power is virtually irrelevant, and accuracy is everything. If you land a strike with the whole force focussed on the temple you will knock your opponent out every time, no matter how hard the strike is
Dean Walsh is the webmaster of a martial arts website http://www.esotericmartialarts.com which has many free video lessons, articles and other resources. He also writes a blog called The Diigital Warrior with other 'how to' articles at http://www.esotericmartialarts.com/digital-warrior/index.blog?topic_id=1099230 and fight videos at http://www.esotericmartialarts.com/digital-warrior/index.blog?topic_id=1101196
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