The Knockout Game

Kill or be Killed


The Knockout Game, is it a kill or be killed situation? Living through an encounter often comes down to just staying aware. I know people in the martial arts and out of the martial arts that maintain they would finish any combative encounter by “kicking them in the nuts.” I have also heard the same argument used with the idea of stopping the aggressor with a jab to the eye, or the ever popular throat punch. All of these approaches fall into the category of the old karate adage of using the one punch finish. In Japanese it was called, ikken hissatsu. I believe it actually means, “annihilate with one strike”, but it has been translated to mean “one punch kill.” Some wonder if this ability even real? then if it can be done, should it be done?

My sensei was an armed and unarmed self-defense and tactics instructor for three of the five districts in the state. He held black belts in karate, jujutsu, aikijujutsu, judo and was certified in tai chi chuan. He taught law enforcement agencies across the state both shooting and gun retention skills. He also taught a host of other skills ranging from cuffing techniques, pepper spray and tactics such as rappelling off of water towers but when he wasn’t working for the state he was teaching martial arts. Before he began teaching for the state he had been a maximum-security prison guard in several of the state’s penitentiaries.

This was where he first came to the realization that a jab to the eye, the kick to the groin or a chop to the throat is not always sufficient. He found that by utilizing his skills for off balancing that are prevalent in judo, jujutsu, aikijujutsu and tai chi chuan he could greatly enhance his ability to survive.

“When you’re talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you’d better train every part of your body!” Bruce Lee The Lost Interview (1971)

Sensei taught us that in a high percentage of situations officers were injured or killed primarily by their own weapon. We also learned that while body armor might impede penetration from a bullet it was not enough to stop the transfer of force from impact. This being said the same was true with punches, kicks and other strikes as well. In short a vest does not negate the power of a powerful blow.

While training with other law enforcement officers I have on several occasions broken, or fractured officers ribs that ended up sending them to the ER. This was even though they had their vest on. Still it was not enough to cushion the impact of the strikes. Also I am not referring to the stereotypical donut eating cop but active martial artist, ex military, weight lifter etc.

I’ve been told that it only takes a little over 650 pounds of force to break a 8 x 16″ 1 1/2 thick concrete slab. Most black belt can break three un-spaced slabs with a little practice, and it takes far less to cause a cardiac arrest. So I do believe the Ikken Hissatsu is possible after all I have broken hundreds if not thousands of rocks and concrete slabs over the years with a host of techniques both left and right handed.

Karate master Mas Oyama was famous for his ability to kill bulls with one blow, even though several times it had taken a second or third strike. Most of the single strike kills that I am aware of that happened in the street are not caused from the impact of the blow, but from impact with the pavement.

I have two friends who lost their son to a single blow after coming home after watching a UFC event in Columbus, Ohio. It was the impact with the ground that killed him. I’ve also heard of other similar stories that involved impact with the sidewalk, curb or pavement that cause the death. This is why the knock game is so deadly.,, let alone someone may be within their rights to shoot you for attacking them.

So we have to ask what is reasonable in a given circumstance. In the eyes of a law and basic human morality we have to consider the situation and the circumstances for what is the least amount of force necessary to protect ourselves and others. Throws and chokes can often stop an attacker in under a second with some practice, but will they be fast enough if their is a group involved as strikes are quicker but a gun is faster still. The warrior’s tool chest must contain enough tools to protect themselves not only in the street but possibly later in the courtroom as well.

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