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One Strike Knockout…For Real! – Derek Smith

While an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) I went through a defensive tactics instructor course that taught me a devastating blow that totally changed my perspective on one punch knockouts.

The strike I am speaking of is called a “Brachial stun.” The brachial stun is, without a doubt, the most effective and reliable stunning technique within the special agent combative system. Brachial stuns were designed to replace the necessity of hand strikes to the head, which could easily lead to a broken hand. In my course, I advocate not hitting someone in the head with your fist. This technique can be delivered with the back of the hand, the inside of the hand, the inside of the forearm, or the outside of the forearm making it a very versatile strike you can use from any direction.

The brachial stun it delivered to the Brachial Plexus Origin. Not only is the brachial plexus origin one of my favorite pressure points to strike, it is also statistically the number one most effective pressure point in the human body.

When I was an instructor at the AFOSI academy, I was also the defensive tactics instructor. Each class of new special agents would have about 30 students. I made it a point to strike every student, man and woman, with this strike to demonstrate its effectiveness. From small men and women to 290-pound ex-football players, this strike never failed to put them on their asses.

Pressure to the brachial plexus origin can be applied by touch pressure, repeated touch pressure or by striking, each application having a different effect on the person I apply it to. I recommend striking the area as it is much easier and much more effective.

A version of the Army Field Manual on combatives (FM 21-150) describes the brachial stun this way:

A sharp blow to the side of the neck causes unconsciousness by shock to the carotid artery, jugular vein, and vagus nerve. For maximum result, the blow should be focused below and slightly in front of the ear. A less powerful blow causes involuntary muscle spasms and intense pain. The side of the neck is one of the best targets to use to drop an opponent immediately or to disable him temporarily to finish him later.

Generally, in my special agent combatives course we use the brachial plexus as a target of opportunity, if it is there I take it, and from just about any angle. I have executed this technique from several types of strikes; ridgehand, hammerfist, knuckle punch, regular punch, forearm, elbow, and even with a knee strike. It works very well from any of these.

When I catch my opponent with the brachial stun is has been known to cause weakness, numbness, loss of sensation, loss of movement (temporary paralysis), and pain. My opponent usually falls down after being struck. Statistically 70% of people are rendered unconscious when receiving a brachial plexus stun and the remaining percentage are usually still stunned on some level. Having been hit with it myself, I also know that it causes a jarring motion to the brain.

Understanding this potent attack and its best use in a self-defense situation is a must for those who take their self-defense training seriously.

Click here for more self defense instruction from Derek Smith

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55 thoughts on “One Strike Knockout…For Real! – Derek Smith”

  1. the verbiage describes striking ” below and slightly in front of the ear “, however the picture demonstrates striking BEHIND the ear……. Which is it?

  2. Thank you all for your great comments. Keep it up as I love interacting with you. If I did not answer you directly, thank you very much.

  3. Ken Appis, thanks for your service. As you probably know, I served in the Air force in OSI. It was during my OSI training that I first learned this technique.

  4. Andy Caterer, I am glad this is helpful to you. This is why we do this. Not everyone can train regularly at a martial arts school. And even if you do, they are not teaching you the “tricks” of the trade that we do. Check out the many good training items available from Fight Fast. I even learn from them myself.

  5. Gene Gallaugher, forgive me for saying this, but I don’t think most of the MMA guys are that good. Indeed they are athletes and can probably kick my ass, but I say this because many of them are not disciplined enough to stay with a martial art to black belt and really learn the basics. They just want more techniques. If you look, their kicks are sloppy and their punches are weak. When you get a black belt like BJ Pen in their, he dominates everyone for a while. So my answer is that, they could use it, if they took the time to learn it. It would probably be illegal in boxing.