IntroWhen angered, it is human nature to punch toward the head. Humans punch the object of their anger. Humans are known by their faces; therefore, we punch the face.
Attack the bodyIn martial arts training and in sparring sessions, we practice punching to the head. However, is this always a prudent thing to do? The head is hard and hands are fragile; this is not a good combination. Bare hand punches are an excellent weapon to use to attack the soft body, but not the hard head. There are soft targets on the head, such as the nose or the jaw hinge, but the targets are small, surrounded by hard bone, constantly moving, and difficult to hit.
Since the bones of the head are harder, thicker, and more structurally sound than the bones of the hand, if your punch hits the forehead or the sides of the skull, you may injure your hand and no longer be able to use it to use it to attack or defend yourself. If you punch someone in the mouth, the teeth can cut your hand and you can contract an infection from the bacteria in the person's mouth. The Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases reports a confirmed case of a police officer contracting both HIV and hepatitis C from punching a suspect in the mouth.
If you think you need to strike the head with your hands, a safer and more effective technique is to use a palm heel strike. Palm strikes to the head can be lethal and they protect the fragile bones and joints in the hand. There is an old saying: hard strikes soft, soft strikes hard. Use hard weapons, such as fists, elbows, and knees on soft targets, such as muscles, the torso, and eyes. Use soft weapons, such as the palm heel and sole of the foot on hard targets, such as the head, elbows, knees, and other bony surfaces.
In a self-defense situation, resist the temptation to punch to the head and you will have the use of your hands for a longer time. You will also be able to use your hands in your daily activities the next day.
Hurt the body, kill the headIn boxing, the public cheers for headshots and sometimes wonders why the fighter that was hitting the opponent in the head so much ended up getting knocked out. Boxers know that body shots will win a fight, either by knockout, weakening the opponent so a head shot may be effective, or by punishing the opponent until he or she quits.
If you hurt the body, the opponent will find it difficult to move quickly and keep his or her guard up; thus, exposing the head to knockout blows. Good fighters know this, so they train to use body shots in fights, both in and out of the ring.
In modern sport taekwondo, the most points are awarded for kicks to the head so that is what the fighters use. They seldom train for using or defending against punches to head since they are not allowed, and they basically ignore punches to the body since the lower score these punches receive is not worth the risk of using them. Since head kicks score more points and make knockouts easier, the fighters seldom use powerful kicks to the body. If a sport taekwondo fighter must defend him or herself in close quarters where kicks will be limited, things may not go well for them.
Good fighters are not headhunters, they also attack the torso and the arms and legs and wait for the head to become exposed to finishing blows.