I’m a little curious about the ways that karate chops are effective. So, I did some research, as well as drawing on all my karate experience, and here’s what I found.
Karate chops are effective in the following ways:
- When the hands are strengthened you can strike the temple which can knockout your opponent
- You can strike the jaw from the side which can knock out an opponent
- You can strike behind the ear which can knock out and opponent
- You can use them as a distraction to set up other strikes
- You can strike the liver, which can end a fight
- They can be used to break a person’s grip
- They can be used to block strikes
- You can use it instead of an overhand punch for more speed
- You strike the mouth of face to make the fight harder for you opponent
- By hurting an opponent and discouraging them from continuing their attack
- It can shock an attacker and give you an opening
Karate Chops Used In Mixed Martial Arts Fights
Although, a karate chop is rarely seen in mixed martial arts competitions. It is an extremely effective technique.
And in traditional karate and other martial arts, the wrists and hands are strengthened to the point where someone can strike very hard objects with a lot of force and not hurt their hands or wrists.
In my opinion, the reason they aren’t used so much in MMA competition is that boxing is a very refined sport, and the art of throwing different punches and not being hit back has been perfected over many years. So, it’s easier to find really good coaches.
But, if any striking style is practiced enough, it’s effective. Especially when your opponent hasn’t trained how to defend it.
When punching without gloves, there’s a good chance you’ll break your hand, making the rest of the fight much harder for you, according to Sandoval Karate.
With that being said I’ll now explain the 11 ways that karate chops are effective in more detail so you can get a good idea of how they can be used to defend yourself.
Only To Be Used As A Last Resort
It’s very important to state here that any strikes on a person can lead to death and serious injury. (Source) If a person is struck in the neck it can damage the spinal column.
Also, if an opponent is knocked out when they fall especially on hard concrete the impact can cause a brain injury and lead to death.
There are many boxers and fighters who have died during a professional fight, or shortly afterward due to a hard impact to the head. According to Wikipedia, the most recent was in 2019.
Though, it’s rare, striking an opponent is best reserved for a life or death situation, and not to preserve your ego. As you can be charged with a serious crime and go to jail. Therefore, you should avoid a fight at all costs.
1. When the hands are strengthened you can strike the temple which can knockout your opponent
The temple is a known part of the human head that when hit with a lot of force can knock out an opponent. And it’s a common area that boxers and kickboxers target to win a fight.
I personally find watching someone getting knocked out hard to watch so I won’t include any videos here of it happening in a real boxing or MMA match.
But feel free to search for it. It’s generally targeted in boxing using a hook, or stepping to the side and using a straight punch.
This is why you see boxers and kickboxers ‘cover up’ where they put both hands up to absorb the impact from a strike aimed at the temple or jaw.
2. Striking the jaw from the side which can knock out an opponent
The jaw is also a known area that is targeted by the striking arts to knock out an opponent. When the jaw is struck hard it causes the brain to vibrate and the body has an inbuilt defense mechanism which is to shut down the whole body.
In boxing, the jaw is struck from the front using a straight punch or a jab. And from the side, it is struck using a hook. A karate chop can target the same area from the side, similar to a hook.
3. You can strike behind the ear which can knock out an opponent
There is a sensitive area at the bottom of the ear, where there are a lot of nerve endings. If you gently touch this area with your fingers you will notice that it is very painful.
This is also a known area targeted in boxing and other striking arts. A well-placed karate chop in this area can knock out an opponent.
4. You can use them as a distraction to set up other strikes
A fighter can feint a karate chop. Feints are an effective strategy in a fight because the other person is concentrating on defending, which leaves them open to a strike from the other side.
For example, you should feint a karate chop by showing an open palm on your right hand and then kicking them in the body from the left side.
5. You can strike the liver which is a ‘knock out’ area
The liver which is located on the left side of a person’s body just below the rib cage can knock a person out. It has been used by a well-known MMA fighter Bas Rutten. Here’s a video of how he uses a liver strike.
If you strike this area with enough force with a karate chop it will also really limit your opponent’s ability to fight back or knock them out.
6. They can be used to break a person’s grip
In a situation where someone is holding on to something to avoid getting arrested or holding someone hostage a hard karate chop to the wrist or arm, can make them loosen their grip, or let go.
A punch is often risky in this situation because if you miss you might strike something hard like the ground or a wall and break your hand.
Although there are other more effective methods to make someone let go of something, it is still a valid way to make someone loosen their grip.
7. It can be used to block strikes
Karate chops are also used to block strikes, and then get in close and grapple or throw strikes. In traditional karate, a closed hand is used, but in grappling arts, like Brazilian jiu jitsu an open hand is used to block strikes before closing the distance and taking an opponent to the ground. Or finishing the opponent on the feet.
8. You can use it instead of an overhand punch for more speed
An overhand punch is a hook that targets behind the ear where the hand is turned upside down.
Here’s a video showing how to throw an overhand in boxing.
But, an open hand can also be used with an open hand where the inside part of the hand – the base of the thumb and the wrist makes contact with an opponent.
9. Striking the mouth of face to make the fight harder for you opponent
You can strike your opponent in the mouth, and on the nose. If you strike the nose it can break it, and makes it hard for an opponent to breathe.
The pain can also be very discouraging and make an aggressor give up. You can use a karate strike in this way with either the left or right side of your hand.
10. Hurting an opponent and discouraging them from continuing their attack
A karate chop anywhere on the body hurts and can make an attacker think twice. But, bear in mind if an attacker is very determined, intoxicated, or on drugs, they can often fight through the pain and it won’t have much effect.
So, it’s a good idea to have some other techniques to subdue your opponents such as wrestling, judo, or Brazilian jiu jitsu.
11. It can shock an attacker and give you an opening
If you hit an opponent with a karate chop but it doesn’t knock them out it can also stun them momentarily giving you time to run away or land other strikes.
Karate chops are an effective fighting technique and can be utilized in a range of situations. And if you train them enough you use them instead of boxing strikes to reduce the risk of damaging your hands during a serious situation where you need to defend yourself.