in: Featured, Manly Know-How, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: October 12, 2022

Where to Hit Someone to Inflict the Most Damage

Illustration show body parts to hit someone to inflict the most damage.

With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Sunday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in June 2018.

Getting into a physical fight is never ideal, and every self-defense expert will tell you that if you can avoid a fight if at all possible, you should. But, sometimes you can’t, and if you’re attacked and need to protect yourself, it’s important to know how to fight back. The best way to prepare for this scenario is to train in boxing, self-defense techniques, or some form of martial arts. You can’t expect to suddenly know how to punch when you’re threatened; your reaction must instead be thoroughly well-practiced.

Regardless of your level of training, one piece of know-how you should have deeply ingrained in your mind is where to direct your blows should you find yourself in an altercation. What places of your attacker’s body should you aim for if you’re looking to cause the most damage and get the most “bang for your buck”?

The best places to hit someone are the most sensitive parts of the body, including the eyes, ears, nose, and groin. But there are also many other spots where thick bones don’t protect the body’s super sensitive nerves and organs. Knowing multiple pressure points like this can help you fend off your attacker better because they won’t be able to protect all these vulnerable places at once.

The numbered list below correlates to the above illustration; keep in mind that striking these areas can cause serious injury or even death — only utilize such blows when you’re truly threatened with death or serious bodily harm. When you are though, the rules of polite society and even the sporting ring are thrown out the window; you must be willing to fight “dirty” and do what you must to incapacitate your assailant. 

1. Base of skull/neck – Also known as a rabbit punch, hitting someone at the base of the skull can cause spinal cord injuries. Punching this area is not to be taken lightly and used only as a last resort.

2. Kidneys – A successful kidney shot will deal a great amount of initial and lingering pain to a person’s back and abdominal area. Make sure to aim your shot up and under their rib cage for maximum effectiveness.

3. Tailbone – The tip of the tailbone is a small, sensitive bone. If struck with a hard shoe or boot at the right angle, it can easily break, sending waves of crippling pain into your attacker’s rear end, lower back, and legs.

4. Jaw hinge – Knocking someone here, just below the ear, can break their jaw and end most fights in an instant.

5. Side of neck – This classic chop spot isn’t just for kung fu movies. Give someone a stern strike to the side of the neck and carotid artery and you could hit the vagus nerve. When this nerve is struck, it can cause severe dizziness and possibly knock someone out.

6. Base of throat (trachea) – The trachea is one of the most sensitive spots on the body and should be treated with real respect. Even a light punch to the trachea can collapse a larynx and cause someone to choke. Strike this area only as a last resort and be aware of the consequences.

7. Armpit – A sharp fingertip punch to the armpit can deaden a person’s arm and leave them vulnerable to other attacks.

8. Solar plexus – The solar plexus is that soft spot between the bottom of your sternum and the top of your stomach. A strong kick or punch to the solar plexus will easily knock the wind out of someone.

9. Bladder – A bladder shot can cause extreme lingering pain and, if the assailant’s bladder is full, also force the discharge of urine.

10. Knees – The ligaments and tendons that hold a knee in place aren’t strong enough to withstand hard lateral movements. Kicking someone’s knee to the side can cause a tear that will disable any attacker.

11. Ankles – A good stomp to someone’s ankle can easily break the joint or the ligaments that hold it together, especially if you’re wearing heavy boots.

12. Groin – We all know what this can do.

13. Chin – Striking someone on the chin can knock someone out because it forces the head to twist so suddenly and severely that it rattles the brain.

14. Temple – Similar to a chin hit, a strong punch to a soft temple can cause extreme brain trauma that can easily knock someone unconscious.

15. Nose – It doesn’t take much to break a nose; as little as seven pounds of pressure will do it. The blood and pain that result will stop many opponents. Plus, a broken nose also activates a person’s tear ducts, causing even more disorientation.

16. Eyes – Hitting or gouging someone in the eyes is a last resort as it can permanently damage an attacker’s vision. But, even light gouging can force an ocean of tears that make it hard for him to see.

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Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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