Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Knock Out Punches

In case you're not a huge nerd like me, this is a
Japanese superhero known as
 One Punch Man. As the name suggests, 

he knocks out with one punch.  
 There are several things at work in a “knock out punch.” When a strike lands on the jaw or chin, the head spins. Muscles and tendons pull to keep the head from spinning too far which causes a deceleration. Unfortunately, that reduction in speed is the brain’s undoing. If the head could just keep on spinning and slow down gradually, the result might not be so traumatic. If your character is an alien with a head that can spin completely on its axis, well done. Good thinking.

However, the human body being what it is, the sudden deceleration causes the brain to hit against the skull. This concussive trauma overstimulates the brain and causes neurons to fire out of control. Overwhelmed, the brain shuts down until the neurotransmitter balance is restored. Think of it as the brain's way of “rebooting” the system. 

Here's a knock out punch in slow motion. It really shows the level of trauma the entire head experiences. In real time you just can't appreciate it. Also, even though this fighter isn't lifeless on the mat, he is knocked out. Although he is moving and trying to get up, he has no idea where he is or what has happened. Note the glassiness in his eyes.


Can your character be knocked out without actually having a concussion? Technically, yes. The loss of consciousness could be the result of a shock to the carotid artery. This major vessel provides blood to the brain and has a reflex area known as a “sinus.” This area is very sensitive to pressure changes in the arterial blood flow and helps keep the body in sync with external conditions. A sharp blow to the jaw could jolt that sinus. This would alter blood and oxygen flow to the brain enough to generate a loss of consciousness. 

So, yes, it is POSSIBLE for your human character to be knocked out without having a concussion. The only absolute in fighting is that there are no absolutes. However, it is rare. And, even if the blow itself doesn’t cause a concussion the subsequent fall may. It’s always best to treat a loss of consciousness as if the brain is concussed. 

How will your character's muscles feel the next morning after being punched out? Well, that’s for another post. :) For now, here's how the concussion will effect them. 

Symptoms of a concussion that your character may suffer:
Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
Temporary loss of consciousness
Confusion or feeling as if in a fog
Amnesia surrounding the traumatic event
Dizziness or "seeing stars"
Ringing in the ears
Slurred speech
Delayed response to questions
Appearing dazed

While these symptoms may also happen immediately, others may be delayed for hours or days, such as:
Concentration and memory complaints
Irritability and other personality changes
Sensitivity to light and noise
Sleep disturbances
Psychological adjustment problems and depression
Disorders of taste and smell

In an upcoming post, we'll also look at how the body lands and reacts immediately after hitting the mat. It's not like the movies would have you think. Until then and the next round at FightWrite.net, get blood on your pages!

And now, without further ado, 10 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT ONE PUNCH MAN!

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