Can the Heart Punch Kill

heart punch

Being a professional wrestling fan can expose us to a lot of holds, slams or strikes that have the tendency to provide unbelievable or often absurd damage to the recipient.

For example, a hanging/delayed vertical suplex popularized by the late British Bulldog and other technical wrestlers hold that the extended time wherein the receiver is in an upside down position will provide extra damage due to the blood building up in his head. While it is true that an upside down position will let the blood rush to the head, it has to take longer than the usual time it takes for a wrestler to deliver the hanging/delayed vertical suplex. Hence, its claim is definitely a fluff.

Another move in pro wrestling that is subject to debate is the notorious heart punch. According to pro wrestling lore, the heart punch is capable of making the heart of the recipient skip a beat. The resulting damage can cause a knockout or even death.

But is this possible? This is a question send to us recently via Best Self Defense Weapons Mailbag.

According to Wikipedia, there is a condition to the heart called Commotio cordis (a Latin phrase meaning “agitation of the heart”). The condition is characterized by a lethal disruption of the rhythm of the heart after a very powerful blow. This is often experienced by athletes who are involved in close contact games such as football or martial arts.

So, a perfectly timed blow to the sternum such as the heart punch has a chance to stun or even kill an opponent. However, the chances of these occurring are very low because the following conditions must be present:

1. The strike must be directly to the precordium or the area over the heart and lower chest.

2. The blow must be really powerful.

3. The impact must occur exactly within 10 to 30 millisecond portion of the cardiac cycle. Thus, the chance of hitting the heart within the specified period of the cardiac cycle is higher when the person’s heart is beating faster than usual.

To sum it all up, the heart punch can be a very dangerous and fatal move. But the fulfillment of the conditions required to make the receiver skip a heartbeat can be hard. Therefore, it is not really reliable in self defense situations.

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