Measuring Knock Out Power in Pure Krav Maga / by Aviram

While invaluable experience and confidence is gained through Full contact Fighting the attempt of Pure Krav Maga – Self Defense Mastery™ is to break down the essential elements of fighting and simplify the training complex to facilitate complete mastery in a short amount of learning and training time.  In addition, focus of training in the essence of fighting gears your mind and body to get maximum benefits of the training time. 

Although as a rule of thumb the more you do something, the more it becomes a habit, when it comes to Self Defense Training Pure Krav Maga – Self Defense Mastery™ training system manages to teach you intensively within only few days more than you would learn in currently years in available fighting sports, martial arts, and other legitimate forms of civilian Krav Maga or illegitimate forms of a mix of techniques in a mixed training systems that use the name Krav Maga.  In Pure Krav Maga the emphasis is on instilling complete good habits from inception so they would not stab you in the back.

One question that comes into the mind is can a female Knock Out a Male with a punch, an elbow strike? Can a female break someone’s windpipe, KO him with an elbow to the chin? Can she kill him with a kick to his testicles?

While scientifically the genders do have slight difference in their body composition, people males and females at large have varieties of differences among them.  So if we distill this question, the question that comes to mind is what is the minimum force required to Knock Out someone with a non projected straight punch from the hip to the face with quick lunging to close the gap.

The follow up questions would be, what is the force required to squeeze someone’s testicles causing severe stunning pain or death, and what is the force required for someone to elbow his opponent for a Knock Out.

An exact answer and a simple measurement test could give confidence to students in the theoretical potential of their striking force and give them a realistic sense of their options.

Many reality based shows claim to measure fighting arts and fighting sports punching and kicking power and coming up with numbers that are a result of complex mathematical formulas.  They even compare it to the average person in the crown and show results of four to eight times greater than that. The way to measure force with direction is more complicated and gets much larger numbers mathematically.

Force can be measured by multiplying the mass times the acceleration. The force units are designated with Newton and the Mass in Kg or Lbs, and the acceleration is units of distance per second. While Newtonian theories have been suppressed by the laws of special relativity, are useful in approximate general comparisons.

Since there are many components that affect a punch like body weight, body weight of the opponent, penetration distance, hardness of striking object, and hardness of the human body, it appears that at this time many scientists are having a hard time to measure the force of a punch or a kick in a meaningful way.

If we search for the answer, we can see scientists try to measure it using computers, sensors, spring operated machines, and at one point I even noticed that a cat scan was used and the results were interpreted by a "Karate expert" claiming that During a Karate Punch the Brain has a major contribution for the Knock out because there is increased brain activity in Experienced Karateka's brain during punching more than the average person punching. I am assuming he was at least standing up during the test.

Traditionally many styles of Karate recognized the necessity to develop a Knock Out or Kill Punch, in a direct approach and attempted to correlate the ability to break one inch boards or bricks with the ability to Knock someone down.

We all know that the human body's built and strength is not as a brick or a wooden board, and is mobile as opposing to the brick or board waiting in one place for a blow that will burst or break them.  But at least these systems have the aspiration for a death blow.

We can see many Karate full contact tournaments but very small percentage that end up knocked out, in the hospital, or accidental death. Yet we hear occasional street fights that ended death due to a single punch.

Many Boxers and Martial Artists spend a lot of time in their training honing a technique that will maximize that force, and overcome the limitation of gloves, protection gear etc, to deliver maximum punch.  S
o to the average person trying to learn Pure Krav Maga there has to be some basis for a merit in learning how to punch or kick quickly. Otherwise perhaps they should spend their lifetime honing the competitive approach to increase force.

When a boxer knocks someone out, yes, it is because they cause their opponent’s head to accelerate rapidly. The opponent’s head decelerates rapidly because it is attached to shoulders by a neck.

The brain has inertia (it keeps moving), and collides with the inside of the skull causing trauma, dysfunction, and perhaps permanent damage.

Shift of fluid, burst of blood vessels can cause trauma, internal brain bleeding and immense pressure that will put one into coma and death. In addition nerves located in the back of the neck can sense the speed and command the body to go to the floor instantly.

Perhaps it is a primitive mechanism designed to bring someone to the ground to prevent further injury, put the body at rest  trying to heal it's damages from the blows.  So, you could say that accelerating someone’s head with a padded fist is effective for causing loss of consciousness in a boxing match.

However, the unconsciousness is not caused by the acceleration of the brain. It is caused by the collision of the brain with the inside of the skull. Force won’t tell us anything about what happened there. For that, you want to study is momentum and its effect on impulsive damage.

Swinging strikes can change the complex calculation of the force exerted on a target. But in a boxing fight, you rarely get a good chance to land a killer punch since the range might be too close or too far meaning you cannot shake one's skull with enough speed due to deceleration or not enough acceleration in the too close of a distance.  Another possibility is not having enough speed but missing the distance judgment and therefore not putting all the force you would otherwise be able to.

With minimum projection an average person trained not to project his strikes which would be linear only from the waist to the face, can strike time and a half of his/her body weight equivalent to a force exerted on a scale’s spring that is calibrated to measure weight. Perhaps comparing to the weight of someone gives them the confidence they can put it to use.  It would be like stomping on a scale and seeing how high the needle goes up.  

While not a scientific measurement that can be compared to car accidents effect on bending sheet metal and steel beams, yet it is a form of effective comparison by measuring the minimum force of a knockout techniques that was used by a person and projecting it to other students future ability to knock someone out.  If the rest of the speed and sequence of the technique would be the same, then it should work.  The logic behind it is to see how much weight shift and speed contribute to increase in the amount of weight applied in contact with the target. 

When you strike in Pure Krav Maga you basically accelerate your arm to maximum speed followed with the body weight and plan to reach the target at maximum speed and carry the target about 3 inches if possible maintaining maximum speed as much as possible through the retraction of the hand, and maintaining maximum weight shift during the hit and during the retraction moving forward to ensure it helps to support the impact.

So what you are measuring is how with your weight and speed you can cause the needle on the scale to move more than if you were standing still on it.

There are very complicated formulas to calculate force and in most scientific experiments it appears that they lack a sound checkers that the results make sense if compared to other areas of the industries, like car accidents, etc. All these test can give you a comparative results between the items measured in the best case.

No projection and straight line on a scale spring type Boxing Machine can ensure that you get the result of maximum power possible in the split second chance you get for a KO.

Most KO’s are done in a very split second contact as the body naturally calls for limiting the parameters and giving the best shot for that time frame window of opportunity.

More important question is what is the minimum punching power required for a Knock Out if the speed maintenance in contact and contact distance from the target allows optimal non projecting strike.

The Human Nerves play a role in that as they sense the impact and command the brain to lose consciousness and lie on the ground to prevent further injuries in a primitive last resort fashion.

Single punch killer causing death as a result of impact causing cervical bone and cartilage cut into the spinal matter releasing small amount of spinal fluid increasing the pressure in the brain causes a split second death.

I am not aware of any scientific experiments to see how much force is required to do that, and what do the numbers mean.

I think what we try to find, if the average person equipped with daily life urban fitness can be trained to deliver that kind of punch without major changes in their muscular structure.  At the same time we would like to find a way to measure athletes in the fighting sports potential.

With trial and error one can increase the force and change their techniques of punching or kicking. The mechanics of the human body are too complex to mimic and measure even close to accurately.

The force could be deflected somewhat due to the angle of contact facilitating loss of force, or could be increased or decreased with acceleration limitation of too close or too far starting position.

So first of all the Pure Krav Maga Training Punch provides for the non projective parameters and with optimal lunging capacity.

The estimate of how many LBS is required to KO someone are given by trial and error. I am 200 lbs. When I was 150 lbs I had no problem to KO a 250 lbs man with a single frontal punch to the front of the chin.

Trying to hit one of these boxing meter machines I had found that without projection or drag I was able to put time and a half of my body weight into the split second contact with no effort at all.

In my real KO experience I think I’ve used more force than required because he was taller and flew backward on this back lifting his feet up.

I was trained in Pure Krav Maga to penetrate about three inches into the target, so it was not a mechanical crash like impact since my hand retracted, not bounced from his chin.

There are small females in MMA that can deliver a powerful punch that can break the floating ribs on a dummy.  I am wondering how the ribs on the dummy were created in the same construction of a human rib, and if the force would be for an average rib or what age, etc or did the dummy creators cut the corners and were making product to meet their show time without enough or an accurate conclusion.

So with all the whistles and bells, still a scientific measurement of a champion punching power, does not measure to other research in crashed cars etc and overall does not make much sense because it cannot tell you the minimum force required to KO someone and the maximum force someone’s body can resist to before his nerves give in and to what degree.

So if you see scientific experiments of a formula driven mathematician that is not aware of the unseen factors of the motion or in fact the unprojected natural subconscious or consciously trained motion that limits the contact time knowing the window of opportunity would not last more than a split second. You either hit or get hit.

It depends on the nerves of course but let’s concentrates on the minimum force required to KO someone from a front punch to the chin, since this is the most efficient approach and when we are speaking about efficiency, we try to use the minimal advantage we might have against our opponent which is the window of opportunity.

The way to measure force for a KO capacity in Pure Krav Maga is to compare someone that did have fair amount of KO experience punch a non projecting straight punch into a punching mitt and get a sense of how far and fast does it move with the speed on inertia with a 3 inch distance of contact with the target and compare it to the effect of his strike.

Of course if you can get volunteers to get punched by a 100 lbs woman trained to execute a front punch efficiently and effectively which takes about one hour, even with protective gloves, you can test the effect of the impact of it realistically.

Question is how many men will be willing to serve as a test subject, and lose respect for being KO by a 100 lbs woman and how many women would feel comfortable punching such a nice guy in the face trying to Knock him out.

Even if not KO for reasons of not executing the perfect sequential execution, the strike should have enough stopping power to continue and control the attacker to find another more severe damage causing pressure point. 

Historically, it was documented many times that small women managed to overcome much larger attackers.

I am a bit concerned that at times people have the tendency to leave what they are not sure for the “experts.” I had questioned many Instructors of other then Pure Krav Maga disciplines about how do you teach a Knock Out Punch and one answer was: “I do not teach! They practice on the heavy bag until they get it on their own!”

To sum it up, I measure my students Knockout Power during the first few hours of my intensive seminars while I teach them the sequential execution of the striking techniques, I listed to the way it sounds when they hit the mitt and the way the mitt is moving away from the impact.  

If there is a problem, I go back and check if the shoulder is turned with the full weight shift a little before the impact, and if the hand is whipped back after the strike to maintain maximum speed during impact.  

I also ensure that they let their bodies keep moving forward while their hand is being whipped back because if they tried to do it simultaneously, subconsciously, they would have a hard time, and therefore they will tend to not finish the punch concentrating on the backward whipping without having full weight shift in the direction of impact during the impact.  

In a way it is not a direct method of measuring Knockout power but it works. I check it for at least ten good ones in a row of practice on the mitt.  A direct methods would be 10 actual knockouts in 10 sparring session, and I prefer the indirect method to prevent injury to all of my students both in the roles of attackers and defenders.  

Finally I drill them in lunging quickly and throwing a drop punch and following up with few more on popping target drill(on punching mitts).  If the opponent had dodged the first strike my students are being trained to look when to send the next strike instead of idling back with their bodies exposing themselves to counter attack.

They later come back and tell me that they were surprised how easy it was when they had to knock someone out or when it happened in a sparring session when someone got carried away.

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