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Self-Defense Tip #65 — Knocking out or otherwise incapacitating assailants

This tip is my comment on an article on knockouts in violent encounters, written by James LaFond and published in Black Belt magazine.

First, two lists of various methods of knocking out or otherwise incapacitating an opponent, based on James LaFond’s analysis of 1,675 acts of violence. The lists are arranged in order of effectiveness.

Empty hands:
100-percent success with a sucker punch by a competition-level boxer, delivered to the jaw of an individual male who is usually taller and talking.
98-percent success with a surprise come-from-behind strike executed with a heavy blunt weapon to the head of an intoxicated male.
95-percent success with a poor-leverage throw effected by a larger male against a smaller member of an aggressive group or against an individual participant in a match fight.
90-percent success with a punch thrown by an average-size athletic man against an unprepared member of a poorly organized aggressive group.
90-percent success with a kick thrown by a competition-level kickboxer against an unprepared person.
80-percent success with an elbow strike to the head or face executed by a male wrestler, boxer or kickboxer.

Board/club: 70%
Prison-made shank: 64%
Bat: 58%
Stone/brick/trophy: 56%
Sap/blackjack: 47%
Pointed tool: 44%
Blunt tool: 42%
Machinery/furniture: 42%
Fixed-blade knife: 38%
Stick/baton: 37% (for law-enforcement officers), 28% (for untrained persons), 27% (for groups)
Pipe/bar: 36%
Sword: 33%
Everyday item (bottle, etc.): 20% (used by the defender), 7% (used by the aggressor)
Folding knife: 19%
Pencil: 13%
Razor: 5%

Now, my comment:

In the above examples of empty-hand methods, majority of the most reliable tactics could be called “ambushes.” (Surprising an attacker by an intended victim’s well-prepared defense looks to me a lot like an ambush.) Some day I will write more about ambushes.

Shank—the lowest-tech edged weapon—has the highest incapacitation rate of all listed edged weapons. This is because it is wielded by resolute fighters in a no-nonsense manner, typically ambushing their target. This shows that weapon’s effectiveness depends not so much on the nature of the weapon as on the fighter’s determination and the soundness of the weapon’s use.

Self-defense tip from Thomas Kurz, co-author of Basic Instincts of Self-Defense and author of Science of Sports Training, Stretching Scientifically, and Flexibility Express.

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