A strike to the solar plexus, as demonstrated in this video by MMA fighter Megumi Fujii, is an effective way to subdue an attacker without causing injury. The solar plexus is a nerve motor point that, when struck, causes temporary motor dysfunction to the surrounding muscles, those which are used for breathing. It’s not simply a matter of having the wind knocked out of you. For a short period of time, you have trouble breathing both in and out.
One day I was sparring with a student of mine named Alec. He was the youngest in my class at 19 and oozed natural talent. That being said, on this particular day, he was keeping a very high guard to stop incoming blows to his head while ignoring any kicks I aimed at his body. After the first 2-minute round, we took a short break, giving me the chance to address the weakness in his guard.
“So Alec, I noticed that you’re not blocking any of my strikes to your body,” I put forward.
“Yeah, I just figure I’d rather take a shot to the body than a shot to the head,” he replied, with the cocksure attitude that goes hand in hand with youth and talent.
“You do realize I’m not striking with any power, right?” I queried. “And I’m aiming at your solar plexus.”
“I still think I can take a shot to solar plexus, even if you were hitting with full power.”
I looked at him, a tiny smirk playing across the corners of my mouth, betraying my intention. “Okay then. Let’s do the second round.”
In the second round, Alec came at me with a right cross for his first attack. I sidestepped the blow, snapping a quick roundhouse kick to his solar plexus, making solid contact. Alec grunted as he received the blow, pausing a moment before continuing the round.
Again, he came at me, leading with a couple of jabs, following with another right cross. And again, I do the same sidestep-roundhouse kick combo, hitting home on his solar plexus. He stopped, knees buckling as he ineffectively gasped for air. “I have to stop,” he croaked before crumpling to the ground.
I let him regain his composure for a couple of minutes and get back on his feet, after which I approached him. “So… what did we learn?” I asked him with an admittedly cheeky tone.
“I said I could take one shot to the solar plexus, not two!” he retorted sheepishly.
“And that wasn’t even full power. That was about 50% my full power.” I knew I wouldn’t need to use full power to make my point. I wanted to him to learn a lesson, not hate me.
His eyes widened in disbelief. “I think I’d rather take a shot to the head than your full power kick to the solar plexus.”
The second blow would have had even more effect than the first due to the overload principle. When striking nerve pressure or motor points, if you attack the same nerve point twice, you’ll notice a significant increase in effectiveness the second time around. That’s because the first blow weakens the nerves, causing them to be more sensitive when struck again.
After that sparring session, I never again saw Alec disregard incoming body shots.