Head punches

teej

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Not a Kenpo question, but I know one of you will have an answer.

What is the reasoning behind the Koreans and Japanese not allowing punches to the head but allowing kicks to the head? Being two different countries or governing bodies, do they have different reasons for not allowing head punches?

Recently watching Human Weapon and Fight Quest episodes where matches were stopped and warnings given because the Americans head punched. Infact, I beleive the episode in Greece had the same rules, no head punches.

All the arts have tough fighters, but as you all know kicks generate more force than punches. What is the reasoning?

Just courious, Teej
 

Shotochem

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It depends on the Japanese art. Shotokan allowed punching to the head and face. It just had to be controlled with no excessive contact.

I may be wrong but I was under the assumption that the reasoning behind the no face punching was purely insurance and liability. I never really gave it much thought.

In most cases a punch will be alot quicker with less distance to travel than a kick and statistically more likely to land to the head than a kick which travels slower and farther and leaves more time to react.

Just a thought. I hope someone has the real answer, I'd like to know.

-Marc-
 

Mark L

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I've heard that Kyokushin (sp?) practitioners (they were featured on a recent Fight Quest) don't punch to the head to avoid injuring their hands.
 

punisher73

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Whether or not this is true or urban legend. I had heard that the hands were too important due to trade skills etc. so they did not want to break their hands fighting so they concentrated on their legs. Also, legs were more powerful weapons.
 

Doc_Jude

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Whether or not this is true or urban legend. I had heard that the hands were too important due to trade skills etc. so they did not want to break their hands fighting so they concentrated on their legs. Also, legs were more powerful weapons.

I like that one.
 

LawDog

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Carl M. is a close friend and affiliate of mine, he has been studing Tang Soo Do for approx. 34 years. Over twenty years ago Carl told me that his Korean instructor had explained this to him. Carl was told that the Koreans do not use their hands to strike the head area because they thought it would be below their dignity them to do so.
In most sport events of today it is just to cover the events insurance regulations and the fear of being sued.
:duh:
 

Touch Of Death

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Not a Kenpo question, but I know one of you will have an answer.

What is the reasoning behind the Koreans and Japanese not allowing punches to the head but allowing kicks to the head? Being two different countries or governing bodies, do they have different reasons for not allowing head punches?

Recently watching Human Weapon and Fight Quest episodes where matches were stopped and warnings given because the Americans head punched. Infact, I beleive the episode in Greece had the same rules, no head punches.

All the arts have tough fighters, but as you all know kicks generate more force than punches. What is the reasoning?

Just courious, Teej
People get tired and don't want to kick anymore. The no head punch thing encourages kicking for that easy knock out; so, thats the sport and fun of it. These are the rules and this is how (we) play.
Sean
Sean
 

Traditionalist

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People get tired and don't want to kick anymore. The no head punch thing encourages kicking for that easy knock out; so, thats the sport and fun of it. These are the rules and this is how (we) play.
Sean
Sean

I know in our school tournaments at the black belt level they allow punching to the head and everytime it ends up being a slugfest because the fighters aren't in shape and its easier to punch then kick or they just get sloppy. When are tournaments were first put on we did not allow hands to the head and fighters had to rely on their skills and back then you saw better kicks and more combos and all around better fighters (in my opinion). I don't know the real reason historically but I'm liking the trade theory as well.
 

Michael Billings

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LOL, what really happened in at least one large promoters group was that with no kicks it looked like brawling and they wanted to encourage "kicking because it is what looks better to the public." Hence the olympic rules putting head kicks at a premium of points and punches 1/2 the value of the kick.

Marketing Marketing.
 

Doc

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The reason for this is a rather simple one. In the modern day arts, sport is a major consideration now, as well as establishing the "stylistic identity" of the art/sport being promoted.

Kyokushinkai is promoted heavily as a "tough-man" Japanese Art. Its progenitor is the originator of the introduction of regular 'breaking' as a part of training. He, (Mas Oyama), is famous for his bare handed fights with, and killing of bulls. They have their 100 man sparring, where one guy has to complete a ritual to reach certain recognition of sparring 100 people in a row.

They have their "bare knuckle full contact" tournaments, that are the driving forces behind the "no punches to the face rule." Bare knuckle punches to the face reduce contests to short duration, or sloppy "punchfests" with little kicking, lest you be caught with a punch. Much like the early days of "kick boxing" in America saw rules that mandated a specific number of kicks in each round. That didn't work because competitors would stand in the ring and throw the requisite number of kicks really quickly, so they could go on to using their hands.

I too, also heard similar disingenuous cultural bull excuses about kicks to the groin in some of the Korean Arts. "It is beneath us. It is demeaning, etc." The truth is, the art looses it identity as a "specialty kicking art" if kicks to the groin are allowed.

High kicking is a showcase for some of their arts. Allow kicks to the groin and no one will be inclined to kick high, protection or not. The truth is "low kicks are more effective in a fight." But, "high kicks are necessary in their philosophical approach to what they do." No high fancy kicks, no art!

In other words, if you add punches to the face, the ability to sustain the identity of the promoted sport/art becomes very difficult as the pragmatic nature of execution will overwhelm mandated philosophical deficiencies everytime.
 

LawDog

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I too, also heard similar disingenuous cultural bull excuses about kicks to the groin in some of the Korean Arts. "It is beneath us. It is demeaning, etc."

Now, now now, be nice Doc. It's their culture and they can tell any historical tales about it that they wish to.
 

Doc

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I too, also heard similar disingenuous cultural bull excuses about kicks to the groin in some of the Korean Arts. "It is beneath us. It is demeaning, etc."

Now, now now, be nice Doc. It's their culture and they can tell any historical tales about it that they wish to.

Of course sir. Here's one of them that to me seemed much closer to the truth.

I attended a local tournament in Southern California hosted by a local well known Korean "master." In his instructions in the rules meeting for sparring he said,

"Punch to body, one point."
"Kick to body, one point."
"Punch to head, one point."
"Kick to head TWO points."

When he was queried as to why a kick to the head was worth two points, he replied;

"Kick much better."

Someone asked, "What about punches to the head?"

He said, with a serious expression on his face,

"PUNCHES TOO DANGEROUS!"

I smiled, and went and sat down.
 

Danjo

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Of course sir. Here's one of them that to me seemed much closer to the truth.

I attended a local tournament in Southern California hosted by a local well known Korean "master." In his instructions in the rules meeting for sparring he said,

"Punch to body, one point."
"Kick to body, one point."
"Punch to head, one point."
"Kick to head TWO points."

When he was queried as to why a kick to the head was worth two points, he replied;

"Kick much better."

Someone asked, "What about punches to the head?"

He said, with a serious expression on his face,

"PUNCHES TOO DANGEROUS!"

I smiled, and went and sat down.

I wonder how much they would have given for one of those Karate Kid Crane kicks?

Seriously,

at least three generations (depending on how you count it) of people have learned martial arts based on the emphasis that they have been given due to the demands of either the tournaments or sportive needs. Back in the 60's it was all about the side kick, back fist and reverse punch. In the 70's everyone seemed to look like a kickboxer, and now MMA is in vogue with it's emphasis on the Muy Thai Roundhouse kick, Double Leg take-down, and the Ground-and-Pound.

While the martial art techniques can certainly be adapted for sportive purposes against other trained fighters, that was not their original intent.

They were designed, in some cases, to allow the average guy to protect himself against people who were perhaps experienced, but relatively untrained in hand to hand combat. They identified the major ways that someone would attack you and came up with ways to defend yourself by evading, re-directing or stopping the attack and countering by using strikes, locks or throws directed against the joints, nerves, soft tissue etc. that would thus render the attacker helpless. The helplessness of the attacker could mean anything from pain compliance to unconciousness, injury or death. They relied on the attacker not knowing what your training was until it was too late for him to do anything about it.

In other cases, they were designed for Field battle and were taught to soldiers and Samurai etc.

Still in other cases, they were designed for use by policemen, be it patrolmen or palace guards etc.

In Old-School Karate getting off the first strike was considered important.

However, Funakoshi liked to say "Karate ni sente nashi" meaning that there is no first strike in karate. To which Choki Motubu countered, "Karate IS sente." Meaning Karate IS the first strike. Motubu also said, "Fighting is based on strategic deception." and "Kicks are not all that effective in a real confrontation."

Funakoshi was trying to adapt the art to the Japanese ideology. Motobu, keeping with karate's original intent, had no use for such things preferring to stick with what he knew worked. One might not have agreed with him in all of his assertions, but they were nevertheless based on his real experience.

When one keeps the original purpose of the martial arts in mind, they can serve very well. When one tries to make it something it's not, then it begins to fail.

I always shake my head when someone says something like, "Karate isn't very effective against a boxer." What they have in mind is a pre-arranged bout where the opponents square off and fight. They conclude that karate doesn't hold up well in that situation and thus is a waste of time and one would be better off studying boxing. What they don't have in mind is the scenario where one is attacked in an elevator by an unkown assailant that knows nothing about your training until he's writhing on the floor in agony holding onto his now ruptured testicles.

A thing is what it is, and it's not something else. Concluding that a tractor is no good because it can't compete with a formula race car on a track, or that a formula race car is no good because it can't compete with a tractor at plowing fields is silly. Yet we see this constantly in the martial arts.
 

Doc

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I wonder how much they would have given for one of those Karate Kid Crane kicks?

Seriously,

at least three generations (depending on how you count it) of people have learned martial arts based on the emphasis that they have been given due to the demands of either the tournaments or sportive needs. Back in the 60's it was all about the side kick, back fist and reverse punch. In the 70's everyone seemed to look like a kickboxer, and now MMA is in vogue with it's emphasis on the Muy Thai Roundhouse kick, Double Leg take-down, and the Ground-and-Pound.

While the martial art techniques can certainly be adapted for sportive purposes against other trained fighters, that was not their original intent.

They were designed, in some cases, to allow the average guy to protect himself against people who were perhaps experienced, but relatively untrained in hand to hand combat. They identified the major ways that someone would attack you and came up with ways to defend yourself by evading, re-directing or stopping the attack and countering by using strikes, locks or throws directed against the joints, nerves, soft tissue etc. that would thus render the attacker helpless. The helplessness of the attacker could mean anything from pain compliance to unconciousness, injury or death. They relied on the attacker not knowing what your training was until it was too late for him to do anything about it.

In other cases, they were designed for Field battle and were taught to soldiers and Samurai etc.

Still in other cases, they were designed for use by policemen, be it patrolmen or palace guards etc.

In Old-School Karate getting off the first strike was considered important.

However, Funakoshi liked to say "Karate ni sente nashi" meaning that there is no first strike in karate. To which Choki Motubu countered, "Karate IS sente." Meaning Karate IS the first strike. Motubu also said, "Fighting is based on strategic deception." and "Kicks are not all that effective in a real confrontation."

Funakoshi was trying to adapt the art to the Japanese ideology. Motobu, keeping with karate's original intent, had no use for such things preferring to stick with what he knew worked. One might not have agreed with him in all of his assertions, but they were nevertheless based on his real experience.

When one keeps the original purpose of the martial arts in mind, they can serve very well. When one tries to make it something it's not, then it begins to fail.

I always shake my head when someone says something like, "Karate isn't very effective against a boxer." What they have in mind is a pre-arranged bout where the opponents square off and fight. They conclude that karate doesn't hold up well in that situation and thus is a waste of time and one would be better off studying boxing. What they don't have in mind is the scenario where one is attacked in an elevator by an unkown assailant that knows nothing about your training until he's writhing on the floor in agony holding onto his now ruptured testicles.

A thing is what it is, and it's not something else. Concluding that a tractor is no good because it can't compete with a formula race car on a track, or that a formula race car is no good because it can't compete with a tractor at plowing fields is silly. Yet we see this constantly in the martial arts.
The longer your posts get, the shorter mine are. Dam that was good sir. :)
 

Martin h

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Recently watching Human Weapon and Fight Quest episodes where matches were stopped and warnings given because the Americans head punched. Infact, I beleive the episode in Greece had the same rules, no head punches.

All the arts have tough fighters, but as you all know kicks generate more force than punches. What is the reasoning?

Since both the Human weapon and the Fight Quest episode highlighted kyokushin karate fights, I will give the explanation for why they (we ) dont allow it.

Basically there are 3 reasons.
1. (and maybe most importantly) when the knockdown karate rules was designed in the 60ies, there was a law in japan against bareknuckle brawling.
Not allowing facepunches was a way around the law.

2. The founder of kyokushin was very negative to the use of gloves (there was only bulky boxing gloves to chose from back then), which he regarded as changing the way punches/blocks were done, compared to bareknuckle.

And full force bareknuckle facepunches in competition is a good way to get injured -a lot. Both face injuries and hand injuries. Even if a few hardcore fighters would accept that, most would not. Especially since kyokushin uses elimination tournaments.

3. The founder of kyokushin once killed a man with a single punch to the head (in selfdefense -he went to court and was let go without punishment), he was afraid it would happen in competitions.


So why allow kicks to the head, since they are more powerful? Yes they are, but it is harder to hit with one, and the hits are much less frequent than with punches (no jabs) and much easier to block.

Other styles (shotokan, wadoryu etc) allowed facepunching, with very limited or no power. Breaking off and restarting after almost every punch.
But that is not really the idea behind kyokushin.
One group of kyokushin fights with thin MMA type gloves and allows facepunches. It is a pretty new change in the rules.
One popular karate competition form in japan today is shin-karate. Basically kyokushin rules but with boxing gloves and headpunches allowed.
Many okinawan karate styles fight with Bogu rules. Full-contact continuous fighting while wearing a lot of padding, chest protectors, gloves, helmets etc.

But the old traditional "knockdown karate" rules created by kyokushin in the late 60ies is still the most widely used form of full contact karate in japan.
 

Doc

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Since both the Human weapon and the Fight Quest episode highlighted kyokushin karate fights, I will give the explanation for why they (we ) dont allow it.

Basically there are 3 reasons.
1. (and maybe most importantly) when the knockdown karate rules was designed in the 60ies, there was a law in japan against bareknuckle brawling.
Not allowing facepunches was a way around the law.

2. The founder of kyokushin was very negative to the use of gloves (there was only bulky boxing gloves to chose from back then), which he regarded as changing the way punches/blocks were done, compared to bareknuckle.

And full force bareknuckle facepunches in competition is a good way to get injured -a lot. Both face injuries and hand injuries. Even if a few hardcore fighters would accept that, most would not. Especially since kyokushin uses elimination tournaments.

3. The founder of kyokushin once killed a man with a single punch to the head (in selfdefense -he went to court and was let go without punishment), he was afraid it would happen in competitions.
I suspect the bold type is the real reason. The rest would appear to be self serving anecdotal.
 
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