I enjoy practicing martial arts and love learning new techniques.
If you want to finish a fight before it's even started, then you need to be able to hit effectively. This article is about how to do that to stop trouble before it starts with a very effective strike, a strike to the solar plexus.
This isn't flashy in any way, but it's extremely painful and will stop even a big unit in his tracks. Here's how to do it properly.
Why Solar Plexus Instead of Trying to Knock Their Head Off With a Punch?
There are several good things about this strike.
The first is that it is hard to see coming. If you keep your eyes on your opponent, they will probably be expecting you to swing for their face as this is more common. You can drop a solar plexus strike in without much range and under their eye line so they won't see it coming.
The second is that if you get it right it's extremely painful and stops the opponent in their tracks as they won't be able to breathe. During this time, when they're doubled over, you can either hit them a few more times to finish them off, leg it, or do both.
Thirdly, you're not likely to cause any lasting damage to your hand (important), or them (less important but still worth bearing in mind). Hands, fingers and knuckles break easily when you hit people on hard surfaces like their face. The solar plexus strike won't damage your hand.
The nice thing about hitting the solar plexus is that there are a lot of nerves there and the diaphragm that helps you breathe is behind there. When you hit it, the diaphragm spasms, and the person can't breathe and is often in a lot of pain. Even muscular guys can get taken down with this easily since they can't develop muscle over that area. In fact, if they're lean, it's ideal as they won't have any fat there to protect them either.
I've seen a Muay Thai fighter get knocked out cold with a solar plexus strike. He had to be carried out of the ring unconscious, which was a good demonstration of its effectiveness.
How to Hit the Solar Plexus Effectively
To hit effectively, you need to transfer your weight through the target. If you just hit it without weight transfer, then you'll probably bounce off, maybe surprise them a bit, but nothing more. The best way to practice weight transfer is to practice the strike against a bag and then against someone, ideally a willing training partner..
Get them to stand there and start from a push on the solar plexus. The solar plexus is located at the top of the abs (or where the abs should be if you're not a situp person) and just below the centre point of your nipples. If you poke your finger onto the sternum (the breastbone) then go down a bit, then you'll find there is an area that's extremely unpleasant to poke. That's where you want to hit.
Start with just stepping forward and pushing that area. The idea is that your body weight is transferred through the opponent, so keep your arm relaxed and push through as if you're pushing through to their spine. You want to do it so you step and your front foot hits the deck as you hit, so your body weight drops into your strike. This is extremely important so don't skip this step, make sure that you are stepping forward properly and pushing your body weight through, as if you leave your feet behind and try to extend your arm to hit, you're greatly limiting the power of your strike.
If you keep your arm relaxed, you'll hit harder and faster than if you try and tense up your muscles. This may sound counterintuitive, but it really works.
Be careful when you practice. Once you get the technique right, then work at building up your speed. You don't want to be staring at the target, just do that while you're getting your aim right, then see if you can start hitting the target while you keep your eyes locked on your opponent. If you are in a confrontation and your eyes drop to the target, they'll see where you're going to hit them.
In an ideal world, your opponent will be coming forward at you as you move forward at them, so when you hit them the two forces make one almighty blow. The thing is, you don't need to hit particularly hard, it is better to practice transferring your weight and hitting with a relaxed arm than trying to muscle through. If you try and hit with a flexed arm, then you'll find you won't hit as hard as relaxed muscles and good weight transfer. Being relaxed also makes you faster.
This is an innocent-looking technique, but it can be very devastating if your opponent isn't expecting it. Plenty of MMA and boxing matches have finished on the spot when someone has been hit in the solar plexus so don't underestimate it. Don't telegraph it and put it in properly and they will be breathless, stunned and on the floor. If you hit hard enough and it won't need to be that hard, they will hit the deck. If you haven't got them perfectly, then they're usually still bent forward and in a great position to follow up with a couple of knees up into the stomach/face or an elbow to the side of the head.
Be careful when practicing. One of my training partners ended up in hospital with a bruised heart and broken sternum from me practicing this technique on them and hitting a bit high. Another cracked his sternum, although his heart was ok. These were both accidental while I was practicing, but the thing is I wasn't even going at them very hard, just flowing through and hitting while relaxed. I wasn't even using punches, just palm strikes and had this effect, so if you are hitting very hard then you may cause your partner problems. Not a problem if you're getting mugged, but not ideal while practicing.
I use a human-shaped punching bag; they’re quite nice to hit as there is a face there. Not as enjoyable as practicing with a human partner but at least you can really go for it with one of these!
Anyway, be careful while practicing with a human as it can be a devastating technique, but a nice one to have in your toolbox just in case you ever need it. It's painful, easy to do and if you practice the delivery, harder to spot than a lot of strikes.
If you need to use it on someone, hit them hard enough to put them down and then get out of there.
Thanks for reading, if you have any comments please leave them below.
Tofi on April 27, 2020:
When i was younger, about 9, my karate teacher taught us how to do that. Ive always wanted to try it on someone to see if it worked!
joe on February 06, 2020:
Thats really cool, but I don't remember asking.
# 401 griffi on October 01, 2017:
Thanks for yhe great info. My 8 and 10 ur old fully enjoyed it. While sparing/practicing My 8 ur old boy punched me in the solar plexus and dropped me like a bad habit. I am 6ft 225 lbs 6%fat body builder and full contat MMA fighter for 10 yrs. I always knew about the plexus but never knew how sensitive it really was. I don't want to turn my children into little killers but I do want them to know weight transfure
And vital pressure points. Your info was very clear and thorough.
Meg on September 21, 2017:
Very cool...esp for a smaller woman like me.
Dirty Vult on August 03, 2017:
True! I use to work out at the same gym as a world champion kick boxer who was also in the NFL shortly after his fighting days. We worked out there together and we would get to fight about once a weak or so. . The future champ needed to build up his stamina for his next match so I got to fight with him in exchange for free classes along with some other big name. Once he side kick me as he closed up I just unloaded a beautiful roundhouse to his solar plex by accident. I got him just right and the champ fell like a sack of mushy potatos. Practice was canceled right after because I koed the champ! He got up after being down for 5 minutes & was assisted out of the gym. I got lucky because he was never koed before that. It really was a lucky shot but he was hurt for a good 5 minutes.
Ryanpaulgraham on June 13, 2017:
Most importantly consider the legal ramifications. Any strikes to the head in a street altercation, could land you in serious trouble, even in self defence.
You are unlikely to get taken to court for punching someone in the stomach.
Stephen A on February 14, 2017:
I've heard it was a popular punch with bare knuckle prize fighters of the pugilism era, where that part of the body was called "the mark".
Reagan on December 14, 2016:
"One of my training partners ended up in hospital with a bruised heart and broken sternum from me practicing this technique on them and hitting a bit high" how tf do you bruise your heart? Isn't that what the ribcage is for? It literally serves no purpose other than to shield our heart and lungs
Adam spooner uk on September 15, 2016:
I've practiced martial arts armed & unarmed very good techneque
Jim on June 23, 2016:
Watch the mma,fighter get ko with 2 fingers on you tube with a solar plexs blow
Jonscott311 on June 08, 2016:
Great article. ..well written and easy to follow.
Completely agree with the overrated nut kick vs solar plexus punch. Although permanent damage may be more likely from a well placed kich to the testicles, it's not a high percentage strike. Not only are testicles hidden between thigh muscle, but any man knows those finicky little bastards often drop us to our knees from a light brush against them, and then survive a full blown kick. I have doubled over far more from accidentally grazed nuts than I have from heavy impacts, and my boys' Pediatrician told me that testicles can automatically retract faster than most impact (much like our eyelashes/eyelids can close faster than most flying objects. That made sense to me...which would explain why I've never been dropped from a nut kick in any of my fights, yet it seems I'm curled up in minor agony about once a month just playing with my two little boys (3 and 5).
Not to mention I think most men are just conditioned to to overreact any nut shot ....like dramatization is just customary.
On the other hand I've been utterlty incapacitated with well placed strikes to the solar plexus. ...it's just about as debilitating as a strike to the ole liverdoodle.
More importantly, one can practice effective body strikes that WILL win the contest, but I can't imagine practicing effective nut kicks when my little boys do far more groin damage than all my my 185 lb opponents put together , so To me that's be like practicing to flip coins for heads or tails.
Apparently my Coffee kicked in early this morning.
Niku on May 08, 2016:
"Different to a nut shot which contrary to what happens in the movie isn't too debilitating and is something you can carry on with even if uncomfortable. "
Only for a eunuch.
GhostGuru on October 04, 2015:
If this move doesn't work, you're screwed cause all you practice was this one move lol
Rain Defence (author) from UK on August 08, 2015:
Make sure you're not in the way of it.
mr j on May 13, 2015:
How to stop such a punch which is aimed for our diaphragm??
dante on January 13, 2015:
Can someone die if it's a hard enough hit?
Rain Defence (author) from UK on May 01, 2014:
That's not actually true at all. Anyway I speak from personal experience, I've managed to keep going after a nut shot and have been stopped and stopped others with a solar strike. Maybe a nut shot leads to more permanent risk of injury, but you can certainly fight through it at the time when your adrenalin is going.
Gordo on April 25, 2014:
If in a real fight with no rules, nut kick is better, your legs are longer and stronger. I totally disagree with your comment, a hard nut kick is completely debilitating. Remember the UFC banned nut kicks, not solar plexus punches. The fights ended too quickly before the ban...
Rain Defence (author) from UK on April 09, 2014:
Well the ones that have martial arts experience probably do! You need to practice a lot for it to become second nature, but if you land a solid hit there you'll see the results trust me! Practice on a friend and you'll find out.
Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 06, 2014:
Interesting hub :). Good advice for self defense or stopping a fight. Wonder why more police don't use this move if under attack or to subdue a person. Thank you for this hub.
Rain Defence (author) from UK on November 14, 2013:
Everyone should have some interest in defending themselves I reckon. Thanks for your comment. Stay safe!
Rohan Rinaldo Felix from Chennai, India on November 13, 2013:
A very useful article for anyone interested in self defence. Kudos! Voted up and useful!
Rain Defence (author) from UK on October 16, 2013:
Yeah it's not one of those things you can just deal with and keep going, it pretty much just turns your body off on the spot for at least a few seconds. Different to a nut shot which contrary to what happens in the movie isn't too debilitating and is something you can carry on with even if uncomfortable. Solar plexus strike is certainly one of my favourites.
Robert on October 12, 2013:
Getting hit in the solar plexus and I was hit there once is completely debilitating despite ones pain threshold,it is much worse than getting hit hard in the nuts,
Pure pain can be controlled or countered by firing your adrenalin/ noradrenalin, this is particularly true of a groin strike, but the solar plexus blow just floors you and you feel lousy for a long time
A great self defense tool, but I hear it can be lethal.......
Rain Defence (author) from UK on December 20, 2012:
It's certainly a good one to practice. As with all martial arts stuff though, it's only any good if you can pull it off so delivering it unseen is just as much of a skill as the hit itself. If its telegraphed, it won't work as the other person will block or move, same with any hit really, but if you get caught unaware, with power and that's it, you're on your knees.
Thanks for your comments.
aykianink on December 20, 2012:
Such a deadly result for NOT full speed. I have new respect for this move. I'm glad you're much safer now. And I applaud you for taking down people larger than you (when you need to, of course).
Rain Defence (author) from UK on December 20, 2012:
Well the crazy thing was I wasn't going that hard. But one of the things I've found is that sometimes when you're not trying to go as fast and hard you can end up doing more damage as your technique just ends up right and your punch penetrates better because you're relaxed.
Anyway I'm careful now when I'm training with it but I've practiced it so many times over the last 10 years. Its one of my favourite techniques and I've used it many times to floor people of all sizes and builds. That's why I decided to write this article!
aykianink on December 20, 2012:
"One of my training partners ended up in hospital with a bruised heart and broken sternum from me practicing this technique on them and hitting a bit high." Yikes...but then again, were you going full strength and full speed?
Rain Defence (author) from UK on November 26, 2012:
It is a good move, practice it with some chums and you've got it in your toolbox just in case you ever need it. Most effective move though is to not be there. If there's trouble brewing get out of there. I think that one of the best things about martial art training isn't the moves, it's the increased awareness which stops you from getting into trouble in the first place.
Tammy from North Carolina on November 25, 2012:
Very unique! This could be a great move for women to learn for self defense. I know that if you karate chop someone in the artery in the neck they will fall like a sack of bricks, but I didn't know about the solar plexus. Very helpful information!
Graham Lee from Lancashire. England. on November 09, 2012:
A brilliant and informative hub. First class presentation. Voted up and all.