The Science of the Knockout (KO)

I have to warn you before you start reading: I sat down to write a brief post about knockout science … and ended up with the web’s longest (5,000+ word) single page on the science & art of the Knockout (aka the “KO”).

Chen Xiang - Motion Capture StudyBoxing Knockout Punch

In this extremely long resource, we’ll progress from knockout basics, to knockout power, knockout anatomy, and then onto one of the largest repositories of knockout gifs you’ll find anywhere.

While it may be controversial, I write this from the perspective that everything in this article is contained in the centuries old classical tai chi principles. Brain science and sport science have come a long way since then, allowing for lots of new descriptions & measurements… but I’m confident our taijiquan forebears were well aware of much of what’s contained herein.

This is a LONG article. Take your time, bookmark the page, come back later, share with your friends, and most of all: enjoy! I hope this resource is useful in your training.

First things first:

What is a Knock-Out?

Before getting too in-depth here, I would like to share my views on what – exactly – I mean when discussing a “knockout.” From a technical standpoint, this isn’t a very specifically defined term. The dictionary definition says something like “a knockout is something that causes someone to be knocked out, especially in boxing.” Great. Not very helpful at all.

For our purposes, a knockout is:

Something that occurs after a physical blow which renders a person on the receiving end immobilized or disoriented. Although not necessary, a knockout often implies unconsciousness.[1]

For the sake of this article, we’re going to completely ignore knockouts that involve things like injuring internal organs, crippling injuries, loss of blood flow to the brain, suffocation, or any other form of disabling other than knockout strikes to the head.

Specifically, we’ll go over punches, elbows, knees, and kicks as potential knockout instruments.

I hope by the end of this article you’ll agree that – while taijiquan has no monopoly on the knockout strike – it is an art that was well designed from the ground up [pun intended --- see "kinetic linking"] for consistently delivering knockout power in every single touch. While it is an over-simplification to attribute this fact to  taijiquan being an “internal” art … we will definitely explore how this internal arts’ principles codified a very elegant & refined way of delivering “knockout power” — long before the aids of lab research, hours of footage, scientific anatomy, or even familiarity with Newtonian physics.

One thing that I hope we can agree is undeniably true by the end of this article is that, whether you’re an ancient Chinese Taoist, Lei Tai fighter, or warrior monk; or whether you’re a modern Western boxer, MMA fighter, or street brawler; at the end of the day, getting knocked out works the same for everybody!

The Basics Of Getting Knocked Out Via Strike(s) To The Head

When it comes to getting knocked out via striking to the head, especially in a way that leaves someone medically unconscious, there are a few main factors:

1. Acceleration / Deceleration. The faster your head starts & stops moving, the more energy is being transferred into your skull. This is largely caused by the Force (mass x acceleration) of the strike, however, there are angles / directions / scenarios that are worse than others, which I will get into later.

For an excellent visual representation of this rapid acceleration & deceleration involved in a knockout strike to the head, check out this boxing gif:

Boxing Knockout - Daniel Jacobs vs Giovanni Lorenzo

This is a perfect illustration of what happens when your head goes from stopped, to moving really fast, to stopped again … all in under a second.

2. Brain Injury. Your brain is a soft, squishy mass floating inside your hard skull. Every time your head accelerates & decelerates rapidly, the brain – only held in place by the cerebro-spinal fluid in which it’s floating – ricochets off the sides of the skull until the momentum is dissipated. This is how concussions are caused.

Here are a few pictures of the brain cavity for reference:

Human Brain Cross SectionHuman Brain Scan

Notice how there is enough space around the edges of the skull to allow your soft squishy brain to bounce all around in there, receiving bumps & bruises on every rebound & ricochet.

Imagine what happens to the boxer’s brain in a scenario like the boxing knockout animation above! Brain damage.

3. Neurological Short Circuit This is the cumulative effect of multiple blows to the head, which inevitably leads to a physiological shut-down of consciousness mainly due to electrolyte depletion and dehydration.

Here’s an excellent description of the whole process from Popular Mechanics’ article on “The Science of a Boxing Knockout”:

The body contains dissolved sodium, potassium, and calcium, collectively known as electrolytes, which are responsible for conducting impulses along neurons. Every time a fighter receives a blow to a nerve, potassium leaves the cell and calcium rushes in, destabilizing the electorlyte balance, while the brain does all it can to keep these levels in balance. With each successive blow, this balance becomces harder and harder to maintain, and more and more energy must be spent in the process. When the body reaches the point where the damage outweighs the body’s ability to repair itself [which can occur even in only one strike, especially if by surprise], the brain shuts down to conserve enough energy to fix the injured neurons at a later point.

“After a brain injury, the heart must supply sufficient blood flow for the brain to repair itself. If the demand outweighs the supply the brain then shuts down and leads to an eventual loss of consciousness,” says Anthony Alessi, M.D., a neurologist and ringside physician for the Connecticut State Boxing Commission. “That’s when I know to end the match, because if we keep going the fighter is going to die.”

Surprisingly, the boxer’s feet are often the first clear signal that he is on the verge of being knocked out. When the neural networks that emanate from the cerebellum (the part of the brain responsible for coordinating motor activity) are disrupted by a concussion, a fighter loses his ability to coordinate foot movements.[2]

Basically, as the electrolyte balance gets disturbed by repeated strikes to the head, your brain has a harder & harder time sending critical impulses along the neurons to do things like telling your feet to move, or your hands to block.

When this balance-imbalance-repair cycle becomes too much, your consciousness is automatically shut-off by the body in favor of sustaining more critical brain processes necessary to stay alive. This is the reason most knockouts (especially in sport fights) don’t occur as a result of a single blow, but rather as the effect of multiple strikes to the head. The situation is further exacerbated as the person becomes more tired, dehydrated, and overheated as a result of the extreme exertion.

This is similar to what happens in the brain & nervous system when someone goes unconscious due to lack of oxygen, or extreme cold… however getting hit obviously has an added danger of concussive brain injury – not to mention the potentially deadly damage of “second impact syndrome” caused when the unconscious person falls & hits their head (resulting in a second rapid concussion).

Knockout Power

One of the key elements in delivering a knockout strike to the head is POWER! More specifically, there are two factors in physics here, namely: Force (F = ma = mass x acceleration)[3] and Impulse (I = Fdt or I = F/t = Force / time)[4]. To simplify, we can basically say: the more mass you can put behind a rapidly accelerating strike, the more damage you can potentially cause to the target.

In taijiquan, we often refer to this as “whole body power” and in some cases this is what is meant by issuing (fajin) during a strike. While in theory the taijiquan approach has more nuances & specialized details, in practice this principle is very similar to the boxing concept of putting your hips into a strike, or what MMA fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson refers to as “putting his ass in it”:

The part in question begins at 3:02 … but the whole video is an excellent introduction to the physics of generating striking power.

It also includes a perfect segue into the next topic, specifically:

The fist is really the end of the story. Rampage’s power starts in ground. It’s called kinetic linking. The energy starts in his feet, drives up through his legs, hips, and into the massive ripped muscles of his torso, core, and gluteus maximus; an energy chain about to explode through his fist.

The biggest link in the chain? The biggest muscle. That’s right: the gluteus maximus… bottom line: the power that surges through Rampage’s gluteus maximus and into his fist is almost double the impact of [two sumo wrestlers, with a combined weight of over 700 lbs.].

Simply put: the small object moving fast knocked the crap out of the big objects moving slowly.

Kinetic Linking: The Key To Knockout Power

Ultimately, I think it is too simple to just say “the small object moving fast” knocks out the “big objects moving slowly.” This is definitely true from a strictly Force-to-Force comparison (due to the relationship of velocity to acceleration, a key component of the Force equation). However, there are many more factors that contribute both to the knockout power and knockout potential of any single, or series of strike(s).

One of these is what sport science today calls “kinetic linking.” It is due to kinetic linking that Rampage Jackson’s strike is clearly not just transferring the mass of his light fist; it is transferring more than the mass of his entire body through the fist! This is because he is effectively linking together everything from the ground up in a coordinated push off the floor.

Here’s a quick video from Nat Geo’s “Fight Science” about kinetic linking in boxing. While it’s very similar to the Rampage Jackson video above, it includes just the short & sweet, making for an easier watch:

From the video:

Kinetic Linking: A perfect flow of energy through the entire body. Motion capture shows that the punch starts not in the fist, but the feet. The rear foot drives backwards into the ground. Like links in a chain, the energy travels up the leg, twists through the hips, and into the large muscles of the back, chest, and shoulders.

Like the coiling and cracking of a whip, the energy multiplies through leverage as it throws through the body, travels out the arm and fist, and snaps into the opponent. And yes, size does matter. The bigger the puncher, the more mass in the whiplash.

Compare that to this section from the Taijiquan Classics written by taijiquan’s mythical founder Chang San Feng:

The motion should be rooted in the feet,
released through the legs,
controlled by the waist,
and manifested through the fingers.

The feet, legs, and waist
must act together simultaneously,
so that while stepping forward or back
the timing and position are correct.

-The Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan
Translated & Edited by Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo

If these two aren’t saying the same thing, I don’t know what is. Interestingly, the 2nd quote attributed to Chang San Feng is from the 1300′s. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Especially physics.

Kinetic Linking In Taijiquan: The Science

For a specific example of taijiquan’s approach to “Kinetic Linking”, well presented in a scientific setting, the following video is one of the best. It includes motion capture footage of Chen taijiquan master Chen Xiang’s, filmed & compiled as part of a study on Tai Chi conducted at Stanford University’s Motion & Gait Lab back in 2008:

I recommend skipping ahead to 0:30, where the experiment & process here is summarized. One of the most notable sections, inline with our kinetic linking discussion includes the following:

We have identified 3 essential bio-mechanical elements of the tai chi master’s strike.

First we found that master Chen applies to the ground a force of 2200 Newtons, and a torque of 11,000 Newton/meters when he strikes, precisely when his hand reaches maximum velocity. We hypothesize that he may be pushing off or pivoting from the ground into the object. As you can imagine, the force he transfers into the object must also be very high

[High magnitude floor reaction data: Force applied = 3x body weight; torque applied = 16x body weight * meter]

Our second hypothesis looks at the rotation of master Chen’s feet, hips, and shoulders. We believe that master Chen optimizes momentum transferred into his target by translating the angular momentum of his hips and shoulders into the linear momentum of his striking hand… the master spirals into his target at the same time he is moving forwards from his feet, hips, and shoulder.

Our third hypothesis highlights the fact that the tai chi master may be delivering his impact as an intense short burst of energy that can best be described as an Impulse. Based on Newton’s 2nd law, Force increases as the time of contact decreases, as demonstrated by the short amount of time his arm stays extended before being relaxed, we predict that the master may only contact his target for 25 milliseconds, giving him extremely optimized bio-mechanical advantages only possible by very elite athletes.

These three hypotheses are all worth unpacking & exploring one-by-one, and at some point I will definitely be devoting an entire article to taijiquan’s approach to the Impulse of Force… but for now let’s just briefly look at each from the perspective of kinetic linking.

Hypothesis One: Ground Force

Obviously, applying a force to the ground is what makes it possible to hit with forces significantly greater than one’s own body weight. By pushing off the ground, even with minimal leverage, a reasonably athletic individual can apply several times their body weight in force. This is why weight lifters can squat & deadlift multiples of their own bodyweight. This is also why we can push a car across pavement, but would find it basically impossible to pull it while swimming (no ground to push off, only water). To put it in perspective, this element of kinetic linking literally only works because of the ground to push off — it would be useless if you were somehow in the air (eg – falling from a cliff, floating in space).

Hypothesis Two: Rotation Force

This is the first video so far to emphasize the importance of rotation through the joints! Specifically, this creates several opportunities that would otherwise be wasted: by creating a spiraling rotational movement, one creates (1) centripetal & centrifugal forces; (2) maximum angles of leverage; (3) angular momentum that can be translated into linear striking force. This rotational energy will also come up again in the next section on Knockout Anatomy.

Hypothesis Three: Impulse of Force

This is also the first video to emphasize the all important *Impulse* of Force. Basically, the equation for Impulse is (I = F/dt), or in other words, Force over time. Another way to say this, is that Impulse is the change in momentum. The quicker the change in momentum, the greater the Impulse. For example, hitting a golf ball, or shooting an arrow both have a very high Impulse of Force, because the entire potential energy (the rotating & accelerating golf swing or the tightened bow string) is transformed into movement faster than the blink of an eye.

The way I talk about this in my practice is in terms of slack in the line, or shock absorbers. The more of either between you & your opponent, and the lower your Impulse of Force. In physics, this is loosely referred to the “cushioning” effect, and is exactly the opposite of what you want. No cushion, quick strike = greatest Impulse.

Like I said, I will devote a whole post to this some time. Impulse of Force is probably the single most critical factor for releasing some of the unique types of “jin” or internal power developed in taijiquan.

Knockout Anatomy

As stated in the section of “Basics” at the beginning of this article, there are 3 main components to a knockout via strike(s) to the head:

  1. Acceleration / Deceleration
  2. Brain Injury
  3. Neurological Short Circuit

In this section, we’ll be discussing the anatomical strengths, weaknesses, and limitations related to these 3 main components of a knockout.

All 3 components are obviously rooted in the Acceleration / Deceleration phase. If your head doesn’t change velocity, then you are just sitting still and not getting hit… which means you’re totally safe from knockout (at least, via strikes to the head).

When it comes to the potential damage that can result from this change of velocity of the skull & brain, there are undeniable anatomical factors that will make things go much worse, or much better. The more you can slow down the Impulse of Force (via “cushioning” or “shock absorbers” or “slack in the line”), the safer your brain will be.

To get an idea of what decreasing the Impulse of Force looks like in one of its modern, life saving applications, check out this gif below to compare impacts on a car w/o crumple zones (from 1959) vs. a modern car with them (from 2009). You can plainly see the results:

Crash Test - 1959 vs 2009

Now, if you imagine that the car is the skull, and the passenger as the brain, you will start to see the danger in receiving a large Force w/ a high Impulse. The faster your head changes velocity, the more your brain is going to get scrambled. Let’s take a look at the biophysics of taking a punch, to understand the body’s anatomical “crumple zones” and “air bags” … or as I call them, “ropes” and “shock absorbers.”

Biophysics Of Taking A Punch

One of the most common misnomers related to getting hit in the head is the concept of having an “iron chin” or “iron jaw.” While the shape, thickness, and density of the actual mandible (jaw bone) may definitely plays a role in whether or not someone is KO’d by a strike, this is almost 100% dictated by genetics, and therefore there’s not much you can do about it. What is much more important, and improvable, is the strength of a fighter’s neck!

There is one very specific part of the neck that is most crucial for this role, and by understanding its functions, we’ll also better understand how & why certain punches are much more likely to result in a knockout than others.

The Knockout Shock Absorber: Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Muscle

Sternocleidomastoid Muscle - The KO DefenseSternocleidomastoid Rotating Gif

The SCM is one of the largest & most superficial muscles on the side of the neck. There is one on both the right & left sides, passing diagonally from just behind the ear to the clavicle (collar bone). According to this great article on Sherdog by physician & biophysicist Matt Pitt:

When flexed, the SCM rotates the head toward the opposing side. Flexing both SCMs in alternation shakes the head “no” … Flexing them simultaneously flexes the neck forward and extends the heads — in the right circumstance resisting the force of a blow to the face. It’s why fighters often seem to be ducking into a punch.

While the SCMs are prominent on the neck, they are nothing compared to the kinetic chain involved in throwing a punch or kick. This is especially a problem, as Pitt continues:

When a punch of sufficient force strikes the face, it accelerates the front of the cranium back into the frontal lobes of the brain. This is the irreducible sweet science of brain injury. A gentle blow to the frontal lobes causes various degrees of central nervous system sedation — it stuns the brain — and a blow of sufficient force simply shuts the brain off. Seizures are not uncommon.

When a blow to the head comes from an angle, as opposed to straight on, only one of the SCMs can resist the force: The resulting acceleration of the cranium and damage to the brain are thus much greater.

Worse still, when a fighter is struck on the chin, the mandible creates leverage that magnifies the force and damage. This is the phenomenon of a fighter being hit “on the button”…

Lastly, the anatomy of the brain makes blows to the back of the head particularly dangerous. The extensor muscles of the neck are far stronger than the SCMs, but the part of the brain under direct assault is more delicate. The frontal lobes injured in a frontal blow control speech, movement, and thought — all the neurologic skills we see depleted in old boxers. The back of the brain, the hindbrain or rhombencephalon, controls respiration, heart rate, swallowing, blood pressure. Fighters who sustain injuries there never grow to be old.

It is good to understand these vulnerable targets, and methods of striking them, both for your own protection and for your own potential fight tactics. One thing is certain: strikes coming from the side have a much better chance to knock someone out, so make sure you’re practicing them!

Another component to these types of rotational strikes that hit the head from the side (like a hook punch or roundhouse kick), is that they often can catch an opponent by surprise due to the fact they move in from out of their line of sight. Strikes that land by surprise are especially brutal, because the opponent doesn’t have a chance to brace for the impact at all (basically removing all their effort at creating shock absorbers).

Physiological Foundation For The Real Life “Granite Chin”

Bearded MMA heavyweight Roy “Big Country” Nelson is no stranger to getting hit in the head. In fact, at UFC 161 back in June 2013, Big Country set the rather dubious record of receiving the most significant strikes in his UFC career (437 hits over 10 fights) without ever getting knocked out!

Roy 'Big Country' Nelson's Granite Chin

In an article for Vice’s Fightland Blog, Sports Medicine Specialist and part-time ringside doctor Michael Kelly discusses some of the reasons why it’s possible for an individual to take so much damage w/o ever going under:

Nelson might have extremely strong neck muscles. Strong neck muscles can cut down on the rotational force of a hit. A lot of what determines whether someone gets knocked out has to do with where the force is transmitted into the brain. Where there’s a very strong rotational force on the skull — shots that come from the side, like hook punches, rather than straight linear shots — most of the vector force gets transmitted down into the brainstem area into what’s called the reticular activating system and that’s what’s responsible for being awake…

So as you’re hitting on the side and you rotate the head, it’s a little bit easier to transmit that force to rotate the head. Whereas, when you’re hitting direct on at the button of the chin, sometimes it’s a little harder with a very strong mandible. That’s where the shape of the jaw comes in. It’s all a matter of shape and size. It has to do with the ability to transmit the force to the base of the skull.

That’s why people are always talking about fighters getting hit “on the button.” It’s true, though I don’t know if “button” is really a good term for it. It’s just an area where you can get the maximum force transmitted through the mandible up into the base of the brain. The brain stem, that’s where the brain is the most anchored, so if you have a very strong rotational force, you can cause kinking and loss of consciousness. At the same time, if you have a very strong linear force, directed through the mandible going up into the base, then you can take the brainstem forward, you’ll get that loss of consciousness by the same mechanism. But, one’s kinking it in a flexion extension direction, whereas the other one would be kinking it in a twisting direction.

In other words, the more efficiently a strike transfers force to the brainstem (at the lower back of the brain, see image below), the more likely the strike will achieve a knockout.

Or, if you’re the one getting hit, you could also say: the better you can absorb, deflect, or otherwise neutralize forces hitting your head, the better you can avoid getting knocked out.

Aiming The Perfect Knockout Strike: Right On The Button

Pacqiao Knockout - 'Right On The Button'Human Brain Stem

The best way to effect the brainstem anatomically is by hitting someone “right on the button” — at the tip of the chin especially on a rotational axis. This is the most efficient way of generating leverage against the weakest target that is physiologically most likely to cause unconsciousness (“kinking” the nearly immobile brain stem). For a perfect example, see the Manny Pacqiao knockout animation above.

As mentioned earlier, this type of strike is especially brutal because it approaches from outside the field of view, allowing it to catch the recipient by surprise. Combine the fact that only one side’s SCM muscle can help absorb the blow, with the inherent immobility of the brainstem, and you have a perfect recipe for a real-life “lights out” switch.

Of course, “there are some people who are genetically gifted in the way their body is built, the strength, the shape of the skull, the density of the brain, the number of ion channels they have per neuron, or the mitochondria density in the cell … they can absorb more punishment or reduce the effect of a blow on their brain better than other people.”[5]

But from an anatomical perspective, the targets & concepts of hitting them listed above are one of the main & most important factors.

Chronic Traumatic Brain Injuries

No discussion of head-strike-knockouts could be complete without also considering the cold, hard logic of cumulative, long-term brain damage. While it might not effect your ability to score a knockout strike in a surprise self defense situation, one piece of knowledge is still crucial to understand both in your training and if you fight competitively.

Specifically: the more you’ve been knocked out, the easier it becomes for you to get knocked out again. Referring again to Dr. Kelly:

The theory is that, although your body can reset those ionic concentrations inside and outside the cell [repair of the “Neurological Short Circuit“], each time that happens, maybe it loses a little bit of its efficiency. So your ability to recover isn’t quite as good as it was before that happened. So it’s like you have a gate, it gets broken, and you repair it but the repair might not be quite as strong as the original and it never holds together as well as it once did.

What’s worse, is that the more damage you take over the years, the more likely you are to suffer from chronic traumatic brain injuries later in life. In the words of Dr. Kelly:

The fighters who had the most damage were the ones who were able to take the most punishment. So the accumulation of punches is more significant than, say, going into a ring and losing 10 fights in a row by one punch knockout. It’s not the going unconscious that’s the problem; it’s the repetitive force and the repetitive micro-trauma to the brain.

While this information may not be too practical for your street self defense applications, it is definitely worth understanding for your long-term health (ie – long-term self defense). The better you are at avoiding brain injuries, the less likely you are to develop chronic traumatic brain injury later in life.

So far, we’ve been talking a lot of science & theory, all setting the foundation to better understand the best part of the post: a bunch of examples! Real world knockouts. Gifs & videos & compilations for your study. See how much of what is mentioned above you see in these videos. Let me know your favorites, and share other knockout videos in the comments.

Real World Examples

1,675 Acts Of Violence: The LaFond FBI Study

On assignment for the FBI Academy in Quantico, analyst James LaFond studied 1,675 acts of violence that took place between June 1996 and May 2000. These weren’t sport fights, these were real acts of “street” violence (ie – violent crimes) as indexed in FBI databases. As part of the study, LaFond specifically analyzed all the incidents that led to a knockout.

Here are some stats from the LaFond Study related to these knockout incidents [of special note: the pivotal importance of surprise]:

Most Effective One-Strike Knockout Methods

  • 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.
  • 75-percent success with an attack effected with a moving vehicle on a pedestrian.
  • Note that 73 percent is the typical rate of success for aggressors, with the vast majority of the incapacitations stemming from multiple strikes.

Most Common Methods Of Avoiding A Knockout

“This study defines violence from the point at which it’s physically initiated by the deployment of a weapon, by the closing of the distance by an aggressor, or by a violent or controlling touch. From this perspective, a defender has little opportunity for avoidance (because that time has typically passed), and flight is a viable option in less than half of violent situations.

In situations in which violence of an incapacitating nature is imminent (when facing a group, an extremely powerful man or an armed person), KOs are avoided by the following methods listed in order of increasing effectiveness:

  • minimal aggression (pushing, slapping, holding)
  • defensive techniques (blocking, ducking, etc.)
  • escape and flight
  • verbal dissuasion
  • serious grappling (throwing, wall slamming, floor fighting)
  • brandishing a weapon
  • toughness and poise (the ability to take it)
  • power striking”[6]

Actual Knockout Videos


Lyoto Machida vs. Rashad Evans KO

Lyoto Machida vs Rashad Evans KO

Another angle:

Lyoto Machida vs Rashad Evans KO - Another Angle

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Chuck Liddell KO

Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua vs. Chuck Liddell KO

Mike Tyson Uppercut Knockout

Mike Tyson Uppercut Knockout

Anderson Silva vs Forest Griffin Knockout

Anderson Silva vs Forest Griffin Knockout

Another moment in the fight:

Anderson Silva vs Forest Griffin Knockout

Cung Le vs Rich Franklin Epic Knockout Punch

Cung Le vs Rich Franklin Epic Knockout Punch

Giant Bully Gets KO’d by Smaller Victim

Giant Bully Gets KO'd by Smaller Victim

Chris Weidman’s Famous Knockout of Anderson Silva

Chris Weidman's Famous Knockout of Anderson Silva

Emanuel Newton KO’s King Mo w/ a Spinning Back-fist

Spinning Back-fist Knockout Punch

Another angle:

Spinning Back-fist - Newton vs King Mo

30 Minutes Of Boxing KO’s!


Travis Browne vs. Alistair Overeem Knockout Kick

Travis Browne vs Alistair Overeem Knockout Kick

Another angle:

Travis Browne vs Alistair Overeem KO - Another Angle

Edzon Barboza vs. Terry Etim KO

Edzon Barboza vs Terry Etim KO

Spinning Jump Kick Knockout

Spinning Jump Kick Knockout

Lyoto Machida vs Randy Coutoure Front Jump Kick Knockout

Lyoto Machida vs Randy Coutoure Front Jump Kick Knockout

Another angle:

Machida vs Coutoure Front Jump Kick

Another Machida Knockout Kick (Vs Munoz)

Machida Knockout Against Munoz

Crazy Off-The-Cage Spinning Knockout Kick

Crazy Off-The-Cage Spinning Knockout Kick

Another angle:

Crazy Off-The-Cage KO - Pettis vs Henderson

Vitor Belfort vs Luke Rockhold Spinning Back Kick KO

Vitor Belfort vs Luke Rockhold Spinning Back Kick KO

Roger Huerta Soccer Kick Knockout

Roger Huerta Soccer Kick Knockout

Classic MMA Head Kick Knockout Compilation


Brutal Elbow Knockout By Gary ‘Big Daddy’ Goodridge

Brutal Elbow Knockout By Gary 'Big Daddy' Goodridge

Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Spinning Elbow KO vs Gustafsson

Jon 'Bones' Jones Spinning Elbow KO vs Gustafsson

Another angle:

Jon 'Bones' Jones Spinning - Another Angle

Anderson Silva vs Tony Fryklund Reverse Elbow KO

Anderson Silva vs Tony Fryklund Reverse Elbow KO

Dong Hyun Kim vs John Hathaway Elbow Knockout

Dong Hyun Kim vs John Hathaway Elbow Knockout

Another angle:

Dong Hyun Kim vs John Hathaway Elbow Knockout

And yet another angle:

Dong Hyun Kim vs John Hathaway Elbow Knockout

UFC 2: Remco Pardoel KOs Orlando Wiet With Elbows

UFC 2: Remco Pardoel KOs Orlando Wiet With Elbows

Nate Marquardt vs Tyron Woodley Flurry Of Elbows

Nate Marquardt vs Tyron Woodley Flurry Of Elbows


BJ Penn vs Sean Sherk Flying Knee KO

BJ Penn vs Sean Sherk Flying Knee KO

Robbie Lawler vs Joey Villa Senor Knee Strike Knockout

Robbie Lawler vs Joey Villa Senor Knee Strike Knockout

Anderson Silva vs Rich Franklin Knee KO

Anderson Silva vs Rich Franklin Knee KO

Another angle:

Anderson Silva vs Rich Franklin Knee KO - Another Angle

Flying Knee Knockout – Alistair Overeem vs Kazuyuki Fujita

Flying Knee Knockout - Alistair Overeem vs Kazuyuki Fujita

High Flying Muay Thai Knee Strike KO

High Flying Muay Thai Knee Strike KO

4 Minute Flying Knee Tribute – Much KO.

Conclusion: The Science Of The Knockout

I hope you’ve learned everything you ever wanted to know about knockouts, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

Also, definitely do share your own favorite knockout gifs, videos, or stories.

Public Service Reminder

Remember: brain damage is cumulative, and every strike to your head adds a little bit more to your lifelong total. Take care of your head, you only get one.

If you have to knock the other guy out, now you have everything you need to know to devise the ideal plan of action. Do it quick: the less hits he has to sustain before getting knocked out, the worse it is for both of you!

Good luck not getting knocked out, and – if necessary – knocking the opponent out fast.

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