In a boxing match last night I saw somebody land a big punch that resulted in a technical knockout. It got me thinking about a factor that isn't often associated with knockout punches.

There are many factors that come into play when considering what builds a person's ability to successfully deliver or take a big punch. It was only upon seeing the slow motion replay of the knockout punch last night that it became apparent that there is a relationship between which side of the face you are punched on, which foot you have the majority of your weight on at the time you take the punch and how likely is it to be a knockout blow.

Knockouts happen when the rate of vestibular disturbance, impact on and motion of the brain and changes in circulation so high that consciousness is lost while equilibrium is being restored. In practical terms this means that the head must be hit extremely hard and/or rapidly displaced from above the spine or rapidly rotated around it's own axis by the external force which in this case comes from the punch.

Looking at the second scenario, how can we increase the vestibular disturbance and motion of the brain caused by a punch when looking at the relationship between the side I punch them on and which foot they are standing more on at that time?

When we place our weight predominantly on one foot, that side of the body increases its muscular tone to help us stay upright. The muscles along the other side of us relinquish some tone making it easier for that side to rotate around the rigid side. While stood on our right foot, the muscles along the right side of our neck are somewhat in use, under eccentric tension to keep the head still. These are the muscles stop the head from rotating left and laterally flexing the head left.

With our opponent on their right foot, a right handed hook from me to the left side of their face will quickly rotate the head right. The muscles on the left side of the neck are in a free state and can decelerate their movement in a good timely manner. A free muscle is a good muscle in this instance.

A left hook from me is a different story. Delivered to the right side of their face, their head will rotate left. The anti-rotation muscles that decelerate this movement are already partially contracted, putting them in poor condition to deal with the quick acceleration to the head. The neck will decelerate the head more slowly and the vestibular disturbance will be greater for a punch of the same force, making it more likely to be a knockout blow.

We can then consider the side to side motion of our opponent as we land the blow. In the case they have moved to their left and are stood on their right foot as the punch lands, their lateral motion away from the punch will decrease its impact. If they are moving to their right as I catch them more on their right foot with my left hook, they have walked into my punch and the resultant acceleration of it will be greater.

The fight I watch last night showed this chain of events happen in real competition. As one fighter had thrown a punch and stepped right onto his right foot, a counter left hook caught him on his right cheek. His neck couldn't deal well enough with the ensuing rotation and that was game over.

Think about this principle. Do you receive or provide impact to opponents in your sport. How could you use their footing and yours to your advantage?

Make sure your opponents are the ones caught on the wrong foot.

The foot you have more weight on when you receive a punch can make a massive impact on how much it damages you

The foot you have more weight on when you receive a punch can make a massive impact on how much it damages you