Boxing Tip #22: How to Knock Someone Out | Commando Boxing - How to Box

Boxing Tip #22: How to Knock Someone Out

This boxing tip might be a bit controversial. Some people believe you have to be born with knockout power in order to knock someone out. I, on the other hand, believe you can be taught how to knock someone out.


Well, first, there is a difference between a knockout (KO) and technical knockout (TKO). A technical knockout is what happens when the referee or a boxer's corner in a boxing match decides the boxer can no longer safely continue. A full knockout is what happens when a boxer is simply physically unable to continue fighting following any legal strike.

Most anyone will associate a knockout with a sudden loss of consciousness where the boxer falls limp to the mat. This usually happens following a wicked shot to the head, but body shots such as those to the liver can also induce pain that results in a KO.


Knocked Out!
Photo by superwebdeveloper

Your brain is kind of floating inside your skull. All around the outside of your brain - between your brain and your skull - is a liquid cushion (mostly water). This cushion keeps your brain from bouncing off your skull during most activities.

When you get hit in the head in boxing, you experience a cerebral concussion where the cushion is not able to stop your brain from smashing into your skull. Every time this happens you experience some degree of brain damage. Repeated blows to the head result in a lot of brain damage and you eventually end up with the consequences - punch drunk is the term often used.

Now the impact is not believed to be the main cause of the knockout, although it probably has something to do with it. It is generally agreed on that a knockout is caused by some trauma to the brain stem. This trauma is caused by punches that cause you to twist your head violently. The same motion will also induce your brain to smash against your skull.

Combining the two is a recipe for a knockout as it causes a disruption in your body's electrical system which basically causes everything to shut down instantly. I'm sure that's over simplified, but it's the jist of how a knockout occurs.


Not all knockouts are created equal. There are three types:

  1. Typical Knockout - characterized by lasting loss of consciousness. When you come back from lala land, you generally have no memory of the event.
  2. Flash Knockout - lasts less than three seconds and you retain memory of the combat that caused it. I experienced this one myself in the gym one day. I got smoked and one of my legs suddenly gave out staggering me a bit along with a tingling feeling. I remember it all and instantly knew how close to hitting the canvas I had come.
  3. Stunning Knockout - here you don't actually lose consciousness, you're just rendered totally inept. The blow leaves you unable to hear, see, or do much of anything - you're stunned temporarily until you can shake it off...


Top Ten Boxing Knockouts

Now the moment you've been waiting for. I'm going to teach you how to knock someone out (by punching). My argument for why anyone can learn how to throw a knockout punch is based on the fact that a knockout actually does not require a whole lot of power. A properly placed punch with sufficient power that is more than your opponent can handle will knock him out.

Problem here is that everyone is different. The amount of power it takes to knock me out isn't necessarily the same as what it would take to knock you out. That's why boxing commentators will often make reference to how good a chin a boxer has - meaning his ability to withstand a knockout punch.

There are two things you can do (and one thing your opponent can do) to make it much more likely that you will knock them out:

  1. Pinpoint Accuracy (Technique) - the chances of knocking someone out are much more likely if you cause a violent turn of the head. This twist happens much more naturally if your punch lands on the chin or temple compared to the cheek or further back. The neck simply is weaker in preventing the twisting motion. If you want to spin a wheel, do you spin it from the center or from an edge - the edge is much easier - same principle applies.
  2. Effective Mass - knockout power isn't a result of massive arms alone - it's a result of how fast you can accelerate those massive arms into an opponent's head. Knockout power is a result of speed and technique moving a given mass. Perfecting your technique to increase speed and more efficiently transfer momentum will give you all the power you need.
  3. Dehydration - This is the one your opponent can do. If they are dehydrating themselves - say in the later rounds - that thin layer of cushioning in the brain gets even thinner meaning every punch causes that much more damage. So, stay hydrated.

That's why I believe anyone can learn how to knock someone out. Show them the proper technique and have them practice to the point where they have sufficient speed and can hit precisely on a target and a knockout is inevitable within reason. I say within reason, because there are some big dudes out there that can take quite a punch - but by the same token there are plenty of big dudes who can't.

To make it simple:

(Speed + Technique) > Opponent's Resistance = Knockout


To make it more likely that your punches are going to have that knockout power, do the following:

  1. Work on Your Core and hip flexibility - Strong abs and obliques will enable you to twist your body with greater force which is a key part of the pivot principle. More pivot equals more power. Crunches, oblique crunches, hanging leg raises, side bends and roman twists will get this area functioning correctly. Likewise, you can't pivot correctly without flexibility in your hips - so work on achieving full range of motion.
  2. Work on Your Accuracy - Head on over to your heavy bag and put a couple of marks on it about chin and temple height. Now as you dance around the bag, aim to hit those spots dead on, every time from different angles. You can also put marks or tape something to your double end bag to try and hit. Because it's moving wildly, you'll develop your accuracy and hand eye coordination.
  3. Hit the Gym - while not the only factor, more strength can mean more speed and more mass. All of that together will make you more powerful as long as the added muscle isn't just for show (needs to be functional muscle). If you strength train, ensure you're throwing some body weight exercises into the mix as well. Total control of your body is what you're looking for and the ability to explosively move the muscles that matter.


There you have it - your complete guide to learning how to knock someone out. With enough practice, determination, skill, power, and luck in terms of your opponent - you could be the victor standing over a twitching mass on the floor one day. Good Luck.

Have you been knocked out or knocked someone out? Let's hear about it. Maybe you don't agree with me that you can teach knockout power? Let's debate it. Leave a comment.

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