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Measured power


The following is some information that was presented on the National Geographic television show, Fight Science: Mixed Martial Arts, first shown on January 27, 2008. Some champion Mixed Martial Arts cage fighting champions were tested to determine their striking power. They struck a car crash dummy specially set up to measure the force of their strikes.

Measured power of the participants

  • Bas Rutten. The striking force of his reverse punch was measured at 500 PSI (pounds per square), the same as for a professional boxer. His roundhouse kick to the chest resulted in a 2.2” chest compression on the crash test dummy. A 1” chest compression in a car accident is considered is potentially fatal.
  • Randy Couture. The striking force of his standing reverse punch was also measured at 500 PSI. The striking force of his full-mount reverse punch on the ground was measured at 2000 PSI. The increase in force was due to his being able to drop is body weight into the punch from his grounded position.
  • Tito Ortiz. A Tito Ortiz body slam to the back measured about 2400 PSI of force across the opponent’s back.

Striking data

How is this much power generated in a punch? 

Fighters say the power comes “from the ass.” Scientists say it comes from the body kinetically linking to the ground. The power starts at the ground as the power foot pushes off. The force moves up the leg, through the rotating hips “the ass,” through the torso, out the arm, to the fist, and into the target.

Is it better to get hit by a slow-moving big object or a fast-moving small object? 

The force of two huge, but slow moving, Sumo wrestlers crashing into each other was measured about one half the force of a small but fast-moving fist striking a stationary target with a reverse punch.

HIC (head injury criteria)

A strike with a HIC value of 250 will most likely knock out a person. A Tito Ortiz elbow strike to the ear of the dummy caused a HIC value of 299. A Bas Rutten left hook to the temple of the dummy caused a HIC value of 391. 

Reaction Time.

It takes a minimum of .25 of a second for the brain to react to a stimulus. When a gun is pointed at a trained martial artist and the gun is within grabbing range, the martial artist can grab and deflect the gun within .12 of a second. This is half the time it takes the gun holder to react to the grabbing motion. NOTE: if the gun holder is within grabbing range, practically anyone can grab a gun before the holder can react; it is what the grabber has been trained to do after the grab that is critical.

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